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The automation innovator

David Li, BComm 02
November 6, 2023
By JP Karwacki, BA 11

A clean-shaven man with short, spiky black hair is smiling and wearing a black dress shirt.

As CPO and co-founder of the automation platform Wrk, David Li is contributing to a rising wave of exciting new practical applications for AI. 

The Montreal-based company is the first to bring established automation tech such as bots, Robotic Process Automation, Optical Character Recognition and APIs with ChatGPT or the like under one platform to enhance the productivity of organizations.

Li founded Wrk with fellow Concordia graduate Mohannad El-Barachi, BCompSci 04. Within three years of operation, they secured $55 million in funding. Today, their company enhances the operations of companies like the media conglomerate Gannett, PR giant Cision and the international non-profit Penny Appeal.

“I love innovation and being able to build something new that makes a difference,” Li says. “As an entrepreneur, I’ve been part of Wrk’s solutions, ones that workforces have needed for over a decade.”

Industry tailwinds

“When it comes to automation, a lot of big changes are coming. It’s a trillion-dollar market, and it’s not even fully realized yet. It will experience a consolidation at some point, but we’re still in an expansion phase. It’s going to move fast. There’s never been a more exciting time to be a part of it.”

On finding purpose

“Like any creator, I’m proud of seeing something I brought to life — a product, a process, a strategy — in use and making a difference. Once you get it right, it’s magical. I’ve always wanted to make my time on Earth worthwhile, and this is my way of leaving a legacy while contributing to society.”

The Concordia factor

“Concordia helped me with the first steps in my career, and being there allowed me to move forward with confidence. Thanks to my classes, professors and fellow students, I was able to connect the dots to go about building a successful company.” 

Put to the test

“I like to push myself to the limit, so any activity that allows me to do that is something I get a kick out of, especially adventure sports like windsurfing, rock climbing and snowboarding.” 

Best advice

“Always question the status quo. Even if it’s well-established, continue to question it.”

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