Podcast Episode 11

The Less Understood and Often Overlooked Building Blocks for Entrepreneurial Success

In this Tech Business Roundtable Podcast episode, host Ryan Davies engages with Aman Bandvi, a seasoned thought leader in various domains, including the government policy, emerging technology, security, and public affairs. Aman’s rich two-decade entrepreneurial journey in India highlights the often-underestimated building blocks for entrepreneurial success: effective communication, soft skills, and networking. He emphasizes that while founders might excel in creating innovative solutions, their ability to convey value to the intended audience and build meaningful connections is critical for success. Aman also shares practical insights into addressing these challenges, such as building a supportive community, engaging in networking events, and effectively leveraging modern communication tools.

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Ryan: Welcome everyone to the AiFounders podcast show. Our podcast is dedicated to celebrating the remarkable accomplishments of AI innovators, entrepreneurs, and visionary founders and the captivating stories behind the movements they have built. I’m your host, Ryan Davies, and I have the honor of hosting today’s redefining education, the Generative AI Revolution, with our special guest, Sandesh Shetty. Thank you for joining us today, Sandesh.

Sandesh: Yeah. Thanks, Ryan. Thanks for inviting me to this podcast. I am happy to share my experiences in this space.

Ryan: This is going to be great. Education is one of the areas that is so important in AI. We saw it growing up in my days, with people going and copying things and being able to do research instead of reading library books. Now, we’re in a whole new world here with AI. For our guests, here’s a bit about Sandesh. He is the co-founder of ExpIico Limited. It is an education starter specializing in AI-based assessment and learning platforms. He has 20 years of experience and successfully led the company to a pre-series stage with a valuation of 10 million. Amazing job there. Sandesh is actively involved in the mission to disrupt online learning stereotypes. Currently, he’s working on his next venture in stealth mode. So we will bypass that one. I won’t bug him too much about that, but there’s another podcast already waiting to happen as you get further into that one. But for this one, we really want to focus on AI education and how generative AI is changing the landscape there. So, to kick things off, share with Explico how you’re able to incorporate generative AI into assessment and learning platforms and what inspired that movement.

From Online Learning Challenges to AI-Enhanced Assessments

Sandesh: I only started a short time ago when I first started my professional career back in 2001. That’s when I got my first experience working with a startup in education. One of the products was online learning through chat light. That intrigued me a lot, but it was a major failure because the market was not ready, and online learning was taboo. But as a technology, it was exciting. That was my firsthand experience, and then I went on to work with universities, schools, and education companies. When I moved to Singapore, I met my co-founder, and he was building something in the examination system space. We thought there was a lot online that students could learn, but the major challenge was, do the students or the teachers know what exactly they want to learn? That’s when we thought assessment could be a major factor in helping students identify strengths and weaknesses. We started going into the market and then explored how we could integrate artificial intelligence. Initially, it started as rule-based due to a need for more data. Once we had more data, AI implications started, capturing and bringing into the system where we could identify strengths and weaknesses. It was an exciting journey, but schools and institutions still differ in adopting technology. It takes effort to educate them, and we need to give teachers space to adopt new initiatives and technologies.

Ryan: You touched on how the current landscape is, and we’re just scratching the surface of what can be done with AI. In what ways do you think generative AI is going to revolutionize the learning experience?

Sandesh: No doubt, there are many opportunities in the education landscape. However, we need a longer-term vision and take our time with technology. A lot of people start using it, get bored, and move on. We saw a huge amount of use of chat GPT when it launched, but there needs to be more consistency in user adoption now. Speaking for education, technology like generative AI is amazing for content creation, addressing the challenge of adapting local content in different countries. Grading of students is a valuable tool for teachers, especially those with limited access to training resources. Classrooms are still essential, and adopting technology will help, but everything is going to be the same. Learning should not be restricted to a particular region, and content needs to be decentralized for a global learning ecosystem.

Integration of AI in Educational Platforms

Ryan: That’s a great point. Institutions need to be ready to take on a proactive role in responding to student needs, and trust is a big factor in AI, especially in education. How have you addressed concerns relating to trust and transparency in AI and learning environments?

Sandesh: There’s concern about data exchange and exposure, and we need to accept that more information requires opening up data. Schools fear data exposure during data analytics, comparing one school to another. The challenge is significant, and education is needed for schools to understand data collection and exposure. We speak for 10-15% of the learning population, but around 80% of students in remote regions need help with access to data or laptops for learning. The entire population still needs to be in the online space, so the ecosystem plays a crucial role in reaching larger markets and providing access to global learning. Community-based learning and the exchange of content are vital for building a global learning ecosystem.

