AWS Women in Tech: Leveraging the power of AI/ML to drive societal impact
Voiro’s Kavita, Spyne’s Deepti, and JIFFY.ai’s Payeli are blazing the trail in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
From healthcare to finance, from education to government – there isn’t any industry today that doesn’t leverage Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make faster, better, and data-driven decisions. In fact, reports suggest that 60 percent of businesses in India will combine human expertise with AI/ML by 2026. Alongside this, AI/ML investments in the country will continue to grow at a CAGR of 33.49 percent till 2023.
However, there is a persistent absence of women in these fields. There are less than 30 percent women in the AI industry, signaling the necessity to see and hear more women in the sector. And that’s what we want to shed light on – the women who chose to dream and break the glass ceilings in the fields of AI and ML.
Payeli Ghosh, Co-founder, JIFFY.ai
Growing up in the Steel City of Rourkela in Odisha, Payeli remembers watching her father run a successful business. “My first source of inspiration to do something different was my father,” she said. After graduating in engineering, she took up a job in the IT industry, where she developed her core skills, career skills and prepared to solve the ‘big picture’ problem. She took the entrepreneurial plunge, building a business that helped customers solve problems in the supply chain industry. But Payeli felt that her model was not sustainable. “I realised that if my ideas had to create a 10X impact, they had to be repeatable at scale,” she added.
In 2018, she launched JIFFY.ai, we are redefining how enterprises look at transformation; our low-code /no-code platform enables them to move from being ‘automated’ to ‘autonomous’.” Payeli shared that their clients have been using the platform to achieve operational excellence, improve customer experience, and realise the true value of digital transformation. The co-founder is proud of the fact that JIFFY.ai leverages responsible innovation, or ‘innovation with compassion’, and the team believes in embracing the positive change that comes with AI., a revolutionary low-code /no-code autonomous enterprise cloud platform that accelerates human-machine collaboration, turbo-charges productivity, transforms business processes, and helps teams to unleash their creativity and innovation. “We took pride in bootstrapping it for a few years, and went on to acquire Fortune 500 clients,” she revealed, adding, “At
“Integrity is the key to running a sustainable business. Business will go through ups and downs. But being able to go to bed every night without having to worry about the shortcuts one took, or with the satisfaction of having done the right thing is very important for me,” revealed Payeli. Trusting the team and partners are equally critical for her. A significant milestone in her life was when the audience told her they experienced ‘magic’ after they conducted a demo of the first version of their product for a team of customer and partner leaders. Another important milestone was bootstrapping their idea to scale.
“From my B2B experience, it is not the technology that wins—it is the problem it solves. It does not matter whether you are a pioneer or a challenger. You can always start slow, gather momentum, conquer competition, and still be a leader,” she advised.
Deepti Prasad, Co-founder, Spyne.ai
Deepti’s photography, wedding planning inspiration, and blogging platform Eventilaindia opened the doors to, a one-of-its-kind AI product that is transforming the way high-quality product images are created at scale. “I, along with my co-founder Sanjay, identified the need for automation in the photography space that could help scale operations and content distribution,” she said.
Spyne was born with the vision to empower sellers across the country, and to create superior product images and videos. “Imagine over 30 million merchants shooting product images and videos with just their smartphone to instantly compose high-quality images and videos instantly,” Deepti said. To increase the accuracy of their AI models, they set up a data annotation team which helped them generate data for problems arising from their ongoing client projects. This strategy enabled them to offer 99 percent accuracy to customers.
While trying to perfect her offering, Deepti also had to face the challenge of being a woman coming from a non-tech background. “Failures are the most effective path to success. So, seek the strength within you to chase your dreams,” she advised.
Deepti credits her success to persistence and hard work. An entrepreneurial journey can be tough in the start and it can make you question your intention. This is why it is important to find good tech talent who believe in the founder’s vision and are excited to build something new together. “As long as our business idea is strong and is solving for a real challenge, I feel there are ample growing and funding opportunities now that help women-led startups gain financial and tech support, mentoring expertise, and technical know-how to run, grow and sustain the business,” she added.
