Learn from the best minds in the industry

By Ipsita Basu
January 12, 2023, Updated on : Tue Jan 17 2023 07:11:10 GMT+0000
Learn from the best minds in the industry
Perspective on industry trends, insights on technology and fundraising, advice and mentorship to grow and scale the business – all this and much more as AWS ML Elevate 2022 brings forth industry experts to guide ML founders to their goals.
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As the leading accelerator program that nurtures AI ML founders to build, grow and scale core ML startups, AWS ML Elevate 2022 in association with Accel, Intel and YourStory, organized ML Sprint, a segment of the larger program, that included mentorship by industry veterans, VCs and successful founders.

Established in October 2020, ML Elevate was the first-of-its-kind accelerator program that connected ML founders with experts, peers, potential investors, advisors and customers.

For its second edition in 2022, the program received 263 applications from across India from AI/ML startups who showcased disruptive and innovative solutions to address challenges across industries like health and wellness, banking and financial services, manufacturing, automation and mobility, food and agriculture, education among others. From this, a cohort of 27 startups were selected that are solving key operational and business challenges and are AI-first or core-ML, and were looking for guidance, network and connections to scale.

Selected startups powered through four weeks of mentor masterclasses. The sessions featured deep-dive and intensive mentor masterclasses, fireside chats and panel discussions, led by industry leaders, investors, founders, AWS experts with topics across market sizing, building a strong technical foundation and finding product-market-fit, optimising MLOps and pipelines, hiring, building go-to-market strategy and developing sales and marketing engines, pitches to raise funds and market expansion.

Here’s a glimpse of sessions held by mentors from the industry for the selected cohort of AWS ML Elevate 2022, to enable them to bridge gaps and expand their innovations on larger platforms.

Mentors for AWS ML Elevate 2022

1. Session theme: #GTM #Product #Tech

Session topic: Your Tech Allies in the making of AI

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker names: Priya Karchiappan, Data & AI Partner ecosystem | SIs & ISVs, Intel Corporation and Prathyusha Barre, Artificial Intelligence Architect, Intel Corporation

Session details:

Their session helped startups understand how to identify and access resources globally, needed for product design and implementation and frameworks. The session identified common industry challenges and ways to address these, along with best practices. It also outlined Intel’s work with AI companies to help them see business and technology benefits and included points on data pre-processing functions, data preparation, augmenting data, data labelling, among other such tools.

To view this session,

2. Session theme: #Tech #ML

Session Topic: Model Governance: An often overlooked reality

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker name: Mathangi Sri, Chief Data Officer, Yubi

Session details:

While deep neural networks and transfer learning are taking the world by storm, this session had insights on model governance, building well-tested models to cut losses in revenues and why it was imperative to have a model governance process to help businesses succeed.

For those wanting to understand the million parameters of data and its complexity, this session helped to decipher and talk about measuring machine learning performance.

To view this session,

3. Session theme: #GTM #Hiring

Session Topic: B2B SaaS Sales in A Nutshell: What Startups Need to Know

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker name: Mark Birch, Global Startup Advocate, AWS

Session details:

This session covered topics like how to move from founder-led sales to a well-oiled sales engine and focussed on what happens after the first five customers. It also included insights on the things to consider when building a SaaS sales team across borders, as well as the importance of community-led growth.

To view this session,

4. Session theme #Tech #ML

Session Topic: Amazon SageMaker - Machine Learning for Every Data Scientist and Developer

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker name: Praveen Jayakumar, Principal Specialist AI/ML Solutions Architect, AWS

Session details:

Training machine learning (ML) models at scale often requires significant infrastructure investments. Through this session startups learnt how Amazon SageMaker Training activates training and tuning large-scale ML models with high performance without the need to manage infrastructure.

To view this session,

5. Session theme: #GTM #Product #Hiring #Fundraising

Session Topic: From X To 10X, The Journey of an AI-First Startup

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker name: Sanjay Kumar, CEO & Co-founder, Spyne.AI

Session details:

The session shared insights on the journey of a startup from idea to product-market-fit and fundraising. It included conversations around keeping a balance between a product-first approach and a customer-first approach, understanding markets and customers closely, managing costs, building customer-centric solutions, being agile and navigating early stages of building.

To view this session,

6. Session theme: #GTM #Product #Acquisition #Hiring

Session Topic: Growth frameworks for scale, monetisation and retention, leading to acquisition

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker name: Siddharth Mall, Co-founder and CEO, Playment

Session details:

This session featured an in-depth walkthrough to understand the outliers of the PMF and how traditional software companies differ from ML-native companies. It shared insights on how founders could predict sustainable growth that could lead to possible acquisitions.

To view this session,

7. Session theme: #GTM #Fundraising #MarketExpansion

Session Topic: Thinking the long term in CVC with an APJ Lens

Session type: Fireside chat

Speaker name: Bill Huang, Venture Capital, Business and Corporate Development, Intel Capital; Moderator: Aayush Lalit Jain, Venture Capital & ML Startups BD, AWS

Session details:

What should founders consider when growing their business? What are the multiple metrics at play? This session outlined insights on these important questions and much more, along with a peek into how investment decisions are considered from the perspective of seasoned VC and some outliers that founders should consider.

