Chris V. Nicholson

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Chris V. Nicholson
BornChristian V. Nicholson
(1975-09-15) September 15, 1975 (age 46)
Billings, Montana
🏡 ResidenceSan Francisco
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
🎓 Alma materDeep Springs College
💼 Occupation
Skymind, FutureAdvisor, The New York Times
TitleCEO of Skymind
🌐 WebsiteDeeplearning4j web site

Chris Nicholson (born September 15, 1975) is an American entrepreneur and writer. He is the co-founder and CEO of the artificial intelligence/deep learning company Skymind and co-creator of the open source framework Deeplearning4j.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

A fourth-generation Montanan, Nicholson was born in Billings, Montana and grew up in Helena, Montana, where he attended Helena High School.

Nicholson attended Deep Springs College, the all-male, tuition-free school near Bishop, California where students govern themselves, select each incoming cohort and hire and fire the faculty. He graduated in economics from the American University of Paris, studied Islamism with Gilles Kepel at Sciences-Po, and micro-finance with Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. He is an Eagle Scout.


Nicholson served as head of communications and recruiting for almost two years at the Sequoia Capital-backed startup, FutureAdvisor. FutureAdvisor is a robo-advisor that was acquired by BlackRock for a reported $150 million to $200 million in 2015.[2]

Nicholson co-founded Skymind in late 2014 with Adam Gibson. Skymind was admitted to Y Combinator's Winter 2016 batch and raised a seed round later that year from investors such as Tencent, Ron Conway's SV Angel, Ray Lane's Greatpoint Ventures, Google's Amit Singhal and Krishna Bharat, Joe Montana's Liquid2 Ventures and Muse's Matthew Bellamy.[3][4][5] He is based the San Francisco Bay Area.

Journalism and writing[edit]

Nicholson wrote for The New York Times Company for more than five years, reporting and editing for both The New York Times and the late International Herald-Tribune in Paris, France and Hong Kong while covering technology and finance.[6] He also served as mergers and acquisitions editor for Bloomberg News and reported for both the news service and the magazine Bloomberg Businessweek.[7] His writing on technology has appeared in Pacific Standard, TechCrunch, Pando Daily, Mattermark and The Next Web.[8][9][10][11]

Of Elon Musk's plans to mitigate the risk of super-human artificial intelligence, Wired quoted him as saying, "Thinking about AI is the cocaine of technologists: it makes us excited, and needlessly paranoid."[12] He believes an AI dystopia to largely be a speculative distraction.[13]


  1. Mitchell, Russ. "Chris Nicholson traveled a meandering path from Big Sky Country to CEO of AI start-up Skymind". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  2. Foley, Stephen. "BlackRock buys 'robo-adviser' to woo millennials". The Financial Times. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  3. Dwoskin, Elizabeth. "China is flooding Silicon Valley with cash. Here's what can go wrong". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  4. Constine, Josh. "The top 7 startups from Y Combinator Winter '16 Demo Day 1". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  5. Mannes, John. "Skymind raises $3M to bring its Java deep-learning library to the masses". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  6. Nicholson, Chris. "Recent and archived work by Chris V. Nicholson for The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  7. Nicholson, Chris. "Recent and archived work by Chris V. Nicholson for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Businessweek". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  8. Nicholson, Chris. "Machine learning can fix Twitter, Facebook, and maybe even America". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  9. Nicholson, Chris. "Recent and archived work by Chris V. Nicholson for Pando Daily". Pando Daily. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  10. Nicholson, Chris. "Rise of the Robot Artist". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  11. Nicholson, Chris. "Blood, Sweat and Years: Raising Money As A Deep Learning Startup". Mattermark. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  12. Metz, Cade (December 15, 2015). "Elon Musk's Billion-Dollar AI Plan Is About Far More Than Saving the World". WIRED. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
  13. Motley, Josiah (December 26, 2016). "We chat with deep learning company, Skymind, about the future of AI". The Next Web. Retrieved 2017-01-05.

External links[edit]

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