Artificial intelligence

How Can Startups Overcome AI Skill Gaps in Their Teams?

How Can Startups Overcome AI Skill Gaps in Their Teams?

Startups grappling with AI skill gaps have a wealth of strategies to choose from, as evidenced by the insights of founders and C-level executives. From hiring remote AI experts for training to assigning AI improvement accountability to team leads, explore these twelve actionable tips that can help your startup overcome AI-related challenges.

  • Hire Remote AI Experts for Training
  • Provide Resources for AI Learning
  • Utilize AI-Augmented Developer Platforms
  • Foster a Learning and Idea-Sharing Culture
  • Pair Team Members for AI Proficiency
  • Hire Key Talent and Promote Continuous Learning
  • Implement Practical AI Training Modules
  • Develop Role-Specific AI Integration Workshops
  • Designate AI Sandbox Days for Exploration
  • Consult AI Specialists for Professional Guidance
  • Provide Clear SOPs for AI Tool Usage
  • Assign AI Improvement Accountability to Team Leads


Hire Remote AI Experts for Training

If you’re looking to boost your existing team’s AI skills on a budget, here’s a killer move: bring in remote AI experts from countries with a lower cost of living to provide training and mentorship. Hire top talent from places like Eastern Europe or Latin America to work with your team remotely. 

These experts can offer hands-on training sessions, guide real-world projects, and help your team level up fast. This way, you leverage world-class expertise without the hefty price tag, giving your current team the AI edge they need to drive your startup’s success. It’s efficient, cost-effective, and a win-win for everyone!

Sharon Koifman, Founder and Remote President, DistantJob


Provide Resources for AI Learning

I believe that with the right mindset and willingness to learn, anyone can be trained in just about every skill needed, even AI. That’s why I believe it’s important for businesses to have confidence in their team and know that if they can offer resources for learning new things like AI, employees are more than capable of learning—and thriving—at working with it. 

So, whether it’s a team training day, a small training session, or even a virtual webinar, allow your team the chance to learn and ask questions.

John Hall, Co-Founder,


Utilize AI-Augmented Developer Platforms

Startups can effectively address AI-related skill gaps within their teams by leveraging an Internal Developer Platform (IDP) that supports AI-augmented software engineering. Such platforms facilitate the development of AI-driven applications by providing built-in connectors to AI platforms. 

This approach allows team members to integrate advanced AI functionalities into their projects without needing deep expertise in AI, thereby accelerating development and reducing the learning curve.

Asanka Abeysinghe, CTO, WSO2, LLC


Foster a Learning and Idea-Sharing Culture

Yes, in our industry, it is especially tough to keep our teams updated with the latest technologies and methodologies. In some way, it’s basically our main job: to keep up and, hopefully, overtake! 

My good practical tip that I can share is to push for a culture of learning and skill-exchanging. I’ve always been big on employing people with different mindsets, but open minds. My workers tend to exchange many ideas between each other naturally. Their managers see it. They see me doing it with everyone. 

I’m very proud of the culture I’ve created, where we share a space in which there’s room for discussion. Discussion is the foundation of innovation‌. 

No better way for creativity than through brainstorming. I encourage team members to engage in ongoing education and professional development. We need to keep increasing our capabilities, but we don’t all need to train in one field. I prefer to send 10 people to 10 different trainings and let them share the knowledge, rather than have everyone do one thing. 

Then there’s, of course, workshops, webinars, conferences, etc. We need to discuss new ideas between ourselves but also with our community! 

So if I could give out one really good tip, it is to not overlook conversations! Feedback! Ideas! This is what matters most in keeping your teams on the same level of engagement, knowledge, and skills.

Mike Sadowski, Founder and CEO, Brand24


Pair Team Members for AI Proficiency

This is a challenge we faced at Delante. Our teams comprise a variety of people, from Gen Z through millennials to even some late baby boomers from the early 1960s. With the growth of AI, GPT, and other new tools, we wanted to provide the best environment for them to acquire the knowledge needed for better use of these tools.

We’ve started organizing workshops for our team to upskill them with AI knowledge and tools. After the initial couple of rounds of workshops, we held individual calls with the team members to establish their level of proficiency with the new technologies. Then, we paired the team members based on their AI proficiency. 

Those who are the most proficient have been paired with those who scored the lowest. As a result, whenever there is a problem, they can ask for help or additional tips. The ones who are on a more similar level are paired as well, so they can learn something extra and collaborate to get the best results. We found this to be extremely well-working and got us great results in overcoming the skill gap among our members.

