How to Decide if AI Can Help Your Startup Grow

This post originally appeared on the Louisiana Technology Park blog.

We are constantly bombarded with advertisements and articles touting the global use of artificial intelligence at work. And it’s true — AI offers huge advantages in marketing, recruiting, workforce management and other emerging areas. But while there are critical uses for AI-driven software at larger enterprise companies, it isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. AI is no small investment, and the decision to put funding toward it shouldn’t be made lightly.

But how do you know if — or when — AI is right for your startup? “AI-based software can do a surprising number of things for the business, from building products to finding customers to everything else,” says Vin Vashista, chief data scientist at Pocket Recruiter. “But it’s only a good fit if you have the right use case for it.”

Here are some things you should consider before investing in AI-driven software at your startup.

Determine if AI is a Good Fit for You

Before investing in expensive AI software, it’s important to know if it will actually be useful for your startup’s needs. For most local businesses — like restaurants or yoga studios — AI may not be a practical solution, Vashista says. “AI is marketed as a panacea,” he says. “But when you’re looking at everyday small business, AI-based products can be cost-prohibitive.” For companies like these, Vashista suggests using Facebook, Google or other sites that have analytic software embedded.

The best candidates for AI are tech-oriented startups that anticipate rapid growth, can afford the cost on the front end and are familiar with ways to use and manage AI-based software. “It has to fit within the business model,” Vashista says.

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