WATCH: This IIT alumni's data science startup is making collaboration easy for businesses by tackling AI workloads

Data science startup Jovian is building tools, workflows, and collaboration stacks to help businesses track and reproduce data science projects, and automate repetitive tasks. In this video interview with YourStory Business Editor Vishal Krishna, the founders tell us more.

Aakash NS and Siddhant Ujjain were aiming for the sky and beyond when they named their data science startup Jovian, the adjectival form of Jupiter.

The duo, who in 2013 graduated in computer science from IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi, respectively, hit the big league immediately. They joined Twitter and worked in the US for a couple of years.

In the Bay Area, they came into contact with top machine learning experts and data scientists, and soon realised that platforms for source code, like GitHub, made it possible for engineers to contribute and work with the community on projects. However, they felt that a platform for people to track artificial intelligence (AI) workloads was missing. In 2017, the friends returned to Bengaluru to set up SwiftAce, an AI company that focused on computer vision.

Watch Aakash and Siddhant in conversation with YourStory here:

A GitHub for the data science community

Aakash and Siddhant soon realised that Indian companies working on AI needed a platform to collaborate. In 2018, they began developing a platform that would allow individuals to bring their AI workloads to one platform. And by early 2019, they founded California- and Bengaluru-based Jovian.

At present, the data science startup claims to have more than 100 users.

“We realised that companies manage multiple workloads for AI and are not able to collaborate effectively in this new era. Also, a majority of the world will be on AI workloads going forward,” says Aakash, Co-founder and CEO.

AI necessitates the use of lot of memory and scaling of data, and Jovian allows access to multiple versions of workloads and data in an easy and searchable manner. Owned and operated by SwiftAce Inc., Jovian was part of the Axilor Accelerator programme in 2018.

How Jovian works

The startup is building tools, workflows, and collaboration stacks to power the future of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The founders say their platform is language, framework, and cloud-provider-agnostic, easy to try out, and tracks everything (datasets, source code, hyper-parameters, trained models, etc.) on a simple yet powerful online dashboard.

The Founders of Jovian, Aakash NS and Siddhant Ujjain, want to make their startup the de-facto tool for the data science community.

Jovian connects with Jupyter Notebook to synchronise data. The Jupyter Notebook is an open-source web application that allows you to create and share documents that contain live code, equations, visualisations, and narrative text.

Jovian pulls all data coded on Python, a machine learning language, so that the work can be reproduced anytime. It can:

  • track and reproduce data science projects
  • allow easy collaboration with friends/colleagues
  • automate repetitive tasks in day-to-day workflows

Teams using the platform can also discuss and collaborate on their work, and create pipelines to automate analysis and evaluation of models. 

“This allows corporates to track AI workflows, regardless of their employees being in the company or not,” Aakash says.

Market overview

The global business value derived from AI is projected to total $1.2 trillion in 2018, an increase of 70 percent from 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. AI-derived business value is forecast to reach $3.9 trillion in 2022.

The Gartner AI-derived business value forecast assesses the total business value of AI across all enterprise vertical sectors covered by Gartner. There are three sources of AI business value: customer experience, new revenue, and cost reduction.

Facilitating data deployment

Jovian, which wants to be the de-facto tool for the data science community, competes with global platforms like Weights&Biases, CometML, and Neptune, and is also eyeing the US and European markets after notching up clients in India.

Last week, the startup raised $450,000 led by Arka Venture Labs. The other investors who participated in the round include Better Capital, SenseAI, Axilor Ventures, and other individual angel investors from Silicon Valley.

Almost every organisation is now deploying AI, and it will be interesting to see who signs up with Jovian in India. The founders are targeting individuals, data scientists, and companies, and aim to acquire more than 500 customers over the next couple of years.

“Our business model is a freemium model, where we charge them for the number of workloads uploaded or per-seat licence model,” Aakash says. Jovian currently has a five-member team.

Jovian has garnered interest from data science teams looking to use their platform for collaboration within their companies, with a willingness to pay for more advanced features. However, the founders refused to divulge any names.

“We are currently in the process of on-boarding our first few paying customers,” Aakash earlier told YourStory.


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