Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network
Igor Jablokov is a Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network North Carolina entrepreneur-in-residence. He was founder and CEO of Yap, an institutionally-funded venture that pioneered cloud-based speech recognition. Its technology was deployed by numerous customers, including Microsoft and Sprint, and received accolades for its innovations, including being named North Carolina’s Early Stage Company of the Year and being recognized as a finalist at the first TechCrunch Disrupt conference. The startup was subsequently acquired by Amazon and is integrated into successful products such as the Alexa Voice Service platform, the Echo speaker and the Fire TV set-top box.
To support his role as a Blackstone EIR, Jablokov serves on the board for the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and as a venture partner at Rubicon Venture Capital. He also advises Penn State University’s College of Engineering and the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers. He was awarded Eisenhower and Truman National Security Fellowships to deepen collaboration between government and industry.
Prior to founding Yap, Jablokov was program director of IBM Software Group’s multi-modality initiatives, leading a worldwide team that created the first speech-enabled Web browser. Additionally, he was a mentor for IBM’s Extreme Blue internship program and chairman of the VoiceXML Forum, an industry group championing a standards-based vision of speech computing. Jablokov previously held positions with IBM’s Pervasive Computing, PartnerWorld, Global Industries and MicroElectronics divisions. With more than a dozen patents granted and pending, Jablokov was named an industry luminary by Speech Technology and an outstanding engineering alumnus of Penn State. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Penn State and an MBA from UNC-Chapel Hill.