Exhibitor Spotlight Q&A: Ayraa

The Startup Grind Team
4 min readJul 3, 2023

Founder Bio

The founders, Vinay Mahadik & Nikita Chikate, previously built the largest EdTech NLP/ML AI-based student safety platform (www.securly.com), where they launched 10+ B2B SaaS products under their leadership (CEO/Head of Product and Chief Design Officer, respectively), growing 80% CAGR for seven years to an exceptionally successful exit to a PE firm. Before Securly, Vinay was a Senior R&D Manager at McAfee, leading four multi-million dollar product lines, and Niki was a Lead Designer at Citrix. Both the founders individually have 20+ years of Enterprise product-development experience. Vinay has an MBA from Wharton, while Niki has an MBA in Design Strategy from California College of Arts.

In a sentence, what does Ayraa do?

Ayraa enables you to discover, organize & search knowledge from across the company — as it happens.

How and when did Ayraa come to be?

When the founders of Ayraa were scaling their previous startup, the #1 issue they faced in the fast growth environment was keeping the company operating in lock-step with each other regarding knowledge & communications. Important features released, new product launches, key partnerships signed, new pricing sheets rolled out, competitive analysis documents made available, system outages and root-cause analyses, FAQs, new hires, significant HR policy changes, and so much more. The genesis of Ayraa was the singular mission of solving this issue of keeping the employees informed.

What makes your company/product different in this market?

Knowledge management & search is a rapidly developing & exciting product category.

The incumbents are primarily old-school Wikis & Intranet companies. These solutions require a lot of collective effort in organizing & maintaining, and so are always trailing behind.

A handful of new entrants cover various permutations of enterprise search, knowledge collections & shortcut links. These are powerful tools, and we also support them. However, Ayraa’s unique positioning is that it is the only platform that provides a self-organizing push model for knowledge. Put simply, Ayraa enables information to be disseminated, organized & discovered in real-time as it happens. We have spent over a year building slick interfaces for publishing information across the workspace as it happens. You no longer have to maintain a collection or a Wiki/Intranet page. You also don’t have to search for information as it naturally comes to you. With Ayraa, everyone stays informed continuously. Knowledge gets filed and categorized automatically. If you do want to look something up, natural language search & query allow you to recall and probe this information instantly.

What milestone are you most proud of so far?

We are most proud of our ability to gather market feedback and pivot rapidly to find product market fit. We shared a private preview of our product at SXSW and rapidly pivoted to a knowledge-management discover, organize & search positioning based on the collective intelligence gathered from over 350 conversations from the event.

Have you pursued funding, and if so, what steps did you take?

We raised a seed round in the second half of 2021. Our current focus is on launching & shaping the product to fit our long-term vision best.

What is your vision for the next 10 years?

Ayraa has an expansive definition of organizational knowledge. For our launch, we bring to you — headline updates, strategic memos & summaries from discussions across the company. At scale, we envision a broad platform that covers wellness, communications, learning, and other related areas — all emanating from a core knowledge engine, much like a brain that powers an intelligent workplace.

How do you build and develop talent?

We have built a globally distributed team but with an emphasis on creating clusters around central hubs where remote employees can still meet & bond in person once every few weeks. This model has kept our team morale & retention high. A large fraction of our hiring was through referrals. We have a strong layer of leadership — with the co-founders covering Product & Design, while others covering Growth, DevOps, and Engineering.

How do you manage growth vs sustainability?

As we haven’t launched publicly yet, our primary focus on sustainability is via positioning. Every product decision we make involves creating a blue ocean that makes competition irrelevant.

How was your experience at Startup Grind Global ‘23?

We loved it. After over a year and a half of being heads down in build mode, it was great to have hundreds of conversations with fellow startups and investors to validate some of our assumptions and shape our product market fit. We discovered our top pivot from communications to knowledge management at SG Global ’23 as a result of these conversations.

What are the biggest challenges for the team?

Ayraa started with a singular mission of eliminating information silos and keeping the employees informed. In the pre-GPT part of our journey, we approached this problem using a communication platform. Then, GPT happened — forcing us to factor in the latest advancements in AI into this vision — and completely rethinking our approach. After hundreds of conversations at SXSW ’23 and SG Global ’23, we finally figured out a breakthrough approach that leverages our 18+ months of work on real-time communications and blends in knowledge management & search seamlessly into it — creating a unique positioning in this exciting new market.

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