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Saurabh AroraHow and why Airwoot came into existence? Published On: Monday, March 09, 2015 Views 2089

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A doctoral program dropout, founder of Airwoot & a Delhi-ite; Saurabh Arora is the newest rage in the business & social media world who is swaying everybody off their feet with his extra-ordinary customer experience idea!

He has completed his B-Tech in IT and M.S in Security & Mobile Computing from Maharshi Dayanand University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology & Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, respectively!

Personally, although he prefers to lay low and hasn’t shared much about himself but going by what we have figured, Saurab’s iterests lie in Natural Language Processing, Design thinking, Usability, Machine learning, Social Media Intelligence, Data Mining, Data Viz and Platform Engineering, etc.

Other than that, his latest prodigy – Airwoot; is an intelligent platform which helps you in finding the actual reaction of your customers or rather their experience via social media platforms like facebook, twitter, etc. It uses natural language processing and machine learning and help brands reduce their response time by automatically identifying the customers who need engagement, uncovering the business insights behind conversations, and a lot more!

Early Life

Before entering into the world of entrepreneurship; Saurabh has completed his share of hardwork! His portfolio includes a work experience of multiple genres in multiple countries, which began in the year 2006.

In january 2006; saurabh started-off as a Research Intern at ‘Politecnico di Torino’ in Italy and continued there for almost seven months. While at it; his primary responsibilities were to handle – Policy based framework for security tools, ISMB Research lab, creating a key management infrastructure to build the enablement of the trusted components and PKI needed in trusted computing platforms.

After seven months of learning, he again got a shot as a Research Assistant at the Macquarie University in Australia in February 2007. Here he was handed the job of handling the trusted remote attestation project along with the INSS Research lab; to add to that, he also acted as an advisor to Prof. Vijay Varadharajan.

During this journey of his; he for the first time got a chance to work on expressible and interesting properties in the given genres and at the same time he also developed a property based trusted remote attestation framework; which was a huge achievement for him!

Other than that, with his unique intelligence he was also able to notice the faults in the features of the then standards provided by trusted computing group and proposed a new property based remote attestation framework.

After seven months of rigorous hard work and intake of knowledge; in October 2007, he got an opportunity to have more control over things. Although; he still acted as the Research Assistant but for the next for the next roughly 2 years, he moved to several countries like Sweden, Singapore or Denmark and successfully showed his talent. While at it; he worked for institutions like Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Institute for Infocomm Research and Technical University of Denmark!

Now during his course of two years; he worked on various projects and gained knowledge which was literally incomparable. Some of the projects included: Analysis and Verification of Access Control policies, SPOT labs, Network protocol obfuscation, Cryptography group, Thesis on “Towards a framework for privacy compliance” and also acted as an advisor to several dignitories such as Babak Sadighi, Kostas G. Anagnostakis, etc!

To add to all that; his workings also included: finding ways to automatically reverse engineer “closed” network protocols, development of techniques to probe suspect network ports for obfuscated and encryption-based protocols, for Skype, BitTorrent and eMule, whereas his thesis aimed at improving the overall state of privacy compliance in technology-enabled markets by proposing a protection framework.

Basically in layman terms; a lot of technical intake happened in the last two years!

Now while Saurabh was doing all that; he took a very bold step and added couple of more tasks to his present kitty! Firstly, he entered the Hasso-Plattner-Institute in Germany as a Doctoral Researcher to pursue his Ph.D in February 2010. His primary topics included Internet Technology and systems group, wherein he covered multiple projects such as SecDMO: Secure data Management and Outsourcing Architecture, BSIMetrik: assiged by BSI for the Measurement framework to assess security compliance of service-oriented architectures, etc. and was also the advisor to Prof. Christoph Meinel!

And secondly; he Co-Founded Filter.ly in November 2010! Filter.ly was a platform that provided a stage to filter over the information overload in a user’s social networks. The company had developed an engine which created a personalized graph of each user that was connected with the service, to deliver a variety of personalized web experiences i.e shopping, news, advertising etc!

In simple terms, the engine removed the clutter or the useless information on your favorite sites and helps you go to the one or two articles that you care to read, or for that matter, filtered the spams you keep getting on your social network from unknown people, with links to silly trivia and relationship quizzes!

Now for the next one year; he continued with his doctoral program and product development of Filter.ly! But somewhere around early 2011, he took everyone by shock when he dropped out of his Doctoral Program & wrapped up Filter.ly due to unresolved & unknown problems.

But later, after a few ‘underground’ months, Saurabh founded the venture which changed his life – Airwoot!

What is Airwoot?

Headquartered in New Delhi; Airwoot – is a platform which intelligently uses natural language processing and machine learning to automatically identify the customers which require engagement, thus reducing the response time of the brands, uncovering business insights behind conversations, understanding customers mindset and increasing customer satisfaction. Basically, Airwoot is a program which provides any given brand, the customer’s experience along with a detailed report of the satisfied and dissatisfied customers!

Founded in January 2012; Airwoot is a prodigy of three Co-Founders; Saurabh Arora, Prabhat Saraswat & Achal Aggarwal; and has received one undisclosed round of funding in August 2013, from KAE Capital and prominent angel investors like Rajan Anandan, Sunil Kalra and Samir Sood!

With an employee strength of 10 members; presently, the firm has is estimated with an annual revenue of $10 Million  and has an approval rating of 50%.

