This Pakistani hated his job so much, he automated it

Published: April 1, 2016
Tech in Asia
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PHOTO: TECH IN ASIA

PHOTO: TECH IN ASIA

Saad Ehsan was extremely excited at the prospect of entering the workforce and finding a stable job soon after graduating from college. When he was offered a position at Nishat, one of Pakistan’s largest textile conglomerates, he accepted it without a second thought.

But the mundane reality of the workplace soon set in. Saad, an idealistic and energetic graduate, thought he’d be given challenging, mentally-stimulating tasks. Much to his horror, most of his work consisted of scraping data from various sources and plugging it into an Excel sheet.

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“I would be mindlessly staring into a computer screen till late at night,” says Saad. “I knew there had to be a better, more efficient way of doing these tasks.”

What Saad had in mind was to code a program that would do these tasks for him. He approached his brother, an engineer by training, for help. Then the duo got to work. What they came up with was AItomation, a startup that intelligently automates redundant and repetitive tasks.

Saad ended up quitting the textile company just four months into his role, but by that time he had already impressed his former employers. They offered him a new position with increased responsibilities. But the huge firm ended up becoming his startup’s first client.

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His brother was also encouraged by AItomation’s initial traction – he dropped out of college to work on it full-time.

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Essentially what the startup does is scrape data from different web sources, including public information from the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, analyzes it, checks for duplication, and then inputs it according to specific parameters. Saad claims apps like Pakistan Movie & Cinema Guide as well as sites like 10 Best Quotes are completely run and moderated by his software.

“We can automate any process, no matter how complicated it is,” he boasts.

AItomation’s Saad Ehsan. PHOTO: TECH IN ASIA

The startup, which launched in September 2014, is self-sustaining and has so far snared eight enterprise clients – including companies from Israel, the US, and Australia. Others have worked with it on a per-project basis.

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One vertical where it’s been fairly successful is real estate. Saad says they were approached by a potential client in the US who used eight virtual assistants to manually track real estate listings and input data. “We automated the entire workflow for him to the extent that he didn’t need even a single virtual assistant anymore,” he adds.

The automation tools can do fun stuff too. One task handed to Saad’s team was to curate a list of funny videos on YouTube that have more than 1 million views. Videos had to be sorted according to title name, length, and popularity. “There are hundreds, if not thousands of videos like this and it could have been a very daunting task for a human. But we managed it in one day,” says Saad.

The entrepreneur is mindful of competition – he says there are “at least seven” other companies, each worth around US$100 million or more, that provide task automation. But he maintains that the costs of using them are very high and that they’re primarily engineered for use by people with technical skills. He sees AItomation as significantly cheaper and usable by people with a non-technical background.

This article originally appeared on Tech in Asia.

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Reader Comments (13)

  • Pakistan Zindabad
    Apr 1, 2016 - 4:42PM

    Cool bro Saad. Well done and keep it up high.Recommend

  • Apr 1, 2016 - 7:14PM

    Excellent bro and lot of best wishes.
    Being in the real estate for such a long time, I know the pain of managing expired listings. You shall market your software to real estate agencies in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Zahir Khan
    Apr 1, 2016 - 10:46PM

    Saad, wishing you Godspeed. Aitomation can be ranked with the best in its fieldRecommend

  • Pradeep
    Apr 2, 2016 - 9:24AM

    Good positive story. Keep it up. All the best.Recommend

  • wazim
    Apr 2, 2016 - 10:33AM

    Impressive,
    God Help those who Help Themselves. Recommend

  • Apr 2, 2016 - 3:10PM

    Amazing job done by the pioneers like Ehsan,
    has many things for the people having taste in this regard. Best of luck guy.Recommend

  • OSD
    Apr 2, 2016 - 3:53PM

    Congratulations to the brothers.. Here is wishing to you a magnificant IPO and a company of international stature..Recommend

  • Tj
    Apr 2, 2016 - 5:07PM

    Even i get a bit irritated at doing repetitive tasks thinking there has to be another way. More power to u.Recommend

  • Saad Abro
    Apr 2, 2016 - 8:07PM

    Is he really doing business with Israel? I thought that was not allowed.Recommend

  • Azi
    Apr 2, 2016 - 8:52PM

    Nice work man, I used python to automate my daily tasks too but nothing as big as this..Recommend

  • Apr 2, 2016 - 9:10PM

    Thank you people for the support and encouragement.
    You people who are supporting the young people like me and others, play a much deeper than you realize. I really love this culture of support and positivity.
    It is very much appreciated. So from my side loads of thanks for all the positive and appreciative comments.Recommend

  • Spyrogyra
    Apr 2, 2016 - 9:46PM

    Nice!Recommend

  • Qaiser Shakoor
    Apr 3, 2016 - 5:53AM

    AOA,

    Cool bro.
    Which Programming Language? What mean of automation is your system has conscious level? I mean it train by you or hard coded?

    ThanksRecommend

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