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Rashid Khan: Building for the connected world

The cofounder and chief product officer of Yellow.ai says its AI-powered chat is reaching people's homes via customer support at the world's biggest companies

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Feb 14, 2022 11:41:40 AM IST
Updated: Feb 14, 2022 12:04:40 PM IST

Rashid Khan: Building for the connected worldRashid Khan helps build AI-powered conversational platforms

Rashid Khan, 29
Co-founder and chief product officer, Yellow.ai

One thing that is immediately apparent about Rashid Khan is that he is steeped in tech. The co-founder and chief product officer at Yellow.ai, one of India’s most successful conversational artificial intelligence (AI) startups, is also co-author of a book on the Internet of Things (IoT).

CEO Raghu Ravinutala, his senior in college, met him at a hackathon in 2015. Khan was interested in doing something around chat because he wanted to write code that he could include in his CV for companies like Meta’s WhatsApp or Google.

Instead, by the end of 2015, Ravinutala, his friend Jaya Kishore Gollareddy and Khan ended up starting Yellow.ai, then called Yellow Messenger, after a conversation about customer support. Over the last several years, interactive conversational AI has become big business, Khan says.

Its convenience helped its surge during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Yellow.ai building solutions to help governments with vaccinations. Today AI-powered chat is reaching people’s homes and customer support at the world’s biggest companies.

 In 2021, Yellow.ai unveiled its voice AI product in a closed beta testing stage, with some of the largest global brands, he says. In 2022, it aims to expand to more markets and enable new use-cases.

Rashid Khan: Building for the connected world

 “We saw an opportunity for the first software-as-a-service [SaaS] company globally to leverage a unique Asian behaviour and turn it into global leadership,” says Dev Khare, partner at Lightspeed India, one of Yellow.ai’s earliest institutional investors. Asia’s strong usage of messaging for work/business/client interaction has enabled Yellow.ai to build the most scaled conversational AI engine to drive interactions between brands and customers, through apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Instagram, he says.

Khan expects Yellow.ai to double down on product-led sales in 2022, and make it easier for customers to use low-code and no-code tools to make modifications and apps on the company’s AI platform. “Our vision is to make consumer-to-business communication simple, fast and always available,” he says. 

(This story appears in the 25 February, 2022 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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