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Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: QuillBot CEO Rohan Gupta (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Nov 22nd 2021
Quillbot CEO Rohan Gupta

Rohan discusses AI-empowered writing as an emerging field. The company has 12 million users and has recently been acquired by Course Hero.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to Quillbot.

Rohan Gupta: I’m a co-founder and CEO of QuillBot. QuillBot is an AI writing platform. We leverage state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to build assistive writing tools to help users in every step of their writing journey whether it’s conducting research, constructing an argument, language generation or refinement. Our mission is to make writing painless.

Sramana Mitra: How do you go to market?

Rohan Gupta: We have a direct-to-consumer platform. We’ve made it so accessible and easy. We’ve gained a lot of word-of-mouth traction as well as seen our search engine ranking perform quite competitively. We were able to amass millions of users in a short time span.

Sramana Mitra: Double-click down on the use cases. Who are using your software and for what use case?

Rohan Gupta: We have a wide variety of demographics who use our platform. We see a lot of adoption amongst students and knowledge workers. Our flagship product is a paraphraser. It allows you to rewrite your text in many different styles or tones. We can make a sentence more formal or more casual. We can make it longer or shorter.

Think about it almost like a full-sentence thesaurus. Students, throughout their academic journeys, have to write major essays, papers, dissertation. Professionals who are non-native English speakers find a lot of value with being able to reframe their thoughts in many different ways.

Sramana Mitra: One thing comes to mind. There is a lot of plagiarism and people just list stuff. What you’re telling me is that there is a software in which you can feed some plagiarized content and it will just paraphrase that writing. Is that a correct observation?

Rohan Gupta: We don’t design our software at all to bypass any plagiarism detector. We discourage our users from misusing the software. We design our software to produce highly-fluent and native-sounding text which may not be sufficiently different from the input to pass a plagiarism detector. The predominant use cases actually involve enhancing grammar and fluency.

In addition to that, we’ve released a suite of writing tools to assist in the research process. For example, we have a citation generator so users can properly attribute work. I can’t talk about it too much, but in a couple of weeks, we are launching a full end-to-end writing solution that will help users conduct research, pull that into a paper, and make recommendations on their underlying argument, and then properly attribute the sources to prevent potential plagiarism.

Sramana Mitra: It sounds like the bulk of your use cases are in the academic context.

Rohan Gupta: We see that about 65% of our users are students. Our professional demographics are growing rapidly, mostly analysts and content writers.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s double-click down on the content writers. There is a very large body of content writers out there who are writing business content. Content marketing is a very big field now. What trends are you seeing in that segment?

Rohan Gupta: The biggest trend is AI disrupting content writing. What we’re seeing is the ability for AI to start writing very natural-sounding text. Unfortunately, a lot of the content produced by AI is not “thoughtful”. The goal is not for the AI to write on behalf of the human but to write with the human.

Sramana Mitra: What are the numbers? How many content writers are writing business content using your tool?

Rohan Gupta: I don’t have the exact numbers for that particular demographic. We have 12 million monthly active users. Out of that, at least three million are business professionals. I would say content marketers are the majority or a very large minority of that user base. So definitely north of a million.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: QuillBot CEO Rohan Gupta
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