An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Alon Yamin, the co-founder and CEO of Copyleaks, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Copyleaks – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
I co-founded Copyleaks with my partner Yehonatan Bitton in 2015. Previously, we served as software developers in the Israel defense forces intelligence unit, where we first started working with text analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other cutting-edge technologies. We wanted to take this experience into the field of education to enhance academic integrity and help students/content creators keep their writing authentic and original (and also to help teachers fairly assess them). Our first product was Copyleaks plagiarism detection, which analyzes text for its level of originality. This is now being used by schools, universities, and also by many publishers. Recently, we launched a second product called GradeOn which can automatically grade essays and assignments of open-ended questions. For example: “How did the Battle of Waterloo contribute to Napoleon’s downfall?”. Thus, we provide a full spectrum of text assessment, all the way from checking its authenticity to grading it, based on AI and ML technologies.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
The biggest hurdle was acquiring our first customers. By now, we have thousands of customers, but I still remember the excitement of getting the very first ones who trusted us, even though we were a very small start-up.
What does the future hold for Copyleaks?
We believe in the power of technology in pushing education forward. There are many bottlenecks in education. For example, we are seeing a growth in online education, which is great and opens up the door for many people to elevate their education. But while one teacher can online teach 1000 students, she cannot check the assignments of 1000 students, which is where technology must come in to solve these bottlenecks and help in freeing-up education to each and every one. We look forward to continuing to invest in our R&D, and to grow our business through partnerships with leading ed-tech companies, and also with universities/schools across the world.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Stamford?
The startup scene is definitely growing in Stamford and you can really feel the change, even compared to two years ago when we just started our Stamford operation. I’m happy that we are able to be a part of this change and excited to see how it will further develop.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
To me its about focus, stamina, and resilience. Focus is super important – do one thing, but do it in a great way. Be very precise about what problem you are solving, who your customers are, and what is the value you will provide to hem. There will be many ups and downs along the way – prepare yourself for much more “no” than “yes” from investors, potential customers, etc. Learn from each and every encounter and keep moving on with focus and belief in what you are doing.