Pushing The Envelope For What’s Possible

Feb 26, 2023

Article Link: https://www.amadorvalleytoday.org/33837/features/pushing-the-envelope-for-whats-possible-shantanu-roy-20-creates-ai-startup/

Two years ago, AV Alum Shantanu Roy (‘20) founded Quasi Ventures, a software startup specializing in generative artificial intelligence. Quasi offers a variety of tools to aid professionals and casual users, helping them create products ranging from art to web development.

“AI is going to become bigger than the Internet. We want people to have fun and enjoy what it’s like to have another tool in your arsenal. I think that we, as humanity, are inherently very creative. Having another tool at your disposal will be really beneficial,” said Roy.

The secret to success

Throughout his time at Amador, Roy was involved in various clubs. By exploring different activities, Roy found his entrepreneurial spirit.

“[At Amador], I did DECA and before that, I used to run this club called the Spring Science Extravaganza. It was a huge science event where we brought 2000 elementary school kids to Amador and just showed them the world of science. It was very entrepreneurial of me because we didn’t have money, and I had to raise $6,000 in three days. It’s those entrepreneurial things on top of doing DECA that were really helpful,” said Roy.

Currently, Roy is studying sales and management at Purdue University, a top engineering school known for its STEM programs. Attending a school that aligned with his goals inspired Roy to dream big and create Quasi. 

“Purdue is a really good place for talented builders. I think that one big difference between the Bay Area with Berkeley or Stanford is that there’s a lot of people that like to talk about the future. They talk at you so much that you believe that they’re building [products]. At Purdue, people are just building the products and creating value,” said Roy.

A team effort

With 8 employees, Quasi is continuously working on cutting-edge software products. While these products serve different functions, they all use AI to boost creativity and productivity for users.

“I feel like I’m really inspired by my team. The people that I work with are some of the most brilliant people that I’ve ever met. For instance, we have a difficult deadline that we’re trying to meet. We have to build an entire app with AI in two weeks. The team just loves the work so much, it inspires me every single day to come in and push the envelope for what’s possible,” said Roy.

From dreams to reality

Investing heavily into AI, Microsoft recently partnered with Quasi, funding over half-a-million dollars into product development. Quasi has been developing generative AI since late 2021, gaining traction with over 2000 users. 

“We just need to keep building experiences that we know people will want. We don’t want to focus only on what people want now, but also what people need in the future. [We want to] build it and start getting the foundations now. When the tech is ready, we can plug it in instantly,” said Roy.

The company is also working on new innovative apps that have not been seen before such as Quasi Fiction, a social media platform where you can see original AI-generated stories curated for you. For Roy, the creativity and collaboration that comes with entrepreneurship is the best part.

“I think being a startup founder really gives me a unique opportunity to be like: hey, I’m building something really cool and I want to share it. But before I share, I want to learn more about you. I want to see if there is something that will work here. Whether it’s with investors, peers, or potential employees, there’s a lot of networking that happens. It’s not forced, it’s very organic,” said Roy.