Steve Gu

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Steve Gu
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Zhiqiang Gu
CitizenshipUnited States
EducationPh.D (computer science)
Alma materDuke University
  • Entrepreneur
  • Computer vision scientist
  • Author
Known forCo-founder and CEO of AiFi
AwardsNvidia Corporation’s Inception AI award

Steve Gu (Chinese: 顾志强; pinyin: Gù Zhìqiáng) is an entrepreneur, computer vision scientist, author and the Co-founder and CEO of AiFi, an AI technology company providing autonomous store technology for retailers and brands, recognized as an Amazon Go rival by Fortune and CNBC.[1][2][3] Gu has his PhD from Duke University in computer science, advised by Carlo Tomasi.[4][5]


Gu co-launched AiFi in 2016 with co-founder Ying Zheng. The name "AiFi" was chosen based on Gu's stated goal to make artificial intelligence or AI as available as WiFi.[4][6] Gu and Zheng used AI in combination with off-the-shelf cameras and sensors Gu said to create a platform that retrofitted and new construction stores could use to become automated.[7][8] In mid-2020 Gu's company announced that it had launched 10 autonomous stores in the United States, Europe, and China and was prepared to deploy 330 stores before 2022.[9][10][11][12]

BefoBefore founding AiFi, Gu worked on the Google Glass at Google X in Advanced R&D, Rapid Technology Evaluation, as well as as a research scientist at Apple on Force Touch and haptic technology.[2][4][13][14]

Gu is also an author of the book Black Technology published in 2017, in which Gu and other authors from Silicon Valley showcased 21 new technologies from deep learning and AI to human augmentation.[15][16]


In 2020, Technology Innovators named Gu one of the Top 50 Artificial Intelligence CEOs.[17] In 2018, Gu and AiFi won Nvidia Corporation’s Inception AI award for the best enterprise startup and shared a $1 million prize with two other winners.[18][19]


  1. Jacob Douglas and Christopher Butler (November 12, 2019). "Amazon Go, the cashierless retail store of the future, has some new competition". CNBC. CNBC, LLC. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Vanian, Jonathan (December 20, 2019). "Amazon Go's Cashierless Stores Have a New Rival". Fortune. Fortune Media IP Limited. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  3. Wiggers, Kyle (January 13, 2019). "AiFi markets NanoStore, a tiny white-label cashierless store". VentureBeat. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Perez, Sarah (February 27, 2018). "AiFi emerges from stealth with its own take on cashier-free retail, similar to Amazon Go". TechCrunch. Verizon Media. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  5. "Grad Student Awards Presented for 2009-2010". Duke University Department of Computer Science 2020. September 13, 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2020.
  6. Staff, CNBC. "CNBC UPSTART 100 - AiFi". CNBC. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  7. Wiltz, Christopher (October 24, 2019). "AiFi Replaces Cashiers and Checkouts with AI". DesignNews. Informa PLC. Retrieved 26 August 2020.
  8. Springer, Jon (August 17, 2020). "Q&A With AiFi CEO Steve Gu". Winsight. Winsight Grocery Business. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  9. Albrecht, Chris (July 6, 2020). "AiFi to Launch 330 Autonomous Stores by the End of 2021". THE SPOON. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  10. Bandoim, Lana (November 30, 2019). "Ahold Delhaize Launches New Cashierless Stores With Grab-And-Go Technology". Forbes. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  11. Ochwat, Dan (January 2, 2020). "Loop Neighborhood Store pilots cashierless location". StoreBrands. EnsembleIQ. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  12. Beccue, Mark (April 21, 2020). "How AI helps retail during the pandemic". Informatech. OMDIA. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  13. "Companies founded by ex-Googlers". Startup Analysis. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  14. "Keep In Touch: Alumni News - Fall 2012". Duke Computer Science. Duke University Department of Computer Science. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  15. "黑科技". Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  16. 白, 鑫 (June 13, 2016). "揭秘十大黑科技:"黑科技"斯坦福首发文字版". 网易科技报道. NetEase Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2020.
  17. "Top 50 Artificial Intelligence CEOs of 2020". Technology Innovators. TIM Group LLC. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  18. Takahashi, Dean (March 27, 2018). "Nvidia's Inception AI contest awards $1 million to 3 top startups". VentureBeat. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  19. Caulfield, Brian (March 27, 2018). "Winners of AI Startup Challenge Announced at GTC 2018". NVIDIA Blog. NVIDIA. Retrieved 27 August 2020.

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