Mateusz Calik, CEO, Delante


Hire Key Talent and Promote Continuous Learning

Startups often need help with knowledge gaps, especially in specialized areas like artificial intelligence (AI). Believe the best way to overcome these skills gaps is to hire key talent and build a continuous learning culture within your team. Here are some tips to help you do this:

Prioritize the hiring of a few critical strategic positions that act as knowledge anchors. For example, consider hiring an experienced data scientist or an AI specialist. Not only do they bring their expertise, but they also bring their network and knowledge of where to find additional resources.

At the same time, support your current team in learning new skills. For instance, at Fuel Logic (and before that, Network Logic), we ran continuous training programs and offered access to Coursera, Udacity, and other courses. Not only does this bridge the skills gap, but it also increases employee morale and retention by demonstrating a commitment to employee growth. It’s important to note that the initial learning curve may slow down productivity somewhat, but the long-term benefits of having a tech-savvy team are priceless.

Eliot Vancil, CEO, Fuel Logic


Implement Practical AI Training Modules

Developing that foundational machine-learning fluency from the C-suite to your interns is absolutely vital for thriving long-term.

Strive to educate your staff with practical AI training modules that explore core principles, architectures, and use cases. Rather than abstract theory, make sure your curriculums emphasize tangible applications with relatable industry examples.

Demystify the “black box” aura surrounding AI through bite-sized, consumable educational paths tailored to individuals’ existing skill sets. Once that baseline understanding takes root, layering in cutting-edge specializations becomes exponentially easier.

Jason Smit, CEO, Contentellect


Develop Role-Specific AI Integration Workshops

I’d say the best tip that works with our corporate partners is to develop role-specific AI integration workshops. Startups, in particular, need to organize workshops that focus on integrating AI tools and technologies tailored to the specific requirements of each role.

For instance, customer service and call center employees could be trained in using AI-powered chatbots or voice recognition software to enhance customer interaction and efficiency. Admin assistants and data entry personnel could learn to automate repetitive tasks like scheduling, email sorting, and data processing with AI. Brand ambassadors and phone sales staff might benefit from training on AI tools that analyze customer sentiment or personalize customer interactions to improve engagement and sales outcomes.

These workshops should cover the technical aspects of using AI tools and focus on the soft skills necessary to complement these technologies, such as critical thinking, empathy in customer interactions, and adaptability to new workflows. This will allow startups to ensure their teams are well-equipped to use AI to enhance productivity and service quality across their operations.

Thomas Amos, CEO, Sidekicker


Designate AI Sandbox Days for Exploration

One practical way to address and overcome these gaps is through creating an environment that encourages self-driven learning. This can be achieved by designating specific days each month as AI Sandbox Days. During these days, team members have the discretion and freedom to explore and engage with AI concepts and technologies that are not necessarily within their standard roles.

Not only will this foster curiosity, but it also presents a platform for innovative thinking. Team members are more likely to pick up new skills when they’re personally invested and intrigued by what they’re learning. Moreover, these dedicated Sandbox Days can facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas across different teams.

Mary Tung, Founder and CEO,


Consult AI Specialists for Professional Guidance

On a very real note, getting ahead of the AI trend is almost impossible. We’re seeing advancements every single day that make it virtually impossible for a total beginner to get into the thick of it.

If, at your startup, you have someone who is already invested in AI and willing to learn more, move them to a fully AI-related role. Let them learn and onboard anyone else who might be interested and have any other relevant skills.

If you don’t have the funds to hire or relocate an employee, or no one in your startup has any basic understanding of AI, I’d suggest consulting with an AI specialist instead. New AI consultants are popping up everywhere. It’s a cheaper way to get professional AI help. You don’t need to spend on a completely new hire.

Once your company is more stable and you’ve got the resources, invest in AI education for existing employees or new AI hires.

Alex Tilici, Founder, Virtual Staging


Provide Clear SOPs for AI Tool Usage

Startups can overcome skill gaps related to AI by providing specific standard operating procedures and training documents.

For example, don’t just assume that your team knows how to use ChatGPT. Share instructions and examples of specific prompt engineering they might use to get better results.

Tell them to use Google Gemini instead of ChatGPT when they’re searching for current or time-sensitive information.

Many startups assume that their team knows how to effectively use AI if they’re young, but that’s often not the case and can be addressed by providing clear SOPs and instructions on how to use it.

Laurel Robbins, Founder, Happy Catopia


Assign AI Improvement Accountability to Team Leads

At Second Nature, we’ve found that a very effective method for overcoming skills gaps related to AI is to assign ownership/accountability to each “team lead” within the business to answer the question, “How can AI tools improve productivity within your team?” We’ve generally found that the team leads take more ownership of what’s going on in the AI space, what the latest tools are, and how they are relevant for their own specific use case in their team.

Democratizing this responsibility then spreads through the organization, and we’ve found that most team members now have a more up-to-date understanding of the AI landscape than before we implemented this change.

Mike Gibbs, Co-Founder and COO, Second Nature


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