We’re celebrating Indiana University student innovators and entrepreneurs who are clients of the Shoebox, the university’s student-startup incubator. Located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center in Luddy Hall on the Bloomington campus, the Shoebox provides 24/7 office space to help student entrepreneurs build, launch and sustain their businesses.
Meet Deep Word
Ankush Bikkasani, a senior from Tampa, Florida, majoring in finance at the Kelley School of Business, founded Deep Word. The company produces synthetic videos of people talking without having to film them saying the words.
“Video production is an incredibly time- and cost-intensive process. For midrange production quality, most companies spend four hours and $500 to $1,000 per minute of edited video,” Bikkasani said.
“Deep Word can create, update and personalize synthetic videos for companies at one-tenth the time and cost it takes to produce them traditionally. All we need is a 10-second video of the person we want to see talking and the audio or text we want them to say. With those, we can create endless content, personalized at scale.”
Bikkasani said Deep Word has developed security measures to stop the production of malicious content.
“We are able to view all inputs uploaded to our platform, and we can stop production before a video is returned to its creator,” he said. “We also have an auto flagging system that detects potentially malicious content and holds it for our manual review.”
Deep Word’s present and future
Deep Word recently won Elevate Ventures’ pre-seed pitch award of $20,000, Bikkasani said. The company is also approaching $1,500 in monthly recurring revenue and is finalizing talks to pilot with a few companies in the medical, educational and software-development spaces.
“We are currently working on higher-resolution output for our product,” Bikkasani said. “We are on track to reach nearly photorealistic video quality before summer.”
Deep Word is currently targeting three markets. In corporate communications, it is lowering employee turnover rates by personalizing the employee onboarding experience. With e-learning, it is increasing student retention by adding teacher camera feeds to video lectures. The company has also begun integrations into CRM software, allowing sales teams to personalize their email outreach videos and onboarding teams to personalize new-customer product walkthroughs.
Praise for the Shoebox
“The Shoebox provides an excellent network of like-minded student entrepreneurs,” Bikkasani said. “We have received lots of helpful feedback from the group and have been made aware of relevant opportunities for our startup. It is by far the greatest resource for student startups on the IU Bloomington campus.”
Student startups can apply for 24/7 access to the Shoebox’s office space, which is located in the Shoemaker Innovation Center, Luddy Hall 2150. The Shoebox also collaborates with the Hoosier Hatcher pre-incubator at the Kelley School of Business as well as Bloomington’s Dimension Mill startup accelerator. To apply for coworking space, email firstname.lastname@example.org.