TARA tackles diversity in tech with AI

1 September 2017 / , / By Kaila Lawrence

Imagine being able to press a button and hire the best qualified freelancer for your specific project’s needs.

Well, I hope you’re sitting down because I’m about to blow your mind.

No, this isn’t some crazy sci-fi fantasy movie… the ability to source and hire top talent within hours by literally pressing a button is a reality, my friends. I’d like to introduce you to TARA — Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Automation. TARA is a machine learning platform that automates your product scoping process, and helps hire the perfect person to speed your software development. When you press The Button, TARA uses over 120 data points to analyze a network of 50,000 (and growing) pre-assessed contractors to find the best match for your specific project’s needs. It also pings existing databases of open source repositories to help predict project outcomes using machine learning. #science

Aside from being totally cutting-edge and ultra-convenient, TARA solves a bigger issue plaguing Silicon Valley and beyond: pedigree bias in hiring. 120 data points is a lot, but where the contractor went to college is not one of them. TARA is a pure meritocracy based on an AI analysis of candidate’s work: code complexity and language, skill level, syntax, plagiarism, and even community notoriety on platforms like Github.

According to BBC:

TARA analyses and ranks programmers’ code, removing biographical information such as age, race, gender or where you have worked in the past or where you went to university. The algorithm means that people are judged on the work they have produced rather than who they are or who they know.

All of this tech magic is too good not to dive in deeper. So, I chatted with co-founders Iba Masood and Syed Ahmed to hear more about how TARA was born.

How did you team up and decide this idea was worth pursuing as a business?


TARA co-founders Syed Ahmed and Iba Masood

TARA co-founders Syed Ahmed and Iba Masood

Syed: During my tenure with government projects in Brisbane, Australia, I saw firsthand how prediction systems could play a major role in improving time and productivity outcomes for software projects. McKinsey published statistics on how 40% of IT projects fail or go over time and over budget. Iba was at McKinsey a few years ago and it kickstarted her obsession with robotic process automation and the contractor workforce.

Iba: I’ve been fascinated by the world of work, and how autonomous systems can vastly improve efficiencies in operations. Forbes published an astounding study on how 50% of the workforce will be freelancing by the year 2020. We had a hypothesis on how corporate environments will drastically change over the next 5 years and decided to tackle the problem head-on. Syed and I met in undergrad, and with his background in robotics, it made sense to join forces and work on TARA!

What has been the company’s biggest challenge? How did you overcome it?

Our biggest challenge has been maintaining a level of focus on growth and product goals. As founders, there are 100 things that you need to be doing everyday. Maintaining a focus on weekly growth numbers and continuing to talk to our users and customers has enabled us to build for our user base, and focus on the things that matter.

Describe your proudest moment with the company and what it meant to you.

Our proudest moment to date has been achieving permanent residence just a few weeks ago and receiving our green card confirmations. We submitted applications that were over 400 pages to get our extraordinary ability EB-1 approvals.

Where do you envision TARA 5 years from now?

With Version 3 releasing in September, we’re excited to enable teams to build their software products faster, more efficiently, and automate hundreds of manual processes in software development. We are pushing to become an API-based builder, where non-technical users can drag and drop features to program their product builds. With TARA’s learning abilities, we envision her being powered by millions of open-source projects on the web, and recommending methods of software development that are faster and more efficient to our users.

If you’re interested in how TARA can help your business, give them a shout here.

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