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BW Businessworld

Automation Will Not Take Away Jobs, It Will Create Jobs: Ali Asgar Kagzi, Co-Founder, Genext Students

"Automation is extremely important for scaling up. People think that automation and technology are merely for creating content, but it is more than that", said Ali Asgar Kagzi, Co-founder, Genext Students

Photo Credit : Himanshu Kumar


On 10th January 2018, ICFAI and BW Businessworld organized the Young Entrepreneurship Summit and Awards 2018, which was attended by businessmen and young entrepreneurs across the country. During the summit, there was a session on “Why is entrepreneurship more important in the age of Automation”, which was moderated by Hoshie Ghaswalla, CEO of BW Engage.

“Entrepreneurship is known to be successful when you deliver new things, but also when new ways are found to deliver things”, said Ghaswalla. Ali Asgar Kagzi, Co-founder, Genext Students, said, “Genext Students is an ed-tech platform, but more of an ecosystem, where we help parents and students find the right tutor for their education needs. On the supply side, we have teachers, we train them, empower them with all the content, technology, and administrative tools. We are solving the problem of shortage of skilled teachers in the country. We are also helping parents find substitutions for educating their children, if they might not have the time.” Kazi also added, “We are in the space of education where we are helping parents and students connect with teachers. Automation is extremely important for scaling up. People think that automation and technology are merely for creating content, but it is more than that. We connect the right tutors to the parents and we use a lot of data to profile tutors, track behavioural aspects and hence technology becomes extremely integral. Had technology not been there, the process of scaling up becomes difficult and time-consuming without technology”. He also went on to add, “We have automated our entire tutor orientation process, which was previously done manually. Automation will not take away jobs, it will create jobs.”

Pankaj Vermani, Founder & CEO, Clovia, said, “We are a lingerie company. We have managed to do so far, is that we managed to disrupt the industry with our technology. Technology has been a major helper. India has a complex ecosystem, and the sizes vary across the region. Coming to automation, we tried to understand via technology how we can assess demand, and get feedback to see whether we are making the right product. Inventory management is also done through technology. We were able to use a certain amount of automation, in order to understand the feedback from the consumer, and plan the back-end operations accordingly”. Vermani also added, “Most of the feedback we are able to capture is only exposed to 55% of customers. We design a product and make very small quantities, by enhancing the supply chain. The moment the product reaches the customer, we get their feedback and are able to offer discounts to them. Relative grading and exposure of that relative grading helped us greatly. Because of automation, we were able to scale up the volume and create 2500 jobs, which will double by the end of next year”.  

“We are automating the back-office work, and are in the process of automating written forms work, and we process a large volume each day. We are actually digitizing the admission process of colleges and universities and it is actually bringing a lot of efficiency. Through technology, we were able to judge student patterns and use data to improve our services”, said Naveen Goyal, Founder & CEO, Nopaperforms. Samar Singla, Founder & CEO, Jugnoo, said, “The idea is to use the free time of auto rickshaw drivers for local merchants to compete with e-commerce. In our case, when we want to scale up something, either you automate something, or you become a communication medium. We tend to automate whatever we can, especially when we are not able to be the communication medium. For inventory management also it is helpful. Essentially most of the times, whatever automation we use is not always a new technology, but enhancing existing methods. We have not done a lot of reinvention of technology, you just need to get the adoption done”. “We were trying to get auto-rickshaw drivers to have a consistent behaviour and we tried using artificial intelligence algorithms. But it did not work out. So we created a leader-board so everyone can compete and this led to a lot of improvement of behaviour of drivers”, added Singla.

Tarun Sharma, Co-founder & Director, Mcaffeine, said, “We are a caffeine-infused personal care brand. We use caffeine in personal care products, using the properties of caffeine to create change. We use the topical application of caffeine. It’s great for reducing hair-fall and other benefits”. “We wanted to scale efficiently. Everything started with a problem, and deploying manpower is a no-brainer, but now we use technology to become more efficient. You can’t have information asymmetry in the system. There is tons of information coming to us, and there have to be multiple funnels leading to a single. We use existing technology, be it for competitor analysis or something else. Our product development is automated, we don’t have to deploy a lot of people for product development”, added Sharma. Sharma also went on to add, “Addressing problems in a way that a lot of manpower does not have to be deployed, is where automation comes in. I am really interested and amazed by is how people have sipped a lot of mundane work by using processes of automation. Automation will not directly take away jobs, but will enhance the skill set of the population”.

“There is re-skilling happening faster due to automation”, said Ghaswalla at the end of this engaging session.