GIE x Tiliter : Being an engineer at an Australian start-up

Machine Learning Research Engineer Dora (Rui Dong) told Girls In Engineering Club what it is like working as an Engineer in a start-up company Tiliter

Founders, Martin Karafilis, Chris Sampson & Marcel Herz are the brains behind the 10x Accelerator alum startup, Tiliter (the fruit and vegetable scanners you may have seen at Woolworths, as part of their Scan and Go program). According to Cunchbase data the Aussie startup closed a $7.5 Million dollar funding round (led by Investec) for their Cashierless AI Shopping Technology in 2020. A feat that crowned the UNSW accelerated founders as the leading artificial intelligence (AI) providers, whose technology uses computer vision to recognise products without barcodes.

Machine Learning Research Engineer Dora (Rui Dong) chatted to the Girls in Engineering Club what it is like working as an Engineer in a start-up company (and we are here for it).

Tiliter Engineer

Can you tell us who Tiliter are? 
Sydney-based tech company Tiliter makes computer vision products that use the latest in artificial intelligence to automatically and accurately identify objects. Working at the forefront of machine learning and data analytic algorithms, we’re disrupting industry practices and creating the future now. Our mission is to make computer vision accessible to all and we believe that computer vision can change the world for the better.

What is a start-up?
Start-ups are young companies founded to develop a unique product or service, bring it to market and create customer demand. Often known as disruptors, and innovative in nature, start-ups address gaps or deficiencies in existing products or markets or create new kinds of goods and services. They challenge existing ways of thinking and doing business. 

The key differences between a start-up and a small company are that start-ups want to scale up and significantly disrupt the market; they often secure funding from investors through funding rounds in exchange for equity; and the risk level associated with launching a business in a new market or in significantly disrupting an existing market. 

What subjects did you study at school and what other skills are worth having?  
The usual subjects English, PE, Art and all the STEM subjects I could (Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths and Computing). However, it's also important to learn how to self-study. By this I mean trying to solve a problem by yourself! Find solutions on the internet, in a book or from a library on your own.  

What type of Engineers do you have at Tiliter and what do they do? 
We have software, hardware, machine learning, mechanical and UX engineers. Engineer is a broad job title. Generally, engineers handle the technical side of the work at Tiliter. My title is Machine Learning Research Engineer, I ensure our deep learning models can predict fresh produce accurately. I also develop deep learning systems which involves innovation and coding skills.

Why do you like working in an Australian start-up? 
The best part about working in a start-up is every day is new, every day brings different challenges, and you need to solve them. The process of constantly solving problems and the outcome of resolved problems always amazes me and keeps me motivated. 

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