Renowned AI scientist Lee Kai-Fu has officially resigned from his position on the board of directors at Vizzio Technologies, a Singapore-based startup.
This decision follows a recent report by Tech in Asia, published on 16 January, exposing Jon Lee, the founder and CEO of Vizzio, for falsely claiming to hold a doctorate in computer science from the University of Cambridge.
Vizzio is a company specializing in AI-driven Planet-Scale 3D City Mapping. Last Tuesday (16 Jan), the board of the company issued a statement expressing support for Jon Lee.
Despite the disclosure that Lee had falsified his academic credentials both 23 years ago and more recently, the board underscored its dedication to supporting Lee and advancing the company’s mission.
“The Board is of the opinion that the technology developed by Vizzio is not dependent on the doctorate. The technology has since proven itself and has been successfully deployed in Singapore and other parts of the world.”
“We are resolved to support Jon and to continue Vizzio’s mission and the future of our business earmarked by the many successful and proven projects since its inception,” the statement read.
The statement continued: “We cannot, and will not, take his life’s work away from him, as he paid his dues some 23 years ago as a young man.”
Jon Lee, a pivotal force behind Vizzio and affiliated ventures like LightMagic and Polytron, previously fabricated credentials during his tenure as the chief technology officer at the dot-com startup Elipva over two decades ago.
Touting accolades from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lee left Elipva in 2001 after a Business Times exposé brought his deception to light.
He touted fellowships and awards from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among other claims.
Lee left Elipva in 2001 after a Business Times exposé revealed his deceit.
Addressing the issue of Jon’s time at Elipva until 2001, the board firmly asserts, “no one should be sanctioned again for what happened 23 years ago when Jon Lee was a 29 year-old technopreneur.”
On 17 January, Lee released a statement and admitted to deceiving about his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Cambridge.
He outlined his rationale and expressed an intent to address the matter before Tech in Asia reported it, citing a long-term plan for leadership transition initiated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
” I am extremely sorry. I had intended to address this matter prior to the report as part of my long-term plan to transition the leadership of our company since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. I had not.”
“Misrepresenting my academic qualifications was a grave misjudgment, and I fully acknowledge its seriousness,” wrote Lee.
Lee further assured all our stakeholders that this personal misstep does not have a bearing on Vizzio’s integrity or achievements.
Lee’s statement also noted that Vizzio’s leadership team is adding extra governance measures, including enhanced checks and balances, to maintain the company’s integrity.
” I value the trust and support of every shareholder and am committed to maintaining open and transparent communication with all. The company remains focused on delivering exceptional value to our customers and advancing our shared goals as a company.”
In October last year, Vizzio excitedly announced that Dr Lee, the chairman and chief executive of Sinovation Ventures, a China-based VC firm joined as Board of Directors and invested in the company.
In a statement on 18 October 2023, Vizzio said the decision by Sinovation Ventures to invest in VIZZIO “is a milestone, positioning the company as a Singaporean entity added to the fund’s investment portfolio. ”
The fundraising adds US$20m for VIZZIO Pre-A investment, bringing the total investment in VIZZIO to US$35m, establishing it as the frontrunner in city-scale 3D mapping & modelling.
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