Playment is an AI-based mobile crowdsourcing platform that offers image annotation, transcription and content moderation for business purposes. It is a fully managed Human Intelligence platform which helps businesses offload large-scale data operations. It works on the principle of Microwork, where a series of small tasks which together comprise a large unified project and many people over the Internet completes them. It works as an on-demand workforce for enterprises for simple data operations such as cataloguing for e-commerce, training data for AI, and moderation of user-generated content. Furthermore, Playment was also part of Y Combinator’s Winter 2017 batch.
Playment - Vision & Mission
Playment aims to facilitate a platform where humans & machines can work together to solve problems which were earlier unsolvable or not efficient to do.
Playment - Founder
Playment was founded in August 2015 by Siddharth Mall and Akshay Lal, alumni of IIT Kharagpur and Ajinkya Malasane, an IIT Guwahati alumnus. All the founders used to work at Flipkart as senior business analysts and left to built Playment. When the trio was sure of the idea and had started working on it, they roped in Himanshu Sahu, their batch-mate from IIT Kharagpur and an ex-Babajob employee, as the co-founder.
Playment - The Idea
Akshay was part of the catalogue product team, while Ajinkya and Siddharth had experience in building Flipkart’s crowdsourced hyperlocal delivery arm. They then realised that this is the problem that need some attention and can be solved with automation. So the trio naturally gravitated towards the idea of crowdsourcing catalogue operations. They felt it could help the company and went ahead to validate the idea while at Flipkart. This was when they thought that there should be automation in the process processes and came up with the idea of Playment.
Playment- Product and Services
Users who are known as “Players” at Playment, can browse through existing tasks and complete them in exchange for points, the points can be further exchanged for vouchers on online e-commerce sites such as Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm.
Playment allows companies to send over sets of training data that need some kind of light analysis, and then allocate them across a large on-demand workforce that can resolve those tasks on their mobile devices. Furthermore, that, in turn, feeds back additional data to the companies to help improve their algorithms — whether that’s visual search, quality checks of recommendation engines.
Playment users can also do a lot of the testing and actions on their mobile devices. So it could be as simple as making small quality checks while they’re commuting or drawing bounding boxes for visual recognition, giving the option of doing these kinds of tasks anywhere. So, users can do as many or as few tasks as they’re looking for — whether it’s just for some additional early cash or pushing it toward more of a primary income amount, Mall said.
Companies pass the data off to Playment through a set of APIs, and then Playment creates a workflow for its workforce. They then pass off those workflows to their workforce, and users can pick up whatever tasks they want that are available. Mall said that with that approach the company can return the requests in as little as a few minutes, though it would depend on the complexity of the task. One possibility, with this approach, would also be splitting complicated tasks into multiple workflows and divvying them out to multiple people.
Playment - Growth
Within eight months since launch, Playment was able to generate over 5 million microtasks for some of the top e-commerce companies in the country and had a throughout capacity equivalent to a 1200+ seater BPO. Over the past year, since Playment’s launch, the team claims to have distributed more than Rs 1.5 crore to their players.
Playment claims to have annotated 50 million+ tags on its platform with over 65,000 profiled players on the app, the team claims to have a capacity equivalent to a 3,000-seater BPO generating about 1 million/ tags per day.
Playment currently claims to be working with 15 enterprise clients, including Flipkart, Myntra, Ola, Shopclues, Limeroad, Paytm, and Roposo.
Playment - Revenue Model
The comapany charges the client per unit of data operations. Playmentretains a portion of these charges while passing the remaining on to the users.
Playment - Funding
Till now playment has raised $1.6 million as part of its Pre-Series A funding. The investment was led by Y Combinator, Sparkland Capital and Silicon Valley angel investors such as Ryan Petersen (CEO, Flexport), Max Altman and others.
Playmentraised a seed round funding of $700,000 from SAIF Partners, and they were recently selected in the latest batch of Google Launchpad.
Playment’s biggest competitor is the Mechanical Turk from Amazon, which can also accomplish these kinds of small tasks. Mall said the biggest question he’d regularly get from investors and potential customers is whether or not Playment can ensure that the quality of results is high — especially for the volume of requests. That’s the goal Playment is gunning for, and Mall hopes that will help it be more successful than Mechanical Turk.
Playment- Future Plans
Playment wants to become the largest work platform in the world. They are expanding globally and targeting international e-commerce for cataloguing, social networks for content moderation and AI-based companies for training/testing as a service using other existing Indian workforce.