Alumni Stories: Kiran Kadekoppa, an AI Tech Professional turned entrepreneur

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A serial investor and AI enthusiast. Kiran Kadekoppa is an example of how it is never too late to embark on your own journey as an entrepreneur. Since taking the Extrapreneurship and Conversational AI in Banking courses, he has co-founded a Conversational AI startup HUEX Labs, where he also serves the role of CTO. 

“Both the Extrapreneurship course and the Conversational AI in Banking course helped me on a path of rediscovery and enabled me to take on an entrepreneurship journey.”

Kiran Kadekoppa, Co-founder and CTO of Huex Labs – a Conversational AI startup

CFTE: What motivated you to learn about Conversational AI and participate in Extrapreneurship?

Kiran: Although I had already been involved with Conversational Systems and was directly involved with building conversational systems at enterprise scale, I wanted to gain a more academic approach to understanding how to conceptualise, gain user feedback and develop a robust product management roadmap for Conversational Agents. I have always been fascinated with Human-Computer-Interaction and how the various interaction mechanisms have evolved. 

In terms of Extrapreneurship, over the past few years I have contemplated joining an MBA course at a local university, however, I always felt I didn’t want to learn just the theory, but wanted to get a deeper understanding of learning by doing. After going through the Extrapreneurship, it felt like several crash courses from several of the MBA core courses. Be it understanding Strategy, Operations, Product Management or Innovation, all were combined into short sprints of going through delivering value.

Both the Extrapreneurship course and the Conversational AI in Banking course helped me on a path of rediscovery and enabled me to take on an entrepreneurship journey.

CFTE: How have your experiences with CFTE impacted your professionaldevelopment?

Kiran: One key experience from the Conversational AI course that I strongly connected with and have incorporated is “designing with empathy”. Considering the end customers of systems not just as “users”, but more so as “humans”, has helped me bring that personalised touch. This aspect is starting to get the much needed attention across all the providers who are building conversational solutions. Thanks to CFTE’s focus on this design approach, I have made it a habit of instilling this in all customer journey mapping exercises.

This has led me to several opportunities for me to contribute to both the non-profit think-tanks and to standards bodies alike.

CFTE: What did you enjoy the most about both courses? Any key takeaways?

Kiran: From the Extrapreneurship course, I felt my key takeaway was to learn how to course correct, improvise your strategy based on the dynamic nature of the problem the business is facing. There is no standard checklist that helps discover the solution, you need a passionate team, a well-thought-out strategy and execution to sustain a business.

From the Conversational AI course, the key takeaway was more about how change in the technology landscape is impacting customer expectations on how they prefer to interact with their familiar businesses. But to scale and build such solutions, requires a fundamental shift in thinking. The course provided me the avenue to explore this in greater detail.

CFTE: Thank you for your time Kiran! Last question before you go, if you had to describe yourself in 3 words or less, what would those be?

Kiran: Life Long Learner. I am a big believer that learning never stops and I always want to take the opportunity to learn a new skill or catch a book. You may not always have to see the benefit of learning in the short term. It shapes your thinking and enables you to strike interesting conversations – while learning and enriching that interaction.

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