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How This Academic Turned Entrepreneur’s Startup Is Leveraging AI To Automate And Influence Consumer Behaviour

How This Academic Turned Entrepreneur’s Startup Is Leveraging AI To Automate And Influence Consumer Behaviour

One of the new Lord of the Geeks, Elon Musk believes that the arena will sooner or later be taken over by means of robots who will rebel in opposition to the humans and make them their slaves. A state of affairs that has already been acted out in movies such as “Terminator,” “iRobot,” and “Eagle Eye” to call some.

The plot generally traced those robots having an evolved form of intelligence, created through human beings themselves, known as Artificial Intelligence (AI) that they used to plot their global domination and rebel. And this technological explosion happened gradually sufficient for no person to be the wiser. While this fictional doomsday situation maybe a bit farfetched (and depressing!) in the intervening time, it might be foolhardy to brush aside the numerous ways AI is pervading our everyday Indian world. India boasts of 250 Mn telephone users in the meanwhile and is moving towards a digital-first economy.

But there are rarely any frontrunners in a business that is expected to reach approximately $five.05 Bn by using 2020, displaying a dazzling fifty three% typical increase, and this is why it's miles an area that is well worth exploring.

This notion satisfied AI-based totally Staqu’s co-founder Atul Rai to have a look at AI in university, which laid the foundation for him finally founding Staqu – an AI-based totally startup that gives products and answers for OEMs, B2B, and B2C systems. But to get from pupil to Jedi, he did giant AI-primarily based research in 2009-10, to the extent of publishing a research paper in France on the numerous methods AI should probable assist the bodily disabled section of society through gesture recognition, facial reputation, and more.

From An Academic To An Entrepreneur: The Staqu Origin Story

“I actually have always been an educational,” starts offevolved Atul. “I did all this research all through my graduate days and then went on to complete my Master’s from the University of Manchester that's well-known for AI testing,” he shares.

Doing large research made one reality startlingly clean to Atul – 70% of data shared on the Internet consists of pictures.

“Videos are just catching on, especially in India with our slower statistics connections, but lower back then in 2010, it was abundantly clear that humans desired searching at images and trying to find them so that it will make lifestyle-related decisions and people had been now not definitely providing a comprehensive package deal that would collate all this statistics and research that existed and use it to build out their business,” he says.

Atul persisted operating on the research for some greater years, his forte, solidifying his theories and identifying how tech-focussed AI might be interpreted for everyday clients. He noticed that the market changed into uber-nascent in an emerging united states of america like India. His idea turned into sound and primarily based on widespread studies. He additionally realised some thing else.

“To do studies is not sufficient to promote an concept. You want a product, a business.” But Atul turned into undeterred and he pressed on on the lookout for the ideal aggregate of product and group to see his idea come to fruition.

This turned into across the time that Atul met his co-founders Chetan Rexwal, Pankaj Kumar Sharma, and Anurag Saini in 2015. “Chetan and Anurag have been professional coders,” he says. “They had revel in building out mobile-based totally apps or native apps which will be integrated directly into the OS of a mobile and deployed instantly. No problem, no work. And as a result all of my years of research finally found an outlet because it become product development,” he adds.

“Our crew suit became whole with Pankaj becoming a member of in, to takeover server development, as a commercial enterprise this is going to sift thru copious amounts of information desires a sturdy community infrastructure initially.”

Staqu became formally released in 2015 with a set of AI-powered operations which include bi-directional picture information, an modern photo-to-picture matching machine, simplifying image seek, automated meta-tag technology and actual-time product recommendations.

Using AI To Understand, Automate Consumer Behaviour

According to Atul, Staqu works on two degrees – B2B and B2C2B. On the B2B the front, it works almost exclusively with ecommerce corporations in areas together with automated meta-tagging, photograph seek made less difficult, visual recommendation, and whole appearance advice.


“Ecommerce businesses rely mostly on pix to efficiently show off their product SKUs and run their business. I might even go to date as to mention that ecommerce zone depends 70%-80% on photographs for a purchaser to get inquisitive about them and entire a transaction,” Atul says.

Staqu ecommerce

“Now, say you’re a patron who desires to shop for a Blue, Lucknowi kurti but typing all of this takes a while and there is no assure it will give you the precise blue, Lucknowi kurti you wanted within the first location. You essentially can't describe every single issue of a product thru text, a number of it has to be intuitive and/or automatic.”

So, what Staqu did was construct an API that changed into integrated in the database of the ecommerce web site for fast deployment – Image Search – wherein you're taking a image of the product you’re attempting to find, add it on the web site and the quest will deliver effects within seconds.”

Atul also reveals that this native app and API has been used on emerging ecommerce and retail platforms together with YepMe, Roposo, and TradeIndia amongst others.

He mentions  other pain points of ecommerce advertising- meta keyword-tagging and fashion analysis which might be also solved by using using Staqu products. For meta keyword-tagging, the concept is to eliminate human mistakes with the aid of automating the technique and tightening it for SEO functions as, to date, the curation for keywords is achieved by way of human beings.

For fashion analysis, Atul shares,

“At the end of the day, ecommerce corporations are searching out new methods to have interaction with their customers and enchantment to their wallets through giving product hints. This method is time-eating whilst deployed by means of humans, but automate it using social media profiles of the users and you have a whole new sales stream prepared to be tapped into.”

