Army Veterans’ Startup Claims to Have Cracked Facebook’s AI Test

DataVal Analytics Inc claims it is the world’s first to successfully solve a 20-part AI challenge set by Facebook.

3 min read
For representational purposes only.

This week on Startup Street, we have a startup that claims to be the first to have solved Facebook’s 20-part artificial intelligence challenge. India’s defence minister is batting for ways to promote women entrepreneurs and increase startups’ participation in the sector. Google has revealed the four startups from India chosen for the fifth class of its Launchpad Accelerator programme. Here’s what went on.

The Code Crackers

The DataVal Analytics Inc Team
The DataVal Analytics Inc Team
(Photo: BloombergQuint)

DataVal Analytics Inc is claiming that it is the first in the world to successfully solve a twenty-part artificial intelligence challenge set by Facebook.

No organisation has been able to solve all 20 tasks with 100 percent accuracy in Facebook AI Research’s bAbi test, the Bengaluru-based AI startup said in a statement. “The tests include complex tasks such as co-reference resolution, time and space reasoning, path navigation, size reasoning,” it said on its website.


DataVal was founded by Indian army veterans Lt Colonel Shashi Kiran, Lt Colonel Naveen Xavier, and Sam Pitroda, who was chairman of the National Knowledge Commission during the UPA government. Pitroda had also served as an advisor to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s and was also the first chairman of the Telecom Commission.

Facebook’s bAbi test presents 20 tasks for testing text understanding and reasoning. Basically, to make AI applications understand human language better. It has been hosting it since 2014-15.

BloombergQuint has written to Facebook requesting confirmation for DataVal’s claim and is awaiting a response.

In somewhat related news, the social media has also announced that it will set up two startup-focussed initiatives -- India Innovation Hub and School of Innovation.

Startups In The Defence Sector?

India’s defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman is batting for ways to promote women entrepreneurs and increase startups’ participation in the country’s defence sector by making government tenders more accessible for them.

“We have finalised 4 December as the date when I will be working with chambers of commerce and the startups,” Sitharaman said in a panel discussion at the Global Entrepreneur Summit 2017 held in Hyderabad earlier this week. “A huge list has been made, to ensure that I interact with them to see women’s participation and how they help the defence ministry’s production and procurement process,” she added.

Sitharaman said that under existing rules, startups cannot participate in the government’s defence tendering process unless they’ve been in the business for a certain number of years or achieved a certain amount of turnover.

I feel that startups do have a very big opportunity to enter the defence industry, help India to procure and also probably export.
Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister

Sitharaman added that startups have to be given a level playing field in when government tenders for defence are put out. She said steps will be taken to remove rules that restrict the entry of startups in the tendering process.

Google’s Choice

For its fifth round of Launchpad Accelerators, Google has chosen four startups from India to join its hands-on mentorship programme.

The startups will join other firms chosen from all over the world for a two-week boot-camp in San Francisco and receive mentoring from more than 30 teams across Google and other top technology companies, according to the Google India Blog.

Participants receive equity-free support, credits for Google products and media training, and continue to work closely with Google back in their home country.
Google India Blog

The four startups from India include:

  • BabyChakra - An application which gives advice on pregnancy and parenting.
  • m.Paani - A startup that provides real-time insights for mass market consumers and retailers on marketing, loyalty and consumer engagement.
  • Niramai - A health technology startup that has developed screening solution for breast cancer that helps detecting cancer at early stages.
  • SocialCops - A data driven startup that helps organisation take informed decisions.

The fifth edition of the launchpad accelerator programme has a total of 30 startups, including some from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

(This article was originally published on BloombergQuint)

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