Got an idea? AI-powered startup Engineer.ai will help you turn it into a productVishal Krishna
Engineer.ai uses AI and a library of building blocks to democratise software development; the assembly line manufacturing process helps optimise quality and minimise costs.
Planning to start up? You’re sure to need some sort of software – be it an app, website, or an AI-based search engine. But getting this in place is often a huge problem. Enter Engineer.ai, a marketplace of IT professionals who provide the solution.
Engineer.ai is a turnkey AI-powered platform for building (their product is called 'BuilderCare') and operating (with 'CloudOps') bespoke software. The Delhi-based startup, which promises project quality and completion, also provides businesses a platform to host and run their projects.
It all started in 2012 when Sachin Duggal and Saurabh Dhoot were running SDsquared Labs, a software company. They realised that smaller companies and individuals often faced issues with software vendors. The business idea for Engineer.ai germinated in June 2016.
“We faced app development issues ourselves. We often heard the same story within our circles that people were not getting the right vendor, the vendor wasn’t delivering on time, updates and maintenance were issues, or the developer had lifted the idea,” says Sachin Duggal, Co-founder of Engineer.AI.
The duo, friends from Imperial College, London, where they studied computer science, sensed a business opportunity. Sachin and Saurabh invested $2.5 million of their own money into the startup in 2016; its net revenues are more than $6.5million as of FY2018.
But starting up isn’t new to the friends. In 2004, they founded a tech startup, Nivio, which was into virtual desktops, and is still running.
Now, they realised the importance of bringing software building to everyone. “If one has a business idea, s/he should not be constrained by technical know-how. That’s why this is a marketplace that builds software as per assembly line manufacturing process,” Sachin says.
Engineer.ai believes that this has major implications, including:
- Bigger IT firms can use their bench strength by enrolling their team, and optimising HR resources
- Progressive IT firms can get projects to work on across the globe
- Anyone with a business idea can get hassle-free app development
- Diminished losses due to delays and overcharging by local vendors
- Freelancers or group of individuals can start their own IT support teams and get business
“Engineer.ai believes that everyone should be able to build, without learning to code. We believe that any idea can be made into a reality without wasting time, money and resources,” the founders say.
Businesses need custom-built software now more than ever. But, the current consultation and iteration model results in a project failure rate of 97 percent.
An upcoming entrepreneur seeking anonymity told YourStory that he worked with consultants and spent close to Rs 15 lakh on app development, but the consultants could not create the platform even after a year. This loss of time and money is what Engineer.ai addresses.
“Most small businesses are unable to provide accurate specifications for their projects, causing variations between client expectation and final delivery. Dev shops are wary of not receiving payment due to disputes caused by miscommunication,” Sachin says.
This widespread lack of trust prevents growth.
The Builder leverages an on-demand, cloud-based assembly line, which reuses common features/code that make up 60 percent of most applications. It allows anyone to create bespoke software using a drag-and-drop project builder, artificial intelligence, and a library of frequently used features such as Facebook login. It uses Blockchain-based transparency to ensure trust and delivery, and offers a marketplace of specialised teams from around the world, often at slack-time rates.
In India, a major chunk of revenues come from offshore clients/ projects; domestic revenues make up merely one-fourth of the total. “Our focus is on the domestic market for now,” Sachin says.
How the product works
Engineer.ai is an intuitive platform that enables anyone to assemble the complex code necessary to build software in just five easy steps:
#1 Begin with an idea.
#2 Choose from recommended features or add your own. The AI will create a “build card” that guarantees a maximum price and estimated delivery date.
#3 The development process leverages AI to tap a library of existing components and manage crowd-sourced global teams for everything that is unique.
#4 Builder delivers a custom product quickly and inexpensively, as guaranteed.
#5 The platform can host and upgrade your product to ensure ongoing functionality.
The company has three revenue streams:
1. BuildCare – Here they build the end-to-end app for a customer. This is a transactional revenue stream; the structure involves billing per week up to a maximum amount - if the startup does it faster, the client saves money. The company charges the price on quantum and complexity of work. The projects for app development, which is time-based, can range from Rs 1 lakh for data gathering infrastructure up to Rs 15 lakh or more.
This can be chosen to guarantee software is always working and up to date.
2. CloudOps – Customers can buy prepaid and postpaid cloud computing that’s either delivered from AWS or Azure at a better rate than going directly to those vendors.
“We are looking to get more professionals or teams registered with us. From our current capacity of 26,000 IT professionals, who run their own dev shops, we intend to scale it up to 2.25 lakh in next 18 months. This will be viable only if we are able to engage a growing number of teams/professionals on a regular basis. For that, we are looking to double the number of clients to 10,000 by 2020,” Sachin says.
Engineer.ai competes with many fragmented mid-sized development shops and large ones such as Infosys, Wipro, and TCS. But Engineer.ai is clear on one thing: it aims to resolve the problem by providing quality and reducing costs.