We’re excited to introduce you to Sudhir Jha, Mastercard Senior Vice President and Head of Brighterion. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with him to hear what attracted him to the company, what makes Brighterion AI unique and his vision for Brighterion moving forward.


With your extensive background in AI and as a long-time executive in the sector, what attracted you to Brighterion in particular?

I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and I like to solve problems using technology and build businesses around that. Brighterion is, in my mind, at a stage where it has the team, it has the technology built around fraud management and it has a thriving business. What it needs next is to scale up that thriving business and identify multiple applications and solutions using the AI platform. Having Mastercard there to support that mission is vital. I like an environment where I can work in a small team but have that larger company to ensure I’m not always looking for capital all the time or worrying about where my office space is going to be tomorrow.


What are Brighterion’s greatest strengths right now?

Its infrastructure and systems. Brighterion is one among many, many AI companies and there are many large companies making big investments in AI and building platforms of their own. One of the things Brighterion has done really well is to focus on how to scale the data side. Brighterion technology is able to process a lot of transactions very quickly using a very small resource footprint. Of course, with ample servers lots of companies can scale. But Brighterion has optimized its scalability where it’s able to process almost 80,000 transactions per second—and in real time. This is extremely critical for a company like Mastercard’s fraud management, where you have many, many credit card transactions happening simultaneously. Brighterion is able to do a billion transactions a day.

The other thing Brighterion does extremely well is to have the data layer and the models somewhat separated, which means we can run multiple models and very different kind of models. We can actually use the same transaction processing to flag and score transactions for AML, fraud, credit risk and more, which makes it extremely flexible.


Talk to us about AI Express. What sets it apart? Why is it so important to businesses right now?

AI Express is unique in that it allows business owners to identify AI use cases very quickly. In just 6–8 weeks, businesses can understand and validate the value and ROI of that use case and deploy it in production. That kind of approach, where you identify a few use cases, try them out in a small but very rapid manner, select the right use case and then select the vendor to do that implementation—that’s the right approach. That’s how AI adoption is going to take off.


What are your goals and vision for Brighterion? Where do you see it going?

Brighterion’s focus so far has been on the product side: ensuring the product scales, does the right thing and has the right technology pieces to serve the business cases like fraud and anti-money laundering. Brighterion has done this really, really well. I want to pivot to scaling the business. How do we take the product and use cases we already have and apply them to wider business applications where we can… do that really, really well?

We’re going to start exploring different use cases in other verticals like healthcare and manufacturing over the next few years. I think most AI companies aren’t going to succeed because they have the best platform; they’re going to succeed because they have the best solutions for the problems AI can solve. You can’t solve every problem in the world, so you have to focus and say which are the 5–10 problems that we can focus on and solve in the best possible way.


Tell us about you? What does Sudhir really care about?

I’m passionate about many things, but from a professional point of view, the thing I’m very passionate about is taking a technology and solving problems with it. How do I take any technology and see multiple applications of the technology, and solve real problems with that, of course keeping in mind that I want to do that for the good and not for the bad.

I have spent a lot of time fighting bad guys with technology, and that’s definitely a passion of mine. In my mind, it’s not the technology that is bad, it’s the people who actually use the technology to do bad things. It can be any technology. It can be a vehicle that you can use to harm people, or it can be AI that you could use to do bad things. Definitely one of the things that I wanted to do is solve problems, but also ensure that it has protections from bad people using it in the bad way. Making sure it is not something that can easily be misused.

Learn more about Sudhir Jha’s visions for AI technology. Watch his video as part of our AI Innovators series.