Saikiran Chandha and Shanu Kumar are using the power of generative AI to automate the task of decoding and understanding research papers for the scientific research community.
SciSpace’s Copilot: Simplifying Literature Reviews
With the advent of AI language models, researchers and academicians have access to various tools to ease their work. However, literature reviews remain a challenging task, consuming much of their time and energy. To address this, founders Saikiran Chandha and Shanu Kumar are determined to build solutions using generative AI to automate the decoding and understanding of research papers for the scientific research community.
SciSpace, a Bengaluru-based software development startup founded in 2016, specializes in creating SaaS platforms for academic and scientific research. However, the startup went through a significant transition with the advent of generative AI and the launch of its flagship product, Copilot, three months ago. Copilot is an AI research assistant that empowers researchers to decode any research paper effortlessly.
How Copilot Works
Copilot not only provides researchers with relevant links to research papers but also summarizes them to save time and effort. Users can add papers of their choice to extract data and can ask the tool to specify the content of the documents or explain certain paragraphs, the whole paper, or specific portions.
SciSpace uses open AI and Anthropic as foundational models to break down complex problems into sub-tasks and sub-modules. The startup also has its proprietary models that help fine-tune the results. These proprietary models enable SciSpace to offer capabilities beyond providing summaries. For instance, if users struggle to understand a math problem or an equation, Copilot comes in handy.
Expanding Beyond Research Papers
Currently, SciSpace has 250 million open-access research papers on its platform and recently launched a Chrome plug-in. The startup aims to expand its capabilities beyond research papers and start indexing white papers, case studies, podcasts, and videos to cater to a broader audience beyond the research community.
Freemium Model and Monetization Plans
SciSpace currently has 400,000 active researchers and 100,000 users on its Chrome plug-in and doesn’t charge its users to solidify its data repository. The startup plans to introduce a revenue stream in the future, potentially charging organizations involved in significant R&D work. It is doing pilots with two life sciences companies in the US to explore monetization possibilities.
Competing in the Generative AI Boom
SciSpace competes with academic search engines like Google Scholar and ResearchGate and citation managers like Zoreto and Litmap. However, its unique data extraction capabilities from research papers set it apart. While SciSpace reduces users’ time and effort, its long-term business viability depends on users’ response to its monetization plans. Additionally, the evolving landscape of big tech players adopting generative AI may create competitive challenges for smaller startups like SciSpace. Nonetheless, the startup stands at a sweet spot, leveraging generative AI to make a positive impact on the scientific research community.