To view this session,

8. Session theme: #Tech #ML #Product

Session Topic: Scaling AI-first startups across diverse industries: From CTO's Lens

Session type: Panel discussion

Speakers: Akshay Deshraj, Co-founder and CTO, Skit.ai; Arun Dudee, CTO, DeHaat;

Karan Mehta, Founder and CTO, Kissht; Moderator: Goutam Kurumella, Senior Manager, Startup Solutions Architecture, AWS

Session details:

What does it take to build a company? How does AI/ML impact businesses? This discussion brought startup CTOs from across industries on a common platform where they shared their journeys and insights about product-first versus data science-first approaches, the process of selling to the first customer, challenges faced throughout the process and growing a startup internationally.

To view this session,

9. Session theme: #ML #AI

Session Topic: Building up AI capability cost effectively

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Agustinus Nalwan, GM of AI, Data Science and Data Platform, carsales.com.au

Session details:

The session included insights on data science and utilising SageMaker built-in algorithm for scalable ML experimentation without the need for data science skills. It also had insights on ML engineering and covered flexible models using SageMaker (real time, batch, serverless, streaming, etc).

To view this session,

10. Session theme: #GTM

Session Topic: Penetrating enterprises horizontally with AI/ML solutions

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Sanket Dhurandhar, Principal ML - BD, AWS

Session details:

AI / ML and machine learning are today’s transformational technologies. For organisations it is now imperative to deploy this for business success. This session discussed selling AI/ML products to enterprises, navigating personas and earning trust, managing long sales cycles, tedious procurement cycles, business sign-offs and identifying low hanging fruits.

To view this session,

11. Session theme: #GTM #Product #Hiring #Funding #Tech

Session Topic: A 360-degree Approach to Building an AI Company

Session type: Panel discussion

Speakers: Rahul Prasad, Co-founder and CTO, Bobble AI Technologies; Ankit P, Founder and CEO, Bobble AI Technologies; Moderator: Aayush Lalit Jain, Venture Capital & ML Startups BD, AWS

Session details:

How can a 360-degree approach help towards building an AI company? This and more insights were part of this session that included points on data science-first versus market / product-first approach, impact of AI, evolving with multiple PMFs, fundraising, managing costs, hiring, going global and emerging technologies.

To view this session,

12. Session theme: #Funding

Session Topic: Understanding the VC perspective and navigating fundraising

Session type: Masterclass

Speakers: Prayank Swaroop, Partner, Accel

Session details:

Insights on what investors consider when evaluating AI/ML startups for investments, or how founders should devise their thinking across various stages, were shared at this session. Other points included deep-dive on fundraising and navigating the current fundraising environment.

To view this session,

13. Session theme: #Product #GTM #Prototyping

Session Topic: Rapid Prototyping to PMF for AI-first Startups

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Jaya Kishore Reddy Gollareddy, Co-founder and CTO, Yellow.AI

Session details:

With deep-dive discussion into product market fit and the fail-fast philosophy, this session outlined the anatomy of product-led growth, risk factors and iterative cycles that can be repeated from start to finish till product market fits are in a scalable mode.

To view this session,

14. Session theme: #Product #ML #GTM

Session Topic: Building A Core ML Product

Session type: Fireside chat

Speakers: Rahul Saxena, Co-founder and CPTO, AiDash; Moderator: Tanay Jagani, Investment Team, Accel

Session details:

How can one build ML core products, find product market fit and scale an enterprise ML company? This session shared insights on these points and more including the process of identifying the first set of problems to solve, onboarding first set of US customers, converting traditional customers with a quick and efficient sales cycle and expanding ML use cases to build new features among other such points.

To view this session,

15. Session theme: #Tech #Product #Hiring

Session Topic: Deep Dive Into AI-First Startups At Scale

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Jithendra Vepa, Chief Scientist, Observe.Ai

Session details:

This session helped understand the nuances of an AI-first startup's journey from idea to product-market-fit and fundraising. It offered insights on how market trends and AI/ML-first products are a requirement to ensure product market fit.

To view this session,

16. Session theme: #Product #Tech

Session Topic: Data Science first versus Product/Business first

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Atanu Roy, Principal Deep Learning Architect, Amazon ML Solution Labs

Session details

This session shared real-world examples on what causes failures in data science projects, in spite of having the right teams. It pointed out why it is important to understand business wants in a nuanced way, before starting to work on a science plan. It also provided a glimpse into the best practices followed by Amazon ML Solutions Lab to de-risk projects.

To view this session,

17. Session theme: #Funding

Session Topic: Pitch Tuning Workshop

Session type: Masterclass

Speaker: Radhika Ananth, Vice President, Accel

Session details:

This session discussed how founders could fine-tune their pitch to investors. Points in the session covered important elements of a pitch deck, what investors look at and focus on for early-stage investments, what processes founders should follow to create their pitches, and what some best-in-class pitches look like.

The experience gained from these sessions groomed founders on how to make best use of opportunities to showcase their products and ideas to a room full of VCs, angels, startup founders /CXOs and domain experts, not only during the course of the programme, but also for their future endeavours towards building and fund raising for their startups.

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