Inside the NexLP Culture: The People Behind Our AI Tech

The concept for NexLP had been brewing for many years, but in 2013, the vision finally became a reality.


That’s when an entrepreneurial team of data scientists, programmers, and eDiscovery experts came together to create our next-gen cognitive analytics solution using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) that would redefine how legal firms and corporations thought about the application emotional intelligence to solve real-world problems.

Armed with industry-leading AI experts — like Dr. Dan Roth (the winner of the distinguished 2018 John McCarthy Award) — our founders believe in leveraging a big data analysis approach to give lawyers, investigators, case analysts and other users a tactical advantage.

Today, NexLP is continuing to expand its mission by using artificial intelligence and advanced cognitive analytics to help a new wave of enterprise clients leverage their unstructured data.

But that’s just our professional bio. We’re more than what we put on paper.

Meet the NexLP Team (And Learn What Makes Us Get Up in the Morning)

We were recently nominated for Chicago Inno’s Coolest Companies list, and if you click here, you can find out a little bit more about why. If you agree, then you can vote for us (through Aug. 10).

To share a little more...we’re a team of entrepreneurs, operators, data scientists and programmers who may seem like big-time data nerds, but we’re also focused on building an awesome work atmosphere that makes everyone enjoy being part of a collaborative team to solve real-world problems.

We work with the most cutting-edge AI technology in our field, but we’re far more than just data crunchers. As a member of TechStars Chicago, we’re focused on building a positive work vibe and collaborative team. De-emphasizing the concept of a traditional “office,” we don’t believe in a 9-5 culture, and we don’t live in a cubicle world. We believe in testing out theories and pushing technology to the bleeding edge.

Our culture is focused on thinking outside the box in all we do — including how our company and team develop. We have perks like free coffee, beer, company swag, and a swanky co-working office space in the loop that lets us fully exercise our creative freedoms without being stuck at a desk. Perks help us work freely, but they aren’t who we are.

We pride ourselves on promoting a diverse workforce and work to bring in people who can enhance our company both from a technical and cultural standpoint. Beyond our internal perks, we also offer funding for educational assistance to help all our team members develop their own professional development skills.

Outside of our founders  — Jay Leib, Dr. Dan Roth, Kit Makie and Yen Chen — NexLP’s diverse talent extends into the academic world with Dr. Irina Matveeva, Head of Machine Learning, who was Employee No. 1. The ability to apply her research background toward real-world problems gave her all the motivation she needed to join the team five years ago.

“The founders are really passionate about technology. For a long time there was a lot of research on AI, but now it is part of everyday life,”  Matveeva said. “Natural language processing is fascinating when you apply it to solving actual problems.”

The NexLP Culture: What Defines Our Team

What motivates Matveeva to be part of a rapidly-growing startup is the energy that everyone across the team has dedicated to helping the company grow. The hours can be long, but everyone takes their work very personal, she said.

“Everybody is very unified by the mission. Our mission is very high level. We take very cool technologies and making them work in the real world. Even developers who are the front-end of the technology are still fascinated by what we are providing,” Matveeva said. “It’s not just about a job, it’s a mission where we are all in together.  We’ve brought in highly professional people with great personalities who are driven by the mission that’s centered on a common goal.”

She specifically pointed toward the team’s ability to wear multiple hats, always thinking outside the box to determine where the organization can evolve.

“Jay really pushes the envelope and always pushes us to find the best technology. He is really on the forefront of all the development. He is the businessman, but also lives in the world of the latest technologies to help our clients solve problems,” Matveeva said. “That makes the life and work of our company very dynamic. We are constantly moving and constantly thinking about how new technologies can help our clients get better.”

The Evolution of the AI Market

What’s changed most in the past five years is the extent of which everybody is talking about the application of big data.

“Everybody is talking about big data. There’s so much data, companies cannot process it manually anymore. They need machine learning to get real insight and context of that data,” Matveeva said. “The trend came together where we saw the merging of AI, big data, and machine using really complicated algorithms. It’s really a dramatic shift how much people are using AI in their daily lives.”

A decade ago, the legal and corporate worlds needed more convincing about the power of AI and machine learning. Now, firms are increasingly receptive to how to use predictive coding and better data classification to build better models. What gives NexLP its edge is the ability to combine research with real-world applications — such as in the e-discovery field.

“We are very close to the latest advances in research. We are really the bridge between cutting-edge research and results. Our software is really like a pipeline. There is development and there is research,” Matveeva said. “We adapt it, we transform it and it becomes a product we can deliver to our clients.”

From monitoring the latest developments in the lab, to researching the latest technology trends across the business ecosystem, the NexLP team focuses on giving context to AI technology through state-of-the-art research that’s consistently evolving.

So who are we? Here’s a little bit about our founders.

Jay Leib, Founder + CEO — As the managing member of NexLP, Inc. Jay has successfully founded and led software start-ups throughout his career. He has more than a decade of experience in the technology field and has worked in multiple roles on some of the largest eDiscovery and fraud projects in the world. He holds an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Dan Roth, Founder + Chief Scientist — In addition to  co-founding NexLP, Dr. Roth is currently the Eduardo D. Glandt Distinguished Professor at the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the winner of the 2017 John McCarthy Award by the International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence Organization (the highest award the AI research community). He has a B.A. Summa cum laude in Mathematics from the Technion, Israel and his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Harvard University in 1995.

Kit Makie, Founder + CTO — Kit has a profound interest in building software, which is reflected throughout his career, during which he has managed the development of a diverse set of applications ranging from predictive insurance modeling, health care billing systems, hospital management, electronic discovery and mass tort management. He has his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ye Chen, Founder + CXO —  Ye has provided investigation and dispute services to insurance, banking, pharmaceutical and logistics industries, with a focus on large scale eDiscovery software development and customization, computer forensics, document review and processing. He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from DePaul University.

Dr. Irina Matveeva, Head of Machine Learning — Dr. Matveeva’s research focuses on latent semantic models of word and document representations and models of word similarity. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She is a reviewer for IEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks, Journal for Information Retrieval and Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research.

Want to Be Part of Our Team? Connect Today

NexLP, which stands for Next Generation Language Processing, is a VC-backed startup which focuses on machine learning and artificial intelligence to solve enterprise risk. We’re always growing and looking for enthusiastic professionals to join our team.

Check out our careers page to see if we might be the right fit for you.

Don’t forget to vote for us here.

Jay Leib

Jay Leib is the CEO of NexLP, Inc. Jay has successfully founded and led software start-ups throughout his career. Most recently, Mr. Leib was at Chicago-based Relativity (formerly kCura) as the Chief Strategy Officer. Relatiivity is a Chicago based company focused on the eDiscovery vertical.