Get to know ACE startup founders & find out what drives them!
The ACE-List: We are proud and excited to introduce our awesome startup founders. The ACE-List is a regular installment where startup teams from the ACE Incubation Program introduce themselves and share a little insight into their startup journey!
Meet the founders
Name: Athul Muralidhar
Title + field (MSc/PhD or other): Founder, Msc – Physics
Industry: Big Data, AI and Cyber Security
Founded in: January 2019, Amsterdam
Humans versus algorithms. In the ever-increasing age of Big Data, biological entities have increasing interactions with digital ones. The seemingly exponential increase in data generation is used as feeder material into machine learning algorithms, making them surprisingly better at mimicking human behaviour. Where is the control? Who are the big players? How does this affect us as individuals?
Antai is a human initiative to correct, predict and control data generation. Antai tracks the various data transactions between digital components used in everyday life with their server counter parts, giving us insights about where and how our data is being stored, processed or used.
Tell us more!
How did you come up with your startup idea?
After being introduced to Machine learning at the UvA, it got me to thinking, “if there is the inevitability of a digital consciousness, how can we make those interactions symbiotic? How can we prevent a runaway dystopian terminator-like scenario? How can we as human-beings prune the very algorithms we made?”
Data was the key. Data controls the efficiency of Machine Learning. I distinctly remember this flash of insight when I was taking a hot shower at my house in Diemen.
What is your company’s unique proposition?
Make people aware of their data generation and teach them individually how their data can be (mis)used and at the end of the day, supply them with a personalized tool-kit to control just that.
What has been your ACE moment?
The moment when I was validating my market assumptions i.e. going out on the road and asking people about the problem I am solving. The fact that everyone I talk to (in the NL) acknowledges the problem I am trying to solve. To be honest, it keeps me motivated enough to put my heart and soul into the project!
What has the shift from academia to entrepreneurship been like for you?
Nothing has changed in essence. I am glad that I made the shift because, as a scientist, my thinking has always been focused on solving problems and the entrepreneur’s essential quality is just that (I believe). Entrepreneurs are more focused on what is troubling the people here and now and propose solutions to it, unlike scientists who are concerned about what happened before the big bang or what’s the fate of our universe (in my case, I did my thesis in Cosmology). I like that.
What is the best advice you could give someone who wants to start their own business?
Do you see a problem and have a solution that you believe works? Are you passionate enough to put everything on the line for your solution? If you answered in the affirmative to the questions, congratulations, you are now an entrepreneur (according to me).
Forget about the outcome of your journey, you’ll be glad that you took it anyway.
What are your next steps for the coming months/half year?
Develop a proof-of-concept. Make it available online and thereby start growing an online presence. Make a lot of noise and secure seed investments. Have a beta phase product by 6 months, gradually grow and improve the product for the coming year. Have a gold release product in about one and a half years.Back to overview