Rana’s life work is about humanizing technology before it dehumanizes us. She is an Egyptian-American scientist, entrepreneur, angel investor, author, and an AI thought leader on a mission to bring emotional intelligence to our digital world. She is the Deputy CEO at Smart Eye and formerly, Co-Founder and CEO of Affectiva, an MIT spin-off and category defining AI company. Rana realized a successful exit for Affectiva in June 2021 when the company was acquired by Smart Eye, where she is currently focused on scaling the company to a global AI powerhouse. She is also an executive fellow at the Harvard Business School where she teaches about AI and startups. Her bestselling memoir, Girl Decoded: A Scientist’s Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology (Penguin Random House, April 2020), follows her personal journey, growing up in the Middle East and moving to the United States to become an entrepreneur, juxtaposed against her work building Emotion AI.
Rana has raised $50M+ in venture capital from top-tier investors to bring Affectiva’s Emotion AI, built on deep learning, computer vision, speech science and massive amounts of real-world data, to 90+ countries and to several industries including the automotive industry and media analytics. She has a track record of translating technology innovations into products that address the needs of massive international markets and spearheading the application of Emotion AI to market research, automotive, mental health, autism, conversational interfaces, robotics and education.
She is extremely passionate about the ethical development and deployment of AI, including advocating for standards to ensure data privacy and to mitigate data and algorithmic bias. To help establish best practices and guidelines for AI ethics, Rana is part of industry organizations like the Partnership on AI and the World Economic Forum’s Council of Young Global Leaders.
As one of few women leading an AI company, she cares deeply about her role as an advocate for diversity and inclusion in tech and leadership. To help catalyze change and improve equity industry-wide, she is a member of the Boston Steering Committee for All Raise supporting female founders and funders, and a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) where she is serves on YPO’s New England board. Rana is also a venture partner of the MIT Media Lab E14 Fund, a Board Member of SIMPEDs at Boston Children’s Hospital, and a Board of Trustees member at the Mass Technology Leadership Council and at the American University in Cairo, the leading liberal arts university in the Middle East. A TED speaker, and co-host of a PBS NOVA series on AI, Rana has been recognized on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list and as one of Forbes’ Top 50 Women in Tech. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and a Post Doctorate from MIT.