Please state your name and a little about your current status.
My name is Andrey Korkhov, I`m the CEO of Sarafan Technology Inc. We’ve developed an Artificial Intelligence engine called Sarafan.AI which can identify products on photos and videos. Once recognized, our system seeks out equivalents in online stores and are presented in the form of a widget. Through this widget, users can automatically transfer to online stores and potentially continue shopping. Integrating our widget is extremely easy as most of the work is done automatically by Artificial Intelligence.
How did you start your company/business as a startup?
At first, we developed a special mobile application. According to our idea, a person who saves an interesting image for himself in a magazine or on the street had to just take a photo and upload it to the application.
The system analyzed the image for a couple of seconds and gave out in which stores you can buy similar items of the wardrobe. The idea worked almost immediately, but as a result, there was no long-term effect – the application was used just once because users soon forgot about it.
We decided to simplify the search process as much as possible, to reduce it to a chain: “see and buy”. Once recognized, our system seeks out equivalents in online stores and are presented in the form of a widget. Through this widget, users can automatically transfer to online stores and potentially continue shopping. Integrating our widget is extremely easy as most of the work is done automatically by Artificial Intelligence. As of today, our main client base is online platforms. We’re currently working with 122 media partners which include some big industry names, such as Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Good Housekeeping in Russia, as well as FIV and Myself.de in Germany, Elle in Slovenia and Romania.
What struggle did you go through to reach your current status now?
As great as it is, but the problem arises with brand safety. In order to protect our advertiser’s name, one of our key priorities was to make sure the artificial intelligence doesn’t associate it with negative images (for example those associated with death or violence).
How did you manage to cope up with those struggles?
Textual recognition is by far the hardest aspect of developing an AI machine, as there are different languages and even within a particular language there are ambiguities. For example, you’ll intuitively differentiate the word like (as something likable) and like (used to describe an example)- the AI won’t.
That’s why we hire special assessors who in cases of linguistic or contextual ambiguity can mechanically remove widgets from questionable content. The advertising partner can also equip us with “stop words” which we will later integrate when connecting his product to our image recognition.
Who inspired you to move forward and influenced you in all your achievements now?
Our mentors always inspire us. They give valuable feedback and provide the expertise that really moves us forward.
What piece of advice will you share with those who would like to follow your footsteps?
1. Choose the right partner
Choosing a business-partner, try to put into the “core” of the team all the skills necessary for your start-up. Each of the partners should have some kind of experience and talent, which are vital for the development of your specific business project.
2. The perfect startup has to have three components
The first component is a leader who inspires the team, the second is a doer who does all the technical work and the third is a manager who can promote the technology.
3. Form and train your own team
After the partners found and the idea is formulated, the search for the team begins. As a rule, at the time of starting a business, there is not enough money or resources to attract experienced and highly paid employees. However, this state of affairs can be a plus for your startup. Being young and ambitious people to work without a lot of experience, who are ready to work for new skills and practices. Recent graduates are able to quickly learn new ways and find creative solutions to current business problems.
4. Take on something really new
Make sure that your project offers a truly innovative and not previously proposed solution to the problem. This will ensure its competitiveness in the market and make it as attractive as possible for investors investing in start-ups. You must be able to answer the question: how does your approach differ from all others, what is its uniqueness?
How can people follow your journey? Please list your social media URLs
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