Please walk us through your entrepreneurial journey and background before you started? Any interesting stories. Tell us something about founding team?
Staqu is just not a company but it is a thought process which started its evolution back in 2010. I started my career in AI research in 2009 and since then, my passion for AI kept building. I have always wanted to solve real world problem by applying AI. The same thought inspired me to develop a system enabling people with physical disability to control computer, without the use of hands. The project was covered by media back in 2010.
Staqu was founded with the same thought, where we four like-minded co-founders met and decided to solve real world problems using artificial intelligence. At Staqu, we are building an automated image understanding technology which could cater automation, utilizing the image related big data, since 70% of content on internet are images. Though we have started with solving the problems of fashion e-com, soon we plan on to expanding to other domains as well.
The founding team comprises of people from various fields and wakes of life with their expertise amalgamating into creating the products that Staqu boasts of now. Atul has done his Masters in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Manchester and created the research base for Staqu. Chetan and Anurag are experience app developers who know smartphones in and out and their expertise helped bring research right into the hands of our customers and their users. Pankaj is one of those versatile people who adopt technology as soon as it is brought out and he helped create the entire backend for the products that are live in the market and see multiple millions of hits on a daily basis.
About founding team
Atul Rai (CEO): Atul has a Masters in Artificial Intelligence from University of Manchester (the birth place of Turing Machine). Atul manages the business development and also leads the research at Staqu.
Anurag Saini (CTO): As the CTO, Anurag is responsible for the overall tech vision of the company and heads integration efforts with various partners.
Chetan Rexwal (VP Product): As the Head of Product at Staqu, Chetan helps envision the product roadmap of the company and understanding how the research efforts can be incorporated into different products.
Pankaj Sharma (VP Engineering): At Staqu, Pankaj leads efforts in creating a stable and scalable backend for the VGrep Suite of products. He plays a crucial role in helping the research team convert their research.
Tell us little about your product/ platform
Staqu works in one the most frontier and revolutionary AI subdomain called deep learning (for images).
We are building the technological ecosystem in which if image is fed it will extract the semantic relationship within the pixels to extract the relevant domain information. We are currently providing our solution in B2B space and targeted e-commerce first. Our current product suite “VGrep Suite” comprises of five products viz: visual search, similar product recommendation, complementary product recommendation, automated product description generation , trend analysis.
Tell us about your customer traction
Within 9 months of our launch we added companies like Paytm, Yepme, Roposo, Tradeindia, Microsec Finance, Faballey, E-poolers in our clientele. Apart from e-com companies Staqu is also working with some of the top OEMs in India which includes Karbonn (launched a phone FashionEye powered by Staqu’s AI), Panasonic, Lava, Intex for different AI powered solutions. Staqu aims to bring AI right into the hands of smartphone users through different means these OEM partnerships help it achieve just that.
How has been your association with IBM Global Entrepreneur? How important do you think IBM Global Entrepreneur is to help and improve the ecosystem?
We had gotten associated with IBM GEP in the very early stages of Staqu. Though we had the research, technology and product in place, we were still looking for the right platform on which we could showcase our product in front of the right audience. IBM-GEP provided us the platform where we not just able to showcase our technology but were also able to clinch our seed round investment.
What’s your take on the IBM Cloud? How is it helping your start-up grow?
“IBM cloud services are a great initiative by IBM. The platform is really robust and scalable and cost wise its really affordable for startups.”
We are utilising it for hosting our “VGrep Suite” of services and its working very smooth.
What is your road ahead for your start-up?
We aim to build one of the biggest AI firms in the world through cutting edge research. Our competition isn’t with other AI firms but with the human brain itself. We want to bring about that level of intelligence into the products that we build and want to help our partners take advantage of that to create products that bring innovation right into the hands of their users.