Kavita Shenoy, Co-Founder and CEO, Voiro
‘Taking a leap of faith’ is a huge part of Kavita’s success story. At every juncture in her professional life, she found herself trusting herself and just taking that leap. While working in a renowned international company, Kavita saw for the first time how large publishers with YouTube channels can monetise their channels. That’s when she realised she wanted to work with publishers. But the challenge was that her company was not hiring in Bengaluru, where she resided. “That was an aha moment for me where I said, ‘I need to leave and start something on my own’,” Kavita revealed. She decided to quit and begin her own venture.
She soon realised that she needed someone who understood data - a key buzzword back in 2013. That’s when she met Anand Gopal who, like her, wanted to do something different in the field. In 2014,was born. The Bengaluru-based startup simplifies ad sales and ops workflows, giving customers a single view of all their revenue. “I keep thinking back to what if I had just decided to stay with my corporate job and see whether I could have pushed to get a job with a publisher. I don't think it would have been the same because I would have never thrown myself out there,” she remembered. Looking back, Kavita considers the time their first customer paid them as one of her most memorable moments. Another one was when they managed to secure their first round of funding.
Founders have a lonely journey, Kavita felt, so it becomes important to switch gears and have support systems in place. “There are people who are truly supportive of your dreams and want you to succeed. You need to nurture those relationships and not take them for granted,” she revealed. As a founder, Kavita had to keep her eye on the ball and ensure that values were not being compromised, especially in the digital space, where users are fickle and spoiled for choices.
For Kavita, it’s all about the mindset and she advises entrepreneurs to ‘go after it’.
Creating an enabling environment for women
Payeli believes that women leaders bring in a different perspective to a discussion, decision or a deadlock. “Whenever I get an opportunity, I talk to young women entrepreneurs about ‘work-life integration’ and not ‘work-life balance’. It is extremely important to be able to integrate both without having to harbour feelings of guilt on either side. My grain of ‘advice’ to all budding women entrepreneurs and leaders is to give this some serious thought, before they give up or live in the guilt lane, doing the balancing act,” she added.
Deepti highlighted how Spyne has implemented several policies to hire and promote women at different levels. “Our hiring procedure is purely merit-based, eliminating any unconscious gender bias mindset. As a fast growing tech startup, people get to work on a wide variety of problem statements. With strategic training and equal opportunities, we ensure our women associates grow both personally and professionally within the organisation and take leading roles in the company,” she added.
Echoing similar sentiments, Kavita added that women are extremely capable of organising or remembering things, and this memory can be useful in the business. Moreover, women can hold a team and facilitate a spirit of collaboration. “For years, women have been denied opportunities and so, women should take advantage of things that are women-centric because they have been created with good intentions,” she said.
AWS: Partner in success
For Kavita and Voiro, AWS was a friend from the start. She explained that the team provided Voiro with ease of business and has been the first choice for Anil Karat, their CTO. “We've been able to experiment and grow with them. We’ve attended conferences, got credits, and were able to save a lot of money, experiment, and learn new things with AWS. So, they've kept it exciting for us,” she revealed.
Deepti revealed that Spyne relied extensively on AWS for storage and processing. “AWS is helping us with high service availability of storage servers across the globe, infinite scalability, and instant outputs in real-time,” she said, adding, “We are using AWS to power our AI model. In our business use case we are processing millions of data daily to train our computer vision model using Amazon SageMaker. We are storing the data and using it to train our AI models continuously which is helping us achieve better outputs every day.”
Payeli called AWS the backbone of JIFFY.ai’s SaaS offerings. As they run multiple production workloads spanning various geographies, they continue to expand their platform offerings integrating with a range of managed services from AWS. Speaking about the AWS platform, she said that reliability, uptime guarantee, and security have always been the key elements drawing them to the partnership.
“AWS has been proactively helping us manage costs through well-architected reviews, cost optimisation workshops, and tech webinars, which in turn, have been instrumental in JIFFY.ai’s cloud roadmap,” she signed off.