We’re celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week with the story of budding young entrepreneur Yuan Han who graduated from Churchill this summer. We met with Yuan to find out more about his time at Churchill and his enterprise journey with new start-up ‘Omni AI’.
Yuan studied Engineering at Churchill and graduated with an integrated master’s degree in computer and information engineering in July 2023. The College provided Yuan with the perfect balance between work and fun. He particularly appreciated the approachable fellows who were ‘always open to academic or casual chats’ as well as the opportunity to socialise with students after a hard day of work. He was heavily involved in the Cambridge University Robotics Society throughout his time at Cambridge, working as the software team lead of the Rescue robot for two years, and also enjoyed participating in events organised by Churchill’s Engineering Society ‘ChuEng’.
Yuan’s start-up ‘Omni AI’ aims to integrate the team’s AI chatbot platform seamlessly into educational settings. The team tailors the platform so that their business partners can easily feed the information and knowledge that they use daily into the chatbots.
How did you first get the idea for your start-up?
We first got the idea from the booming start of various LLMs (large language models), along with many LLM development toolkits. Those toolkits made it much easier for small teams to develop tools that interface with LLMs. We realised there hadn’t been attempts made by any AI software teams to reach direct partnerships with universities and SMEs (small to midsize enterprises) because neither has good budgets or a strong development team to incorporate new technology into workflow. We want to provide affordable and codeless AI integration for our clients.
What makes it unique?
We offer an enormous amount of customisation when it comes to using the LLM to chat with embedded knowledge. Users can customize the chatbot personality, thoroughness of responses, additional tools the chatbot can use, etc. We will also offer personalised chatbot finetuning to university and SME clients. In the future, we will also incorporate more LLMs onto our platform so that customers can select the specialising one for a specific task.
What inspired you to start your business?
I am kind of a hands-on person and I enjoy building my own products, regardless of the scale of the impact. However, previously I was mostly only involved in the software side of small-scale projects. Venturing into my own business marked a significant shift, as it meant I would now be involved in various fields of work, ranging from technical DevOps to outreach. I deeply value these experiences, particularly because they represent a substantial step up from my prior involvement in smaller-scale products.
What kind of research did you do before you started?
- Potential competitors who although focused on slightly different fields, might still pose a threat to us if they shift their focus.
- All kinds of open-source tools we could use and drew the conclusion that I would be able to fast-prototype the platform on my own on top of these tools.
- The costs of all potential hosting services and API costs and drew the conclusion that we will be able to cover ourselves in the early-access phase.
What opportunities are there for investing in your start-up and why should they invest?
Although they are still not accurate enough to handle some sensitive tasks, LLMs have the potential to revolutionise the way information is processed in educational settings, which is also why entities at the capital level maintain their investments in Large Language Model (LLM) companies. Early investments or research partnerships would be crucial to accelerating our pace of improving response accuracy and user-friendliness, which in turn will secure us a bigger portion of the nearly unexplored market.
What plans do you have for the future?
I plan to stay in the tech industry because I enjoy planning and writing software. I will stay tuned with the emerging technology and, when the opportunity arises, pursue exciting ventures without hesitation.