Ashwini Asokan: Founder, Mad Street Den.

Ashwini Asokan

Mad Street Den was founded by Ashwini Asokan, who is also the CEO. Ashwini and her colleagues train robots how to perceive and experience the world in the same way that we do. Ashwini Chandrasekaran, a neuroscientist, returned to India after more than a decade in Silicon Valley to bootstrap her firm, which she co-founded with her husband. She investigates how Artificial Intelligence may be taken from the world’s science and technology labs, applied meaningfully, and placed in the hands of people all around the world as a product designer and cultural researcher.

Ashwini Ashokan’s path to founding Mad Street Den, a Chennai-based AI and computer vision business, is unique among IT entrepreneurs. Ashwini, who grew up in a household of professors and computer scientists, decided to pursue a career as a dancer instead.

Mad Street Den was founded to create a large-scale AI platform and design meaningful apps for billions of people all over the world. Its first vertical,, was created in 2016 to enable intelligent retail automation.

“We were surrounded in a world where people were inventing AI for the sake of technology, pushing the boundaries on the underlying technology, the infrastructure, the hardware, and the software, which inspired us to launch this firm.” And the discourse about AI’s human component was completely absent,” she continues.

“We decided that would be the first vertical to learn how to build these applications, sell AI, go to market with AI, and say these types of stories demonstrate value, and then we’d move into other verticals like education or healthcare. So, I’d guess that 2016 will end in 2020, which means that the retail vertical has been entirely concentrated for three and a half years,” she says.

Ashwini travelled to the US with her husband and co-founder, Anand Chandrasekaran, after finishing her undergraduate degree in Visual Communication to stay in the creative profession. Ashwini was soon doing her Master’s in Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

She went on to work for Intel for nearly eight years, focusing on product design, development, and artificial intelligence. She later realised her desire to build a company in the AI field, and the two went to India in 2013 to develop Mad Street Den.

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