Last month, I signed up to join the Drishti team as its first Director of Engineering. After more than three decades as a software engineer with major, established communications companies like Motorola and Cisco, many of my friends and colleagues thought I was crazy to look at a manufacturing optimization startup they’d never heard of.
I had the same reaction until I looked at Drishti’s website. I had been invited by the hiring manager to consider an open position. I get this type of solicitation every day, and make it a point to do at least cursory research into the company before I politely decline. I expected my Drishti research to yield the same result, but when I took a closer look at Drishti.com, I realized this company would be the perfect new home for me. Here are four reasons why:
1. There’s a serious market opportunity for Drishti.
The company’s vision is to digitize the human component of the manufacturing process. Very few companies have attempted to do this, and for good reason: It’s really freaking hard.
Until I saw Drishti’s technology, I would have said it’s impossible.
Drishti has found a way to provide manufacturers with new visibility into their human processes, which helps them make better decisions. Drishti’s solution is the perfect intersection of software and manufacturing. It’s a crossover that has been ignored for decades, making the industry ripe for disruption.
And disruptors like us have a lot of market potential because once proven, we can change the entire system. In manufacturing, that translates to a multi-billion dollar market.
2. Drishti is already creating value for its customers.
Now that I’m officially with Drishti, I can see the use cases that haven’t been made public yet. And it’s clear that the technology, even in its early state, is creating tangible value. Drishti is providing manufacturers with massive datasets that help them make better business decisions.
Remember how the 2010s were all about big data? The 2020s are all about NEW data, and Drishti’s helping manufacturers get enormous amounts of data on tasks humans perform – an altogether new source of data. Drishti is also providing continuous manufacturing process monitoring in near real time, which allows manufacturers to target spot-training and identify areas that need further attention. Another key use case for Drishti technology is helping manufacturers diagnose and trace defects, so processes can be improved quickly – the essence of learning.
Drishti is still a small company, but its offices host a constant stream of executives representing very large manufacturers. Now that I’m part of the team, I understand why.
3. The native AI tech stack is very daunting – and very exciting.
Drishti is a native AI company. While most companies are duct taping machine learning tools on top of their existing stack, Drishti is building the entire stack from top to bottom.
Each element of the stack that Drishti is building could be a standalone company in its own right. When you imagine the pipeline – from the streaming cameras to the AI engine to the data layer to the applications – you should really be imagining SAP built on top of YouTube built on top of Nest, all integrated into a giant, multi-functional product that’s different than anything else you’ve seen in the market.
Think of it this way:
- Real-time video capture and streaming from the manufacturing floor (e.g., Nest)
- Real-time video analysis to generate manufacturing metadata using AI and deep learning (Drishti IP)
- Data/video search and store using the metadata for manufacturing vocabulary (e.g., YouTube)
- Querying the metadata for manufacturing operations by an industrial engineer and integrating it with manufacturing workflows (e.g., SAP) so users can optimize their operations (Drishti value proposition)
4. Drishti’s people, vision and location set it apart.
Perhaps best of all, I don’t have to leave my home town to be part of the bigger picture. Drishti’s Chief Technology Officer is driving the technology from here in Bangalore. Unlike many large company CTOs, Drishti Co-founder and CTO Dr. Krishnendu Chaudhury knows the use case as well as the ins and outs of the software. Having access to and quality time with him on a daily basis was a big factor in my decision to join the Drishti team, and is a big part of what keeps me excited to come to work every day.
Similarly, I know the Palo Alto team benefits from its proximity to the Silicon Valley investor and innovation ecosystem, and the accessibility to global customers. (There’s a reason every major manufacturer seems to be opening an office in Silicon Valley.)
Looking back in time, I’ve had opportunities to work with established innovators, pushing technology that was already approaching mainstream; first, at Qualcomm, when CDMA was about to become the wireless standard, and then around the ubiquitous proliferation of WiFi starting in 2004. After the networking industry, which matured about 15 years ago, Drishti gives me an opportunity to define the innovation curve with some of the world’s most exciting emerging technology. It’s a company with a long runway in an industry that is in its digital transformation infancy.
The reality is, you can work for a big name brand in Bangalore and have the satisfaction and security that comes with it. If that’s your choice, by all means, go for it. Find a gig at Google or Flipkart. But what you find is the challenge.
If you really want to push your career to new heights, and find daily satisfaction in driving real world change, and – if we’re lucky – build a massive company, consider a startup with innovators like Drishti. I think you’ll quickly come to the same decision I did.
Hopefully, I’ll see you soon.
Drishti is driving disruption in manufacturing with a core software team based in Bangalore.