Welcome back! Spiffy here, your interplanetary journalist reporting from Planet Earth with an eye on entrepreneurs working to make this world more equitable. Today I’m super excited to speak with Saikiran Chandha, CEO of Typeset, who is trying to disrupt the current way that scientific researchers tpublish their work. Are you ready to be enlightened?
Spiffy: Welcome, Saikiran. Let’s jump right in! What’s your mission and what challenges are you working on?
Saikiran: The world’s scientists are working to solve humanity’s most pressing problems. Unfortunately, they are equipped with archaic tools, with knowledge stored in unstructured formats and published as incomplete narratives. This impedes the speed of discovering or building upon valuable information. Typeset is helping researchers discover, write, collaborate, and publish their research, thereby solving the accessibility and visibility problem in research, and accelerating scientific progress.
Spiffy: So if scientific research were more accessible and visible, that would speed up scientific progress? That’s an interesting cause and effect. What motivated you to tackle this?
Saikiran: Well, Spiffy, as a researcher, my thesis paper was rejected for publishing because it didn’t meet my university’s formatting guidelines. I delved deeper into the problem and discovered that most researchers face this challenge, wasting valuable hours formatting their papers and publishing them in two-dimensional formats (like pdf) and hampering biomedical innovations. Realizing the kind of positive impact a product like Typeset could have on society is what motivated me to capitalize on my challenges and build a sustainable venture to help eliminate the world’s suffering through research.
Spiffy: How would you say this will help create a more equitable world?
Saikiran: Early-career authors and researchers struggle to disseminate and increase the visibility of their research work and are often left behind by grant funders—compared to established researchers and scientists. Typeset is poised to build an equitable, inclusive research community by supporting all the aspiring researchers to publish, distribute, and promote their work with faster time-to-market.
Spiffy: What are some of your key initiatives and what kind of impact do you anticipate it will have?
Saikiran: We help universities make their research articles more accessible and visible. We do this by increasing the citation count of universities, putting all of their papers in one place, and making them machine-readable, which helps them increase search rankings. Our AI-powered solution pulls out hidden publisher copyrights that support open access and unlocks the accessibility of research data. In these trying times of COVID-19, openly available data greatly helps in hypothesis validation and reduces the time to bring drugs to market.
Spiffy: Have you ever experienced failure, Saikiran? What did you learn from failure?
Saikiran: After building the Typeset prototype that won the AngelHack Hackathon, our next step was to build an all-in-one research writing and collaboration platform. The next roadblocks we faced almost ended the business. My co-founder and I had quit our jobs and invested every penny in putting together a team. In just five months, we evaporated all our money, and funding was hard to secure. But, as I always say, grit is greater than IQ. The power of persistence and perseverance prevented me from giving up.
Spiffy: Way to stick with it! What is something unexpectedly you’ve learned recently?
Saikiran: I have learned that persistence and determination are possible when you master the art of not giving up and can pass through setbacks. If you feel like giving up on something, take a break and try again tomorrow. Persistence will solve the problems, but you should know to pick the right problem and let go of the wrong ones.
Spiffy: Before we sign off, is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Saikiran: It is very important to reflect on your choices, endeavor to solve the problem you are passionate about, be genuinely curious, and persevere. Society will eventually repay you with success. I also believe in being kind and thoughtful. Kindness spreads like confetti and always accelerates and scales your success. If you help others and give back to the community, they will help you in return.
Spiffy: These are certainly wise words of advice. Thanks for telling us about your vision and work with Typeset, Saikiran. It’s been an honor!
Saikiran Chandha, CEO of Typeset, is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and speaker who has aggressively worked on transforming the way research is written and disseminated. He has been awarded the Times of India 40 under 40 and speaks at conferences on topics such as open access and entrepreneurship. He holds a master’s degree in software engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) and is an Ignite Alumni of Stanford University Graduate School of Business. (First published on the Ladderworks website on August 17, 2021.)
© 2021 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jill Landis Jha. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. Follow Spiffy’s interviews of founders building a more equitable world here.