Expand AI founder reveals how she became a deeptech entrepreneur without a tech background

Speaking at TechSparks 2023 Mumbai edition, Expand AI founder Amritagandha Dutta spoke about how she launched a deeptech startup without having a tech background and why building EQ skills is vital.

Expand AI founder reveals how she became a deeptech entrepreneur without a tech background

Wednesday April 05, 2023,

3 min Read

Is it possible to start a deep tech startup without a tech background? 

“Absolutely,” said Amritagandha Dutta, Founder and CEO of Expand AI at YourStory's Mumbai edition of TechSparks 2023.

At its core, entrepreneurship is about problem solving. Quick research will reveal that Airbnb, Tinder, Pandora, and Alibaba are all great examples of tech startups built by non-tech founders. The truth is that the best startups around the world are formed at a focal point of two or more domains.

From taking AI courses on Coursera to interviewing ML engineers, Amritagandha had to buckle down from the get-go since she’s from a non-tech background.

“I went to TiECON Mumbai and Startup Grind in Silicon Valley. After speaking to many leaders I realised that automating the data annotation process to solve the data bottleneck in the AI space would be an intrepid problem to solve,” she said.

Data annotation is essential for businesses because it enables them to train machine learning models that can automate tasks and improve decision-making. 

Dutta reveals how she felt while showcasing her demo. “The moment I see that spark on the face of ML engineers when we give them a live demo of our software, I know it’s worth it.”

She said in comparison to manual data labelling, the industry standard for data annotation, Expand AI gives 95% accurate labels. “We've reduced the time by at least 70%, and the cost by up to 50%, along with ensuring 100% data privacy.”

Apart from solving this bottleneck in the AI space, Dutta is also helping democratise AI with TheHumanityPledge Foundation. 

This is important because the democratisation of AI enables more people to benefit from this technology, by promoting diversity and inclusivity within the AI community. By working together to achieve this goal, companies can create a future in which AI is a force for good.

Dutta said TheHumanityPedge Foundation is essentially an accelerator. “We're investing in AI as well as clean tech companies.”

Working with a deeptech startup

Expand AI is a small team with “audacious goals” and each of them is working to actualise their vision.

Dutta talked about the one thing that anyone wishing to work in deeptech should do. “Learn to build positive relationships. That's actually crucial during the hiring process. You never know when you're going to need them. And it's not just with tech folks, but with anybody,” she said.

The founder said emotional intelligence, along with IQ, is key in such a scenario. The relationships and the trust you build “will help you be an AI entrepreneur, even if you’re from a non-tech background”.

“To me, it's about creating the world of tomorrow,” Dutta said. 

Expand AI founder reveals how she became a deeptech entrepreneur without a tech background