Using AI To Influence Consumer Behaviour Through OEM

The different product that Staqu has released is for OEM (authentic device manufacturers) seeking to integrate its solutions at the manufacturing degree.

Atul shares the use case of Karbonn Mobiles to elaborate in this:

“Karbonn Mobiles carry in-smartphone the Fashion Eye software which essentially means that the telephone’s camera works as an photograph seek and tagging platform. We then take this search a step in addition and have tied up with ecommerce systems wherein you could locate the objects you clicked and looked for on them, or the closest hints to them. It is a smart generation integration with out the want to down load another app at the cellular.”

While the concept in reality seems cool and futuristic, an exciting tackle Point-Click-n-Buy, the startup changed into not short on demanding situations convincing associate customers to take it on.

“The partnership with Karbonn took almost three-4 months and lots of meetings to resolve their queries and doubts regarding the effectiveness of the platform and product. AI remains so nascent in India, it changed into a mission to get people to accept that the platform and product could certainly work. We did proto-trying out, product-testing, beta-trying out before the agreement turned into signed,” shares Atul.

But curiously, he additionally claims that once the first companion came onboard, matters have become plenty smoother. And the startup got 9 more companions inside six months of launching.

Fashin-1The startup’s next degree innovation comes inside the shape of Fashin.Ai, an iOS app that changed into launched in October 2016 and has reportedly garnered more than 1,000 downloads. According to Atul, Fashin could be of particular hobby to Bollywood fans who are also obsessed on style trends and may be cozy starting their wallets for purchasing the identical.

It is an AI-powered video curation engine wherein “you feed the video of the music/scene of your preference and it's going to extract the fashion inside the video together with recommendations on in which to buy the identical.”

“Fashin is presently our customer-dealing with product at the B2C quit however we also are rolling it out with a few massive, B2B companions,” he adds.

Business Model, Traction

Fashin changed into launched on October 12, 2016 on the iOS platform as it become a desired platform for luxurious users. And Atul claims that the app has visible greater than 1K downloads inside the interim, organically.

Staqu’s business partners range from OEMs like Panasonic, Intex, Lava and the aforementioned Karbonn.

The enterprise model works on a license-based subscription for the variety of merchandise/functions used by clients. For OEMs it's far on a fee-basis this is charged with the aid of the associate companions such as Flipkart, YepMe and so on.

And then, there may be always lead generation thru using native app Fashion Eye – “Imagine taking a picture of the outfit you love and locating it on one precise platform and then you discover a bunch of different things you like there too and change into a paying client. That’s got transactional fee,” says Atul.

But while requested approximately the unit economics of the startup, Atul says, “We believe in constructing a commercial enterprise, not unit economics. AI may be very younger in India extra so than globally and getting human beings to accept as true with inside the product and building it topics more anything.”

Even so, Atul claims that the agency will gain operational profitability inside the next two quarters and a M-o-M increase of 30%, a ways.

“With recognize to the B2B arm, we are not advertising at all, as it relies upon at the elegance and energy of our companions. But we do trust that the market is ready to develop with more homegrown producers entering play across the board in India,” he says.

It is also a testament to the excellent of the product that Staqu has acquired Seed investment from IAN.

“Developing Tech To Bring Ecommerce Into Every Mobile Phone”

The 12 months-antique startup competes with contenders including Niki.Ai (which has currently raised investment from Ratan Tata and Unilazer Ventures), Active.Ai (which received $3Mn lately), Fluid AI – which is likewise seeking to exchange the manner customers react in buying situations through useful assistant touch screens. But Staqu’s plan to address competition is to boost product and technology extensively on the way to bring ecommerce in to the umbrella of cellular application by way of default.

“Currently, all phone users use like one-two apps for purchasing, one-two for news, life-style etc. We would really like to change this dynamic through presenting a software device/product like Fasion Eye and Fashin that we could the purchaser choose from a bigger sort of products and, at the equal time, deliver ecommerce players an side in terms of tech and lead-technology,” says Atul.

It is likewise constantly looking to innovate and improve on AI research, with academic Atul on the helm to automate interplay and trade the way the tech itself is used. For this motive, the startup has tied up with IIIT Delhi and is open to publishing papers for academic studies at the consequences of AI on tech verticals in India, amongst different things.


“When it comes to our B2C fashions and Fashin particularly, which ought to be rolled out for Android this month, marketing is required. To construct awareness, to engage customers and a lot extra. And that’s where the cash will be used,” he stocks.

For the nineteen-member crew from Gurugram, influencing the arena of style via AI seems just like the factor to do.

Editor’s Note

AI, as a technology, is at par with Visual Reality/Augmented Reality, gadget mastering and herbal language processing, which can be additionally subsets of AI. But the use of AI in corporations are in particular associated with automation and intelligence-amassing. The global AI market was worth pretty much $419 Mn in 2014. Now, it is projected to reach nearly 20x via 2020. The scope for industries to turn to AI for solutions and insight is monstrous and immediately, in view that it is one of the few frontiers left to simply overcome.

In India, the AI party has begun past due as industries and verticals have focussed on software program, hardware, analytics, and even IoT to date. AI as tech that merges hardware and software program is a whole new ballgame that calls for good sized research earlier than it can be accomplished right into a possible product.

In the rarefied international of style, Staqu might have struck a nerve with its consumer-friendly AI products, however whether or not it can preserve the momentum and fend off competition from the more set up gamers is something that only time will tell.

Author Biography.

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