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Sep 18, 2023
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Stay focused, adapt as needed, seek guidance, and stay passionate. In the data and AI startup world, resilience and unwavering belief in your vision are your greatest assets

-Aisik Paul, Co-Founder and CTO, Data Sutram

 

Aisik Paul, Co-Founder and CTO, Data Sutram

shares his startup journey from idea and execution to overcoming challenges, in an interview with the 100X.VC team

 

Q1. How did the idea of Data Sutram come about?

When I was in the third year of college, Rajit, Ankit and I started dabbling into the world of Data & AI. We had the good fortune of working for some of the toughest business challenges businesses were reeling with, across the retail and FMCG sphere.

While we were working with the data science teams of these companies exploring the potential of external data in the ecosystem, two ideas became very apparent. One, most of the problems that these companies were trying to solve needed access to good quality data that lies outside of their organization, second, businesses were looking for answers and insights from their data science functions not models & data.

We understood that there was a gap in the market for someone to fill.

Q2. What prompted you to start working on Data Sutram and execute this idea?

We started working on Data Sutram out of our own necessity, as data scientists we wanted to solve our pain of having to spend a huge chunk of our time sourcing, cleaning, and structuring data before solving any business problem. Slowly realizing that more people could benefit through access to our technology.

Q3. When did you realise the need to raise Venture Capital - Seed funding?

A few months into business we quickly realized the scale of the problem was too big for just us to cover, we needed external help - investors, advisors, mentors, capital to be able to successfully execute on our dream. Venture Capital became our only hope.

Q4. How has 100X helped you at the beginning of your journey?

When you try to make it big or do something exceptional in this world, people often tell you that the journey will be rather lonely. By sheer luck or god’s grace, you find mentors who believe in you and join your journey. 

Since 100X, we have found mentors who have molded us into the entrepreneurs that we are today.

Q5. Has your startup pivoted? If so, what has the pivot been?

Initially, when we started Data Sutram, we positioned it as a Location Intelligence company that uses alternative data sources to create actionable insights for retail. In our journey, we have realized that data holds a lot more potential and have expanded our use cases into the BFSI industry to play a small part in this push towards digitization and financial inclusion.

Q6. What challenges did you face & how did you overcome them?

As an entrepreneur, I’ve realized that we face new challenges every day. From challenges like finding the right talent who believe in our vision to challenges like making the world understand the true potential of data-driven decisions, we have seen it all.

Everyone's journey is unique, the challenges they overcome define their character. I think it’s important to take it one step at a time, it’s natural to lose your way sometimes but never lose faith. In the end, it’s a rollercoaster ride, you need to enjoy the ups and the downs!

Q7. What stage is Data Sutram at present?

We have raised a couple of million dollars in funding, across three rounds. We have three products live in the market - DS Find, DS Authenticate & DS Grow; that are being used across 40+ BFSI, Retail & CPG Enterprises on a daily basis. We process over 5 million API calls across our products every month.

Q8. As founders, what are your goals for the next 1-2 years?

As founders, our primary goal is always to strive to serve our customers better. We are relentlessly working on creating new Data products that solve fundamental problems that plague Indian Enterprises on a daily basis. We want to see them scale and touch as many lives as possible.

Q9. What keeps you motivated & keeps you going?

As college students, Ankit, Rajit, and I took a chance four years ago by skipping college placements and decided to give Data Sutram a chance. We had very little to lose, that decision was probably motivated by boyishness. But today I am motivated by a greater purpose and a sense of responsibility towards the 60+ people I work with every day and the scores more that have supported us and have put their faith in us.

Q10. Your message for Startup founders building in the same sector?

Stay focused, adapt as needed, seek guidance, and stay passionate. In the data and AI startup world, resilience and unwavering belief in your vision are your greatest assets.

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