Dubai university student wins award for his ‘Google’ for speech app

Rishav Jalan impresses with his “Google” for speech app.

Rishav Jalan, a student at Bits Pilani University in Dubai, won the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for his Wrappup voice recording app. Satish Kumar / The National
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DUBAI // A young entrepreneur has won first prize at a competition for inventors with his idea for a “Google” for speech.

Rishav Jalan, a student at Bits Pilani University in Dubai, impressed judges at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards competition in the UAE with his Wrappup voice recording app.

It has a database of words that are most used on the internet and will highlight words that are unique or rarely used.

“Wrappup is a smart voice recording platform that uses AI to transform speech into useful business data,” said the 22-year-old Indian. “Whether recorded through the mobile app, web conferencing, or VOIP calling, it leverages speech technology to create more efficient and productive communications in the workplace.”

Wrappup is also able to detect important moments in conversations.

“It recognises clusters of important activity and moments for the user, creating playable bite-sized notes from the discussion,” said Mr Jalan. “Users can then share and reference these playable minutes as needed.”

The inspiration for the idea came from Mr Jalan’s co-founder during their time at a management consulting company where he took part in many meetings.

“Suddenly, the chief executive said something important, and everyone’s head dived into their notebook as they struggled to note down what he said while listening for more information,” said Mr Jalan. “At that moment, he realised everyone was duplicating the same effort to captured a moment that already happened.”

As the winner of the UAE competition, Mr Jalan will head to Frankfurt, Germany, in April for the global finals were he will compete against 50 others for a share of $400,000 (Dh1.5m) in prizes.

He has won $3,000 worth of Aramex shipping aid for his business and the GCC Harvard Business School Club will mentor him until the finals in Frankfurt.

Looking to the future, Mr Jalan plans to fully automate the process of taking minutes during meetings by creating an AI “secretary”.

“The idea is to squeeze the most valuable information and make it useful wherever there is communication between people whether it’s a meeting, classroom or a conference,” he said.

“Finally, through wearables like the Google Glass and Snapchat Spectacles, Wrappup could move from a secretary for your meetings to a personal assistant for your brain. The possibilities are endless.”

Ashish Panjabi, UAE chairman for Entrepreneur’s Organisation, which organises the GSEA competition, was impressed with all the entries.

“Rishav’s business has already got their first round of funding which has meant he has had to learn a lot very quickly and his thirst for learning, was very clear as he did bring this up during presentation,” he said. “He was also very humble about his accomplishments.”

Organisers hope to expand the competition format for next year.

“We hope next year to have qualifier competitions in the UAE before we get into the national finals,” said Mr Panjabi. “These qualifier competitions could be spread across the country where we hope to have qualifiers in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai.”

The UAE competition is supported by Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre at the American University of Sharjah; shjSEEN — Sharjah Chamber of Commerce’s Incubator; in5 — Tecom’s incubator; the UAE University’s Science and Innovation Park in Al Ain; and the American University of Dubai.

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