This Human-assisted AI Empowers Independent Tech Product Developers
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Ever since the world got introduced to Artificial Intelligence, it has created a storm in the virtual world with its disruptive impact on businesses. With every software developer looking to leverage the technology, the lack of developmental knowhow, availability of a proper platform to create an end-to-end application and scalable way to develop software products have halted their steps.
In such a situation, Engineer.ai, a human-assisted AI comes in as a saviour by making technology accessible to everyone, even those who don’t know how to develop. The startup helps companies build and operate custom-made software by lending an on-demand cloud-based Assembly Line. It recently raised Series A funding of $29.5 million, led by Lakestar and Jungle Ventures.
The funding round also witnessed the participation from DeepCore - Softbank’s AI-focused investment fund. Talking to Entrepreneur India, the Founder and Chief Wizard of Engineer.ai, Sachin Dev Duggal shared, “We are selling products to our customers that they want to create. Our business model consists of three important pillars: Builder, Builder app insurance called BuilderCare and CloudOps.
With the software industry currently estimated at $351 billion, Engineer.ai is redefining how a software is built by disregarding the traditional model of software development where the delivery risk is shifted to the customer. With software expenditure expected to grow by 4.2per cent globally this year, they claim to be catering a growing market as the United States of America alone had generated 138 million of revenue in 2016 via computer programming and software development.
Apart from providing a faster service, their transparency has made the startup favoured over other players in the market. “We work on your product in real-time and changes are naturally a part of the process. So, we don’t charge for change requests,” Duggal pointed. The firm has a trusted network of global human talent, which they proudly call capacity partners.
The AI-based startup has a wholesome library of code Building Blocks that can be dropped into any combination of apps/web apps which allows building the perfect experience without having to pay for code already built. “The Builder platform helps customers create an app from end-to-end. Customers use builder app insurance (BuilderCare) to ensure the built software is always working and up-to-date.”
“The third pillar, CloudOps, is a platform which allows customers to buy both prepaid and postpaid cloud computing. It’s delivered either from AWS or Azure at a better rate than going directly to those vendors,” Duggal explained. In today’s time, organizations face numerous issues related to cost, technical knowledge, resource utilization among others, Engineer.ai seems to have a solution for it all.
Investment of Expectations
As far as the recent fundraising is concerned, Engineer.ai has increased the expectations and responsibilities associated with the startup. Notably, the capital has come at a time of rapid growth and will help the company propel the platform into the mainstream, allowing Builder to open the door for entire categories of companies that could not consider it before.
“This investment will be validating our approach of making software effortless,” said Duggal, adding, “With this investment and seamless funding, we are expecting to deliver high-quality bespoke software at a fraction of the price and time of traditional development.” As for the fund utilization, the startup has mindfully allocated 65 per cent funds for improving their engineering aspect whereas the rest will go to customer acquisition.
Engineer.ai is focusing on the APAC region, mainly India, and is looking to expand to MENA and South East Asia including China. In order to facilitate a smooth expansion, the startup plans to build a strong base for all Builder offerings. While In India, firm’s target customers will be Enterprise along with SMB, their current strength lies in the latter as of current 5000 customers, only 264 are enterprises whereas the rest is SMB.
Going forward, apart from delivering high quality bespoke software at a fraction of the price and time, Engineer.ai will provide a fully integrated service to their customers from extended warranty via BuilderCare to the CloudOps marketplace that provides access to everything the bespoke software might need (including, for example, hosting, micro-services and marketing).
The current strength of engineers on the platform is 32,000 engineers of which 10,000 are from India. This will go up to 250,000 engineers from India within 24 months. The global revenue for the period of April 2017 - March 2018 was $23.1 million and projected revenue for April 2018 - March 2019 is $45 million, out of which India’s contribution will be $35 million.
Down the Memory Lane
Headquartered in Los Angeles and London, Engineer.ai also has offices in Delhi and Tokyo. Founded by Sachin Dev Duggal and Saurabh Dhoot in 2012, the startup was initially named SD Squared but got rebranded to Engineer.ai. in June 2018. While the firm’s current gross revenue is $24 million, with customers like BBC, Virgin Group and the San Francisco Giants, by March 2021, it aims to cross the $100 million revenue mark in India.