Ryan: It’s a great point. There’s a gap in access and technologies, and the learning curve to adapt is higher in some places. The widespread adoption of AI and technology in education faces challenges. Have you seen any developments, whether governments, private equity, or public servants getting involved to support this revolution?

Changing Landscape of AI Policies

Sandesh: A lot has changed. Many governments have started implementing their AI policies, especially generative AI policies, recognizing it as the next big revolution. It’s essential to understand that it’s not a replacement or a burden; it will ease many things and provide access to students. The cost factor comes into play, but a long-term vision policy from the government could make a significant change. Some countries, like Singapore, have already implemented such policies. However, adoption in education could be faster. Despite the push during COVID, many schools remain defensive, unlike the corporate sector, which has readily embraced remote working for higher productivity. The adoption of technology in education is still different.

Ryan: That’s a huge point. Have you seen any success stories or positive outcomes resulting from integrating AI into educational platforms, even on a smaller scale? Anything you can share?

Sandesh: I’ve seen many tech products using generative AI, primarily in content creation, addressing a significant challenge. Another area gaining prominence is analytics and assessment, where generative AI plays a crucial role. Gamification models, such as the one I’m working with, are emerging, offering a fantastic experience. A lot is happening in the education space, and in the next few months, we’ll see more products with exciting features.

Ryan: Considering your extensive experience, where do you see the future of generative AI and AI in education heading? If you were to advise institutions and educators preparing for this shift, what would be your guidance?

Sandesh: When speaking to universities, I suggest viewing this not as a product but as a policy for the next ten years. Technology is changing rapidly, and having a long-term vision for adopting generative AI is crucial. It offers benefits and can be a part of the learning ecosystem. Stakeholders should plan for the long term and involve all university teachers in strategizing how to use generative AI. An example from MIT shows how flipping classes and using recorded sessions for pre-class engagement can enhance the learning experience. Universities should focus on collaborative and peer-to-peer learning, utilizing generative AI for online learning and making classrooms more efficient.

AI Adoption Dynamics

Ryan: And do you find it’s a top-down right now with AI adoption? Is it, again, like private universities and such picking up first and then filtering down to secondary and primary schools, or are certain areas picking it up, with innovators and laggards scattered across the industry?

Sandesh: I think you’re right. There needs to be a set approach. Some schools and private universities are early adopters, leading to technology adoption. However, the majority prefer to wait, observe results, and then consider technology adoption. This creates a challenge as many speak about Generative AI without understanding

the technology. They prefer to see results from early adopters before considering its use. Some schools and universities are strong in using technology and readily test it, while others are starting to invest time in generative AI programs. In the startup ecosystem, many universities have their innovation hubs focusing on generative AI products. Universities are leading in terms of technology adoption.

Ryan: That wraps it up, touching on redefining education and the generative AI revolution. Before we sign off, I’d like to let our listeners know how they can connect with you, especially if they have questions about entering this space or seeking your expertise in AI and education. If you’d like, you can touch on your new venture or anything else you’d like to share.

Sandesh: I’m keeping my new venture under wraps for now; there’s a lot of work going on in the background. It involves some technology but primarily focuses on the social learning aspect. I’m also actively involved with other startups, assisting them in product development and market growth. I’ve seen some fantastic products utilizing generative AI effectively. You can connect with me on LinkedIn, where I share my profile, or through my email. I’m open to discussions on this topic and would be happy to connect.

Ryan: Thank you so much. Our listeners will likely take you up on that offer. Your expertise in this space is valuable, especially in education, which is foundational for training the next generation. It’s an area that needs wider

adoption, and your insights can guide people in bringing it to the forefront. Thank you for joining us on this enlightening journey through AI innovation.

For our listeners, we hope you’ve been inspired by the incredible stories shared today. The future is shaped by pioneers like our guest, Sandesh Shetty, and the limitless possibilities of AI. Thank you again, Sandesh, and to our listeners, stay curious, stay innovative, and keep exploring the boundless horizons of tech. A small request to our dedicated listeners: if you enjoyed our podcast, please leave a review, subscribe, and share it with others. Your support helps us bring more amazing content and guests like Sandesh. Until next time, this is Ryan Davies signing off. Take care!

About Our Host and Guest

Director of Marketing – Ekwa.Tech & Ekwa Marketing
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“It’s very obvious for a founder to think that if they can strike the right code, they can demonstrate the effectiveness of their solution to these giants, it would be an easy kill to come inside.”

– Aman Bandvi –