|Barkha Sharma, Founder & CEO, Bash|
ST: What inspired you to make your mark in
the field of entrepreneurship?
Sharma: It was the coming together of a few instances that resulted
in the founding of Bash. However, a particular incident which took place
at one of my previous workplaces got me thinking about the need for
technological advancement in HR.
was only during my notice period did I find out about the option of leaving
office early by raising a simple request. Upon finding out about this HR
policy, I approached the HR department to understand how I’d missed this. The
HR department informed me that this was a policy that “everyone knew about”. I,
then, realized that had it been a bot in question, I would have heard about the
policy during on-boarding. This got me thinking about the need for advanced
technologies in the field of HR and how it could change the way HR functions.
That’s how Bash was conceptualized.
ST: When did you start your venture? Please tell us more about your venture.
Sharma: Currently, a majority of softwares/ technologies used in
the HR function facilitate only non- employee facing activities i.e. back-end
functions. There are limited technologies in place that facilitate or
assist interactions between the HR function and employees, and all interactions
are manually managed, e.g. HR queries, notifications to employees on HR updates
etc. We believe that employee experiences shouldn’t be compromised. Bash
ensures that it improves overall HR processes and employee experiences, in turn
making employees more productive.
was launched in March 2017 in New Delhi-NCR. It uses artificial intelligence
and big data to power a virtual assistant to drive HR for businesses. Bash
mimics cognitive functions related to the HR function using a rule based AI
powered bot. With Bash’s user-friendly front-end chat interface built
specifically for HR, it gives organizations a highly accurate and real-time way
to automate conversations with employees within an organization’s intranet. It
can also be accessed using instant messenger platforms such as Facebook
Messenger, Slack, Telegram, Kik, Google and Microsoft’s Skype.
helps employees organize their HR activities, answers questions related to pay
slips, company leave policies and perks, among a host of other
functions. For the HR team, Bash assists in processing all essential HR
functions and helps elevate current efforts throughout an
organization. Bash processes general inquiries and assists with real-time
grievances management by providing insights and reports leading to increased
Sharma: We’ve currently partnered with over 8 companies and
their HR functions across India. Over the course of the year, we aim to become
the preferred choice for HR across companies for chat based modules and
leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI). As AI and IMs (instant
messaging) continue to grow in India across sectors, there is immense room for
growth for AI in HR.
the HR function is the backbone of any organization and an effective HR
translates into an effective organization which builds workforces equipped
to maximize workplace productivity. We believe that the future of the workplace
will be overwhelmingly powered by artificial intelligence and we’re focused on
making Bash the leader in this space.
journey been so far?
Sharma: Having started Bash only a couple of months ago, it has
been overwhelming to see the fantastic initial response we’ve got from industry
leaders and organizations. It keeps me going and firms up my belief
in always staying focused on the product and the goals that we have in
place. Our team comes with an insider experience on what is missing. We’re
extremely focused on fixing the problem at hand and filling the technological
gap. I think its important to believe in yourself and also have a longer
term vision. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
day to day professional life, if any?
Sharma: While there is no average day at Bash, a typical day
involves working very closely with the tech and product development team and
ensuring our marketing and operations efforts are in-line with our long term
goals. One of the biggest challenges has been finding the right talent to
bring on board. Although, there is an increasing need for a skilled
workforce in the area of AI and machine learning, it is always a challenge
finding the right talent for AI based roles in India. Having said that, we
ensure that we find brilliant people to join our team.
Sharma: Currently, our team is 14 people strong, mostly comprised
of product developers, account managers and marketing folks spread out across
Delhi-NCR and Ahmedabad. Over the course of the next few months, we plan to
bring on board a few more developers. We are currently hiring fresh
graduates for our operations team.
Sharma: For the next few months, we’re laying a lot of emphasis on
adding 2 more modules along with introducing improvements to the existing
modules. We see the potential in our product making inroads into smaller teams/
organizations – going beyond big enterprises. Small and medium sized businesses
don’t invest heavily in HR mainly due to lack of funds and Bash offers immense
return on investment for them.