The two ways to start an early stage AI startup: HAS vs VAS

tak_lo
tak_lo
Apr 24, 2017 · 4 min read
  • Solving problems for a very specific type of customer, and belonging to one specific industry

Building a VAS

The first rule of starting a VAS is to not focus on building an AI startup, but to focus on solving a problem for a customer or user, applying AI. This may be a slight terminology difference, but the ramifications are drastically different – the former is building technology for its own sake, versus the other is building to solve a customer pain using technology. We see many examples of founders being in love with the technology, when the orientation should be on the customer.

Building a HAS

But can AI startups be purely technology driven, as opposed to customer driven? The answer to that is yes – they can be – but it does require an incredibly strong technical team. Examples of this include Deepmind and Sentient.ai, where the founding and core team members were strong academics or deep AI practitioners with extensive experience. And even then, raising capital for those startups was not an easy path because of the lack of a well-defined path to revenue.

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tak_lo

Written by

tak_lo

Tak Lo. Zeroth.ai. Investor of the future.

Startup Grind

The life, work, and tactics of entrepreneurs around the world. Welcoming submissions on technology trends, product design, growth strategies, and venture investing. Learn more about how you can get involved at startupgrind.com.