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Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder and CEO, Engineer.ai

“Engineer.ai empowers anyone to create, operate and scale the lifecycle of digital projects”

Building a software application has become a child’s play now. Engineer.ai is one such platform, based on artificial intelligence, which allows people to build software without knowing how to code. The company’s core product, Builder, has hundreds of building blocks of frequently used code which can be cross utilised by different customers. Since the cost of the program is split across a large number of customers, it becomes possible to offer it at a more reasonable price point. Ramesh Kumar Raja caught up with Sachin Dev Duggal, Founder and CEO, Engineer.ai, to discuss more about the company, its services and the business model. Excerpts:

Engineer.ai has brought a sort of revolution with Builder, a software/app building platform. How did the idea strike you to come up with this venture?

The idea of Engineer. ai took shape in early 2012 after I was burned by a rogue contractor. Frustrated and hearing my friends’ accounts of the same kinds of problems happening globally, I went to work to create a solution to this problem.

There is no regulation or credibility in this sphere. People with ideas just get overwhelmed by the whole prospect of developing a product. Hence, an overwhelming majority or services never see the light of the day. To top it off, timely deliveries, flawless product, fair pricing and safeguarding the idea are significant hurdles in this unorganized market. So, by deliberating on the issues faced by startups and enterprise, the idea of Engineer.ai was launched swiftly after.

Who are your competitors and how is Engineer.ai’s Builder different from others engaged in the software/ app-building business?

Competitors in our space include software development firms and online platforms developing software. However, we’re the leader in the space as a human-assisted AI software development platform. More specifically, below are the pointers which help us differentiate from others.

Starting a business has its own set of challenges in getting a product noticed. What were the pain points in dealing with the people to make them understand the whole concept of app building?

Generally, customers don’t understand the value or the pricing involved with creating their own software. They have a deep understanding of their business, but not the labour that’s involved with creating, launching and scaling an application. That’s where we can come in and help through the process through our three products from Builder to BuilderCare to CloudOps.

Who are your target customers/ subscribers and what have been their responses?

We cater to the new generation of entrepreneurs. The dreamer. The founder. The non-profit. The celebrity. The brand manager. The small business owner. And everyone in between. We solve their following core problems:

We can proudly say 90% of our products are delivered within their timeline and under budget. Additionally, we continually hear reviews from customers who’ve been, “wowed” in every aspect of their products’ creation.

What is your revenue model and what are the services you offer?

Engineer.ai empowers anyone to create, operate and scale the lifecycle of digital projects. We do so with three products:

Builder: Build your next software project using an assembly-line platform implemented with the assistance of AI and 75,000+ technical resources globally. Here, our revenue model is focused around software development.

BuilderCare: BuilderCare guarantees your bespoke software stays up-to-date, and continues after third-party libraries such as Facebook APIs are updated.

CloudOps: Leverage AI and machine learning to effortlessly maintain the scale of your cloud infrastructure. Here, our revenue model is focused around cloud storage and management.

“Generally, customers don’t understand the value or the pricing involved with creating their own software. They have a deep understanding of their business, but not the labour that’s involved with creating, launching and scaling an application. That’s where we can come in and help through the process through our three products from Builder to BuilderCare to CloudOps”

Please share your recent traction details with us.

Recently, we’ve developed partnerships across the globe. We have partnered with Digital Ocean and Talentful recently, for example. The next several weeks alone, at Collision 2019, Cogx 2019 and NOAH Berlin, I’ll present Engineer.ai at all these events. At Collision 2019, Engineer.ai is the main PITCH competition sponsor, including a grand prize of a $30,000 CAD app to the winner and two runner up prizes as well towards app development. Hence, I will be globetrotting as usual. In the meantime, our 75,000 Creators and 132 Capacity Partners will remain busy developing software.

What is the size of app market in India and where does Builder fit in driving businesses?

Indian app market is growing at the fastest pace; the previous year’s reports suggest that the market is growing at 207%. In 2015-2016 the app based services contributed around $20bn to the GDP and going forward the share will only increase to 16% of GDP which is at 5.7% at this time. Builder can offer a complete suite of services from building, hosting and managing software for small to enterprise level organizations in the process of digital transformation.

You have already forayed into some international markets? Do you wish to make it even more global? What are your plans to extend Engineer.ai’s reach?

Yes, we do have a global presence from the USA to the UK, India to Dubai to Singapore to Tokyo and beyond, as well as partnerships with global organizations.

Where do you see the company in next five years? What excites you the most about your role at Engineer.ai?

At Engineer.ai, we’re looking to become the prime place where businesses can come to create, launch and scale their ideas. From start to sale, we’d like to provide opportunities to every prospective builder and an ecosystem to make development a more robust, transparent process alongside the help of AI.

In terms of what excites me the most, I love to maintain a pulse on what’s happening in the world of technology and artificial intelligence. Also, connecting with world leaders and cultural icons globally (like Miguel) — while also promoting entrepreneurship and startup growth — and having enough time at the end of the day to hang out with my son. Those moments make all this success worth it at the end of the day.