At a time when most high school students are grappling with assignments and dreaming about prom nights, Pranjali Awasthi had a different dream. She envisioned improving the capabilities of search engines with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI).
Virtual Learning Paves the Way
The global pandemic, which disrupted traditional education and forced students worldwide to adapt to virtual learning, was a pivotal moment for Awasthi. While many found it challenging, she used it as an opportunity. As schools transitioned online, she interned at Florida Internal University, dedicating up to 20 hours a week. It was during this internship, where she worked on extracting data and writing literature reviews, that she struck gold with her innovative idea.
Realizing the Limitations of Search Engines
Though her time at the internship was brief, Awasthi quickly discerned the inherent challenges in locating specific content through search engines. This realization led her to question whether AI could be the solution to this problem. The answer was Delv.AI, her brainchild startup, which harnesses the power of machine learning to extract precise data.
Finding Support and Scaling Up
Attending the Hack Week event in Miami proved to be a turning point for Awasthi. It was there she met eager investors from Back End Capital. They not only saw the potential in her idea but also offered her a seat at the HFO, a 12-week residency program designed to sharpen tech skills. This stint allowed her to refine Delv.AI, culminating in the launch of its beta version in 2021.
Delv.AI Takes Off
From its inception, Delv.AI aimed to assist researchers in navigating the vast world of online content. It didn’t take long for the startup to attract significant attention. Since its launch, Awasthi has secured backing from numerous entities, raising a whopping $450,000 for her venture. Currently, industry experts peg Delv.AI’s value at around $12 million.
The Road Less Traveled
Awasthi’s decision to focus on her budding enterprise rather than a traditional education path was not an easy one. She bore the majority of her company’s HR and operational responsibilities. Moreover, she faced the challenging task of convincing her concerned parents about her unconventional educational choices. Hailing from an Indian background, where academic achievements are often prioritized, this was no small feat.
However, Awasthi remained unwavering in her commitment. “My parents are Indian, so academics are a priority for them…[but] I have a lot of responsibility on my plate and passion for what I’m building,” she stated.
As Delv.AI continues to grow and evolve, the tech world watches with bated breath. Will Awasthi be the next big name in AI? Only time will tell.