Alston and Brienne Ghafourifar: Entefy
This week, the A. Richard Newton Lecture Series welcomed brother-and-sister entrepreneurs, Alston and Brienne Ghafourifar, co-founders of Entefy. This dynamic duo is working to create a universal communicator—something that can optimize and personalize how people communicate and interact with others, their favorite services, and smart machines.
The Ghafourifars attribute their early interest in entrepreneurship to their parents, both of whom were in the audience during the lecture. From a young age, they became involved with their parents’ business ventures, spending a lot of time thinking about the role of family, people, and cultures in innovation.
The siblings both graduated from their respective universities when they were only seventeen years old, a fact made even more striking when it was pointed out that no one in the lecture hall was that young. Alston explained that they knew early on they wanted to feel challenged in school, and felt there was a degree of inefficiency in the current education system. The Ghafourifars wanted to get out into the real world and start making a difference so they crafted their coursework to fit their own timelines.
The Evolution of Information
Brienne traced the history of information as it became more complex with language and various human inventions throughout the millennia of mankind. Still, she pointed out, half of the earth’s population has fragmented or limited access to information while the other half no access at all. Human-generated data, according to Brienne, is nearly 60,000 years old, and can be traced back to the invention of language, which allowed people to convey more intricate thoughts and ideas. At 3,600 BC, when writing systems were introduced, people began to record and archive information for the first time. This step was essential to the unique efforts of technology today.
This pervasiveness of communication and data inspired the Ghafourifars to begin creating Entefy, which they hope will become “the holy grail of unification of services and channels of communication.” They anticipate the next stage of innovation to be Universal Interaction where users can connect with other people, services, and smart things.
Artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI, will be integral to the functionality of Entefy. Brienne and Alston discussed advanced AI in terms of “authentic intelligence” and having two component parts: the relationship between people and data, and the relationship between data and machines. Their goal for Entefy is to focus on the way data can impact not only the lives of individuals, but entire fields and professions, including health, education, and technology.
The Entefy founders explained that the next generation of technology will rely on human cognition and consciousness to create practical and grounded applications for information. “Entefy is building the first universal communicator for everyone and everything,” the siblings shared. And despite the veil of secrecy surrounding some of the nuances of their company, Entefy is going to be highly accessible and integrated into the products and technologies we use today.
It was clear from the start that these two entrepreneurs were more than siblings by force—they were best friends by choice. Alston revealed that it took a great deal of trust to work together, successfully, on a day to day basis, and this was something investors could recognize. Brienne admitted that one of their strongest qualities was being opposites in terms of skill sets, and this ultimately working in their favor. Despite having different strengths and styles, the two work together towards the same goal.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
The Ghafourifars shared one of their favorite quotes from Alan Kay, known for his object oriented programming. They felt it spoke to the core spirit of entrepreneurship, and they apply its wisdom in their continued efforts to improve the human communication experience. Alston encouraged his audience of entrepreneurs to be proactive in future innovation, to predict as well as create. Together, the siblings will continue working towards a solution that will impact every person inside (and outside) of the digital world.