Building a Global AI Community: A Conversation with Rudradeb Mitra


In this interview, Richard and Kimon speak with Rudradeb Mitra, CEO and founder of Omdena. He was born in India, moving to England as an adult to complete a master's degree at Cambridge. He worked as an AI researcher and then at a start-up before realizing that making money was not his primary goal in life.

Rudradeb saw that there were many issues in the AI community and tech world, including biases in hiring and general social networking problems. As he explains, when a company is looking to hire, they focus on certain characteristics, backgrounds, and experiences that may overlook plenty of smart and talented engineers.

The main idea behind Omdena was to create a collaborative platform where AI researchers and engineers could crowdsource problem-solving and demonstrate their skills. In nearly four years of operation, Omdena has run over 320 projects with 120 start-ups and non-profit organizations. More than 10,000 people from 105 countries have worked on these projects, participating in local Omdena chapters in over 60 countries. Every month, around 2,000 people apply to work on approximately 20-25 new projects .

Omdena helps pair people to particular programs, keeps track of the best performers, and then helps the top-tier talent find paid work. When a person first signs up for Omdena, they are first given access to educational resources and projects that will help them learn. After completion, they can begin participating in new projects. Success in these projects will then lead to paid work projects with start-ups.

Omdena is unlike many organizations, and it is perhaps best to think of it as a mix between a business and a school. Many people who are members are using it as a resource to gain practical experience, the type of education that is not often emphasized at universities. This practice work is usually to support non-profits or other charitable projects. Outcomes from these projects can then be used to get paid work for a large, for-profit company or a start-up.

Throughout the interview, Rudradeb talks about the ideas, both philosophical and practical, that have influenced him in his endeavors. At the end of the interview, he describes the importance of focus, building a strong and unified culture, and travel.

Rudradeb Mitra is founder and CEO of Omdena.

Omdena is a collaborative platform with over 10,000 data scientists, data engineers, and domain experts from 105 countries. Large development organizations (non-corporations) like the UN, UNHCR, WRI, World Energy Council, and the World Food Program,  as well as impact startups from 60+ countries have worked with Omdena.

Find links to past episodes here.

About our Hosts:

Kimon Fountoukidis:

Kimon is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. He founded both companies in the mid-90s with zero capital, and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. He is passionate about sharing his success with others and working entrepreneurs of all kinds to help them achieve their goals. Listen to his story here. Kimon's on Twitter here.

Richard Lucas:

Richard is a business and social entrepreneur who has founded or invested in more than 30 businesses, including Argos Multilingual, PMR and, in 2020, the New Books Network.

Richard has been a TEDx event organiser for years, supports the pro-entrepreneurship ecosystem, and leads entrepreneurship workshops at all levels. He was born in Oxford and moved to Poland in 1991, where he continues to invest in promising companies and helps other entrepreneurs realise their dreams. Listen to his story in an autobiographical TEDx talk here. Richard is on Twitter here.

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Richard Lucas and Kimon Fountoukidis

Richard Lucas is a business and social entrepreneur who founded, led and/or invested in more than 30 businesses.

Kimon Fountoukidis is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. Both companies were founded in the mid 90s with zero capital and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. Listen to his story here.

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