How This Founder Is Experimenting With RoboticDataScience After Accidentally Foraying Into The Field

The Chennai-based AI company, TheDataTeam recently on-boarded ex-Microsoft veteran, Pushkaraj Kale as the Co-founder & Chief Operating Officer to drive growth and expansion of the startup. With offices in India and South East Asia, the startup caters to the Telecom, Financial Services, and Retail industries. Pushkaraj, who will also join the board as the Director, brings 27 years of experience in the sector. While Pushkaraj has officially joined in April 2020, he had been advising TheDataTeam, along with other startups, over the 10+ months prior.  

Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Pushkaraj to understand his plans for the company, how he aims to strengthen the AI play at the company and more.

TheDataTeam Team Is Leading The Way In RoboticDataScience

The company founded in 2015 is known for its work in RoboticDataScience, which is their proprietary framework for automating data science in a way that allows the enterprise to directly use the results that are delivered. TheDataTeam has built Cadenz for automatically providing customer intelligence to the customer-facing functions of large enterprises, who otherwise have to spend a lot of time, money, and valuable data science talent in arriving at the insights themselves.

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How it works?

While customers leave behind vast amounts of data at various touch-points, yet none of this data gets used effectively and deriving value from customer data is slow, manual and complicated. Cadenz simplifies this journey from raw customer data to derive intelligence so that businesses can focus on eliminating customer friction and driving new customer initiatives in record quick time. The AI-powered automation by the company enables the same, which is a first of its kind technology in the market. 

Cadenz integrates disparate customer data, unifies records, and automatically mines interests using behavioural AI algorithms. It has helped many enterprises, for instance, using Cadenz, a leading bank achieved a 20% increase in credit card usage within 1 month of deployment, by providing live, personalized offers based on the customer’s personality, current spend and current location. In another instance, an Asian telecom company not only monetized its millions of prepaid subscribers but also ensured due revenue collection using the real-time data Cadenz gathered and the intelligence is generated. 

Idea Behind TheDataTeam

The company was founded by Rangarajan Vasudevan, who accidentally forayed into data science. While pursuing research at  AT&T Research Labs via the PhD program at University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, he had a strong difference of opinion with his advisor, leading him to quit PhD and taking up a job at Aster Data System in 2006. Here he was exposed to working with database engines and solving analytical problems at a big data scale. Since the Aster platform was novel for its times, it required engineers to roll up the sleeves and actually do the data science that early clients wanted. So, he transitioned over from desk-based engineering to field work of consulting and implementing for clients like LinkedIn.

The initial vision for TheDataTeam was to provide the expertise and know-how of dealing with big data and data science, which later led to the development of AI-based Cadenz to help enterprises dramatically cut short their time to insights and action. They strive to ensure that “no customer is left behind”.

Alongside Cadenz, TheDataTeam continues to engage in niche AI and data consulting work for large enterprises in Asia, especially in the space of cloud and data. The team comprises 60 people spread across Chennai, Bangalore, and Singapore, and has strong partnerships across ASEAN and India markets.

Plans For TheDataTeam

Pushkaraj will primarily be responsible for expanding and driving growth of their flagship platform in multiple geographies, maintaining sustainable growth across customer segments and will lead the company’s strategic initiatives, product vision, and development. 

A technology veteran, he had built & led the BFSI sector into the fastest growing business at Microsoft India. He has been advising various AI startups for some time now and this comes as a perfect opportunity to utilise his experience for the growth of the company. 

By joining TheDataTeam, he aims to strengthen the AI functionality and bring the benefits of automated intelligence of the Cadenz platform to newer problem statements in the customer function, and in the future, extend to other problem domains across industries.

He also aims to take a lead on the active research that is going on internally to adopt emerging techniques from academia around dealing with sparse data in legacy settings.

While he is aiming to take the company into new highs, Pushkaraj believes that AI startups have the added pressure to keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve, and times like this provide that little bit of downtime to more easily do that.

“As much as AI is here to stay, it is also a buzzword that frequently gets prefixed to anything that has even a semblance of technology in it. For people seeking a career in AI, there is no substitute for building up expertise bottom up. For companies evaluating AI, there is no substitute for real experience,” he said on concluding note. 

Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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