Founder – Barkha Sharma
Website – Bash.ai
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
Barkha Sharma –
Starting up happened extremely organically for me. After graduating in Bachelors in Computers Application I completed my MBA and then deep dived into the field of Human Resources. I worked in the field of HR for 7 years; right from working with enterprises to consulting with startups and building their processes from scratch. Over the course of time I ended up having countless conversations with people who felt that HR is the backbone of a company, to those who believed that the appendix is more useful than its function.
I have worked on all facets of HR and have become extremely passionate about the function and more so fascinated with the impact technology can have on it. Unfortunately, in a world with driverless cars, HR has not embraced tech like other functions. This was my biggest inspiration and my belief in AI to bolster efficiency in HR was my biggest motivator. AI and deep learning has the power to improve efficiency of HR and it is through Bash.ai that I believe we can bring about that change.
What does success mean to your company?
Barkha Sharma – Thinking of an idea and successfully executing it or turning it into a profitable model is whats important. Ideas are abundant, it is the execution that counts most.
How are you performing currently?
Barkha Sharma – Having started Bash.ai exactly a year ago, the response that we’ve got from industry leaders and organizations in India, the Silicon Valley, and Middle East has been incredible. We started Bash.ai with 3 people working out of my living room and after many sleepless nights and relentless hard work we launched it in March 2017. Today, just a year on, we’re a 15 person strong team of engineers, product developers, and operations enablers working with HR processes of organizations helping them automate simple routine tasks, in turn, making their work lives a lot more efficient.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
Barkha Sharma – I wouldn’t like to call them risks, rather misconceptions around AI and deep learning technologies. One of the biggest mistakes around AI is that it will take over jobs. Today, some of the most exciting startups exist because technology could do a better job as compared to humans. It’s important to be mindful of the impact o technology in our everyday lives. This misconception is one of the biggest reasons why there is a lack of skilled workforce in the field of AI and machine learning – it is a huge challenge finding the right talent for AI-based roles in India.
What are your plans on funding?
Barkha Sharma – We raised our first round of funding in October 2017. The process of fundraising has given us immense clarity on our product and sales roadmap.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Barkha Sharma – I think one of the most significant challenges was getting the right team in place. Starting out it’s essential to put together a team who believe in the vision of the company as much as the founding team does.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Barkha Sharma – From the very start, it’s imperative to prioritize growth which means focusing on having an efficient product, business model and having solid operations. Having said that, the growth of a product/company also depends on the nature of the market and business model. We look at investing in growth keeping both the market and our business model in mind. Right now we’re focused on building our repertoire of modules (in addition to the four modules that we have in place).
While we keep adding to our repertoire of modules, currently Bash.ai has five modules:
- Welcome Aboard: aimed at employees who have accepted the offer but are yet to join.
- Post Hire Orientation: a virtual buddy to bring the new joiner in-tune with the company and its policies.
- HR Helpdesk: the core engine answering all the queries an employee might have for the HR.
- Ticketing – Automation of issues raised from conversation to the HR team. Set TAT and pre defined rules for assigning issues which the team can later track.
- Employee Engagement: to get the pulse of the employees. More of an emotional and aspirational barometer.
Over the next year, we plan to add recruitment and training to our product portfolio – making screening resumes time effective and efficient. We’re extremely focused on maintaining the right balance between growth and profitability.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Barkha Sharma – Bash.ai uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve HR processes and, in turn, employees experiences. Essentially, it is an automation tool which uses AI and big data to power a virtual assistant to drive HR for businesses. It mimics cognitive functions related to the HR function using a rule-based Artificial Intelligence powered bot resulting in increased productivity in the workplace.
Quite simply, a rule-based bot can help in terms of employees getting information faster with a conversational interface, enabling the HR team to focus on more meaningful tasks rather than getting caught up with repetitive tasks and generic queries.
What sets us apart from the others our there is our focus on impacting HR using deep learning technologies like AI & ML which has helped us build a roadmap for the future where we can define a clear ROI for a company choosing our solution. We believe in keeping our customers happy by providing them meaningful insights. I believe that if we stay focused on building a product that focuses on reshaping HR we’ll stick around and continue to make an impact.
What is your very next goal in the coming year?
Barkha Sharma – Like I said, over the next year we’re focused on adding to our four existing modules. We’re currently working on adding recruitment and training to our product portfolio. The impact of AI on recruitment has endless possibilities. Think of an AI bot as a recruiter who works 24/7 to find the right match for the job roles you’re hiring for.
Where are your start-up services spread?
Barkha Sharma – Our services are currently used by the HR function in organizations spread across the country. Over the course of the next couple of years, we intend on expanding to newer geographies.
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?
Barkha Sharma – When I look at the team that we’ve built so far and seen their immense drive to build something meaningful, it pushes me even further. Now having done all the hard work, we are poised to take a leap. I’m extremely charged to get to work every morning and work with the team to build something unique and exciting. What keeps me excited about Bash.ai is that everyday we’re inching even closer to bringing about a massive change in the ecosystem.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
Barkha Sharma – Although a 5-year plan seems slightly far-fetched given the fast-changing technological landscape, we see Bash having developed into a full-fledged HR bot trained to understand modules across the board.