Dallas Startup Citadel is Lowering the Entry Barrier to AI

"There’s this big myth that AI is a $30 million investment," Citadel Analytic's CEO says. The startup is out to prove that wrong. Now it's setting up shop in RagingWire’s Dallas TX1 Data Center to help national and global companies unleash the power of their data.

“I can’t think of a single industry that would not be impacted by AI and machine learning,” says Ryan Fontaine, founder of Citadel Analytics. And changing circumstances are something Fontaine knows a lot about.

Several years ago, Fontaine barely survived a horrific car crash. He was severely injured, and underwent several surgeries and nearly three years of physical therapy. But during that time, he made a discovery—insurance companies, hospitals, outpatient clinics, doctors offices, and other entities treating him weren’t effectively sharing data to benefit the patient.

So, Fontaine used his background in machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data to found a high-tech startup that would solve that problem.

In 2016, he launched Citadel Analytics to help other companies around the globe unleash the power of their data to drive revenue.

Fontaine told Dallas Innovates the AI company first launched in the digital marketing arena because online data is clean and clear-cut, often presented from a binary viewpoint of yes and no.

Citadel’s first AI platforms used that data that increased conversion rates for social media advertising platforms. But since its beginning, it has now grown to 18 employees and has clients in multiple countries around the globe, ranging from law firms to oil and gas companies to hospitals. 

“Artificial intelligence and data science have been proven to dramatically increase productivity and sales at large firms, and now we want to bring that same power and same benefits to small and mid-sized companies,” Ryan Fontaine, CEO of Citadel Analytics, said in a statement. “To do that, we needed access to a data center provider with the technology and team to help us grow our business. RagingWire provided that here in Dallas.”

So, Citadel is setting up shop for its AI and machine learning platforms at RagingWire’s Dallas TX1 Data Center, which is located in Garland. Named among “The World’s Most Beautiful Data Centers,” the TX1 facility offers 230,000 square feet of space and 16 megawatts of critical IT power. While the data center is the first built on RagingWire’s 42-acre campus, the facility can be built out to more than 1 million square feet and 144 megawatts of critical IT power.

“We look forward to continuing to provide the optimal development environment for up-and-coming advanced data science companies to grow their business,” RagingWire Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Joe Goldsmith said in a statement. “Citadel Analytics is a perfect example of the type of successful deployment that others can experience as well.”

Fontaine says Citadel chose the RagingWire data center for a number of reasons, from customer service to an innovative cooling system.

The data center employs the use of Kyoto Fans, a high-efficiency cooling system that helps combat the heat produced by data processing. It also has the capacity to handle Citadel’s growth, even 10 years down the road, he says.

RagingWire Senior Director of Enterprise Sales Rodney Willis told Dallas Innovates via email that by attracting companies like Citadel, the data center is putting North Texas on a track to grow similarly to notable incubators like Silicon Valley or Ashburn’s Data Center Alley in Northern Virginia.

“At our Dallas Data Center Campus, RagingWire is excited to be building a high-tech ecosystem for large enterprises and high-growth tech companies in fields such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics,” he wrote.

Citadel is also working to lower the entry barrier to AI for mid-sized companies.

“There’s this big myth that AI is a $30 million investment,” Fontaine says. “You can have AI for a grand a month, depending on what you’re using it for, and how big your data is… If you’re spending money on AI, you’re gonna see a high ROI. Probably higher than almost any business asset you can acquire.”

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