The global hype for artificial intelligence (AI) changed the fortunes for the Indian AI native start-up Fractal Analytics, which became a unicorn in 2022 after being in operations for nearly 20 years. However, reduction in tech spends for the last two years has impeded its growth potential even as Gen-AI projects continue to be hot.

“We are seeing two converse trends,” Srikanth Velamakanni, CEO and Co-Founder of Fractal, told businessline in an interview on the occasion of launching a chatbot based on world-renowned career coach, Marshall Goldsmith. “On one hand, tech firms, banks and fintech firms have downsized significantly in the past year, which means firms providing tech services are also seeing a decline in business. But GenAI is still seeing intrigue which continues to power our growth reasonably, in double digits.”

Velamakanni declined to give an exact timeline by when exponential growth from GenAI will be on the horizon, even as most tech leaders hope for reduction in tech spends to ease up in this financial year. 

Velamakanni does note that AI native firms like Fractal are better poised to catch the GenAI wave than India’s top IT services firms that have started to invest in GenAI capabilities in the recent years. “Generative AI is both one of the greatest opportunities they have, and also a huge threat to their businesses. These organisations rely on a large bench of coders which will effectively become irrelevant as AI improves coding capabilities by a manifold. Using GenAI, you won’t need to employ six million people, you can do the same amount of work with three million people. Here, AI native firms like Fractal will be at an advantage,” he said. 

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Fractal, which also revived its IPO plans recently, is also looking for M&A opportunities in the lead-up to the IPO, Velamakanni said. 

Passion project

As a personal passion project, Velamakanni also launched a chatbot for his teacher and worldwide career coach, Marshall Goldsmith. The American executive has sold more than three million books, according to his website, on varying topics related to leadership, self help, organisational behaviour and the growth mindset. This chatbot, according to Velamakanni, will allow thousands to access, “Marshall’s knowledge” for free, by asking questions to the chatbot. “You are free to take or ignore my advice,” Goldsmith quipped with a southern lilt. “There are times when this bot is better than me in giving advice,” he said. 

This chatbot is trained on Marshall’s lectures, books and speeches, “and just like I don’t offer my opinion on things that I am not an expert on, the chatbot will also not speak on matters where it has no background,” Goldsmith added on the bot’s credibility.