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Startup gives AI jolt to economic development site-selection process


EDai developed an AI-powered portal called LocatED, which is used to evaluate sites for economic development projects. (Images courtesy of EDai) Sean Brazier learned a thing or two while working for the Virginia Economic Development Partnership during the organization’s efforts to woo Amazon’s coveted HQ2.

One particular lesson stuck with him — so much so that it became part of the impetus for him to strike out on his own to launch EDai, a Richmond-based startup that aims to improve the economic development site-selection process using artificial intelligence.

The company launched earlier this year and is especially focused on the challenges that Brazier observed with amassing economic development data and effectively communicating it. He felt the process could be made more efficient.

“I saw first-hand how much time and effort went into compiling and analyzing data and then visualizing, then narrating the takeaways,” Brazier said of his time as a staffer at VEDP, which ultimately was successful in landing the Amazon deal.

The company’s main product is its LocatED portal, an automated system designed to make sense of the reams of data points that go into decision-making for economic development sites.

Brazier said the site search process is a time and resource intensive one, […]

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