At Airwoot – Saurabh & Team covering Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus; solve multi-disciplinary challenges in artificial intelligence, business intelligence, large scale data analysis and user experience. They do so by listening to millions of social media conversations and apply learning algorithms to separate the clutter from the actionable conversations in real-time!

In rather simpler terms; the brands who face a tough time listening to what users are talking about them on social media; Airwoot helps them by providing the necessary support so that it can prioritize and take the necessary action in real time.

Other than that, Airwoot also does a lot of analytics on the performance side wherein, companies can view how their team is performing and set social goals on Airwoot.

So how did Airwoot begin?

Their story dates back to 2008! Saurabh Arora and Prabhat Saraswat – the two handsome youngsters, were pursuing their masters and PhD. at Technical University of Denmark. One fine day, they met & became friends and figured that they had many common interests like art, music and far more importantly – the power of ideas!

Eventually, the course ended and Prabhat continued his doctorate in Denmark itself, while Saurabh moved to Berlin, Germany to pursue his doctorate in cloud computing architectures, at Hasso-Plattner Institute. Although, they were on & off in touch but nothing big was seen to be happening, untill all of a sudden, both of them dropped out of their PhD’s and returned to India.

During that phase, fate happened to bump them again into each other, while they were attending a few hackathons from November 2011 to February 2012.

That is when both sat down to brain storm together which eventually led to the creation of – MemeticLabs!

At MemeticLabs, Saurabh & Prabhat together implemented a couple of ideas, such as:

  • An android app which can listen to any live music and generate guitar tablatures
  • A social reading app which finds out who is reading what by listening to public twitter feeds

They started playing around with algorithms for a while: mining consumer buying intentions from Twitter, to predicting the next money spent, and a lot more! While they were at it, they realized that the ratio of consumers complaining about the product was far more than accepting and endorsing it.

That’s when they shifted their focus to figure out how companies or brands were responding to such complaints and noticed that the active international brands on Twitter were literally not able to handle the social engagement correctly, primarly because there was no optimized solution for brands to cater to such situations.

And then the idea hit them!

This gave birth to “Barometer”

The duo belived that, the behavior, mindset & approach of the consumer was drastically shifting towards social media, as it becomes more and more popular in terms of reactions and interactions with the brands.

Barometer was the first prodigy of MemeticLabs, which was a realtime infographic platform formed by a tie-up between Mumbai-based design agency NthLoop, to highlight the performance of some of India’s most prominent brands on twitter by listening to conversations between users and brands as they happen and visualizes them in realtime.

Initially, they started tracking 35 most active international brands on Twitter where their infographic was created on the sentiments & the analytics engine of Memetic Labs and, the visual was designed by Nth Loop with the help of handcrafted illustrations & data-intensive javascript libraries.

The Barometer that they released listened to the conversations between brands and their customers on twitter and analyzed the brand’s key social performance indicators and gave deep insights on how they performed on twitter. These results were self explanatory and comprehensive!

Some of the key social performance indicators it analyzed the brands on were:

  • Buzz – An indicator which analyzed the number of people who have been influenced by the sentiments about a brand in the past day; positively or negatively.
  • Average time to get a response – This analyzed the average time taken by the brand to respond to a user’s concern.
  • Requests & responses this week (mention & replies) – This indicator analyzed the behavior of the users tweeting to, or about the brand and the behavior of the brand’s responses over the last 7 days.
  • Tweets to solve a problem (conversation length) – Here, it analyzed the average number of tweets the customer sent to get their query resolved and the average length of these conversations.
  • Immediate Resolution – This indicator analyzed the occurences of an immediate resolution to a customer’s inquiry or problem.
  • Live sentiment Index – This evaluated the real-time visualization of the tweets about and to the brand in the last 24 hours.

Now that things seemed to be progressing smoothly, there was another thing which constantly caught their worry – Money!

Surviving on a shoestring budget, it was getting difficult for them to run the show. Hence, they decided to get-in external funding and took the accelerator way! Within no time, they got shelter at ‘The Morpheus’ – a Chandigarh based accelerator which was in it’s 9th batch and had more than 70 companies in their portfolio.

The accelerator chipped in INR 5 lakhs which gave them more time to develop the product and undergo the beta test.

As soon as, they finished their accelerator program with The Morpheus, Airwoot got an undisclosed funding from KAE Capital and prominent angel investors like Rajan Anandan (Managing Director, Google India), Sunil Kalra, etc!

Today; Airwoot – that operates on a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Model, has brands signing up and paying on a monthly basis for using their product, starting at $399 (approx Rs 24,000) and upwards which depends on the volume of the social media traffic and size of the social media team.

Some of these brands include the most prestigous companies of the Indian Corporate world such as Jabong.com, MakeMyTrip, Snapdeal, Jet Airways, Zovi, PayTM, etc. and many more like such!

The biggest challenge that the company has faced and continues to face so far is the fact that; there is still a huge lack of understanding of social media amongst the marketers. It may not be difficult for one to find brand managers who think of themselves as a so-called “marketing guru”, but what they are actually not clear about is what they want to achieve on these social mediums.

But overcoming all the odds; Airwoot is presently considered to be one of the most trusted, reliable, accurate & one of the most leading companies in the industry in understanding the consumer experience and bridging the gap between the brand and the consumer!

Author:

YoChef puts the spotlight on emerging businesses and reputed personalities to help young entrepreneurs learn from their experiences. Watch out for posts published under YoChef to discover entrepreneurial journeys and life lessons.

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