Analytics Vidhya turns 4 – A journey from a part-time blog to Top Data Science Knowledge Portal
Analytics Vidhya turns 4 today
Analyticsvidhya.com was registered on this day 4 years ago. In these 4 years, what started as a part time blog has transformed into one of the top data science portal across the globe. What started with an aim to make sure that Kunal (our founder) learns regularly is now helping millions of people learn data science daily.
We are celebrating our 4th anniversary this month. We are reminiscing the last 4 years which have brought us here. All the hard work, patience, struggle, joy, excitement and recognition is running through our memory, is reflecting in our sentiments and our discussions.
Today, we serve millions of data enthusiasts to learn analytics and we have a global community of more than 50,000 registered users. But, these numbers tell you a very small part of the story. We live by a dream of unleashing a new era based on data science. What you might not have seen or heard is the inside story of how things happened during this journey.
The story of building Analytics Vidhya is driven by sheer passion & perseverance. We rarely share the inside story of what goes behind building our product / event at Analytics Vidhya whether it’s a hackathon or an article. If you have been touched by our impact, you will definitely relate to the journey.
Let’s travel back in time and see the journey of AV!
How and why did Analytics Vidhya start?
It was during his stay at Aviva that Kunal realized the need for data science community & lack of hands-on analytics training among professionals.
Data Science (popularly referred to as Analytics then) was still an emerging field and people were looking for informative resources in data science. Most of the professionals relied on their natural networks to get this knowledge or information.
To address this gap, Kunal started a part-time blog. The idea was to share his knowledge & perspective with a larger audience. Kunal Jain, the Founder of the company showed Analytics Vidhya the first light of the day in April 2013. Little did Kunal know that we would reach this far.
Check out some of the blogs written initially by Kunal.
- Welcome to Analytics Vidhya!
- Basics of Predictive modeling
- How to identify a good (and bad) Business Analyst?
The initial blog page looked something like this.
It’s the will that will take you forward
Managing a part time blog with a regular job is definitely not easy. And so was for Kunal. He would work during the day and write blogs at night. There were days when he would often go without sleep. It is his will & passion for data science which hasn’t budged till date.
The first viral article
Until July 2013, the number of visits on the blog stayed between 50-100 visits a day. Kunal was relying on his Linkedin connections to share information about the blog.
Then in August 2013, Kunal published this article Must read books for Analysts and for the first time AV received more than 500 visits a day. As Kunal says “That was the moment I knew we were there to stay”. He said he even circulated a screenshot of the Google Analytics app to friends and family that day !!
A few days later, Kunal had something big happening at the personal front – he was blessed with a baby girl. To make sure he posts an article every week, he announced the birth of his daughter like this sitting beside the baby incubator. A true analyst!
Getting the initial team together
After about 6 months of existence of the blog, Kunal got his first team member. Kunal and Tavish had worked together at Aviva and both of them shared the same passion for anything data. Tavish started to contribute to Analytics Vidhya while doing his day job.
Sunil also started writing articles on Analytics Vidhya from Dec 2013, while keeping his job. Now, they were a team of 3 people with only one motive, to make Analytics Vidhya leading data science & analytics knowledge portal in the world.
This was also the time Kunal decided to take the plunge and start doing Analytics Vidhya full time. In summer of 2014, Analytics Vidhya hired first two interns – Abhinav Unnan & Adithya Chowdary from IIT Roorkee & IIT Kharagpur respectively. Internships will go on to play a key role in future.
On Turning One
The first office setup was a single room with a few laptops and chairs. It was in the same apartment in which Kunal lived with his family. The company operated from there for 2 years.
One thing which defines any company is the leadership of the founder. Kunal has believed in sharing the knowledge & creating more leaders. He has always gone to great lengths to help people & train analytical minds. And this is the same thing he has maintained in Analytics Vidhya. To help people progress in their career we go to any extent.
To produce more leaders in data science, in the same year we launched our very first AV apprentice program.
To provide a dedicated platform for data science discussion, the company rolled out the Discuss portal. After several testing, the Discuss portal went live in Jan 2015.
The first version of Discuss portal looked like this:
Growth & Expansion
In a span of 2 years, the company had grown from a small blog to one of the top data science blogs in the world. Two more people were hired and now they were a total team of 5.
In April 2015, the company completed 2 years. We celebrated two years of the company and celebrated with the very first competition AV Turns 2, which was held on Facebook.
By then we were getting a lot of request for career guidance on data science. To let people have a chance to interact with Kunal directly and to help people start their data science career we launched AV meetups in May 2015. The first meetup was held in Delhi followed by Bangalore & Mumbai. Chennai meetup started later in the same year.
In July 2015, AV conducted its first hackathon – Predict the Megastar. This was a remarkable moment in the history of AV. The initial plan was to host the hackathon on the Discuss platform and ask participants to mail their solutions. But the night before the hackathon Kunal decided to build a hackathon platform. The first hackathon platform was developed overnight by Kunal with help from a few friends.
And it looked something like this:
Here’s what Kunal wrote about it,
I am sure the designers and UI / UX specialists out there would discern at this screen, but there was something magical about it. It just did what it was supposed to – tell people the accuracy of their solutions through a simple interface. The simplicity and responsiveness of platform clicked with the users and we had close to thousand submissions over a 2 day period!
This was the Eureka moment when Kunal knew he was about to build something much bigger than what he had thought.
The First Feature
Analytics Vidhya was making a mark in the industry. The company started getting featured at various analytics conclaves in colleges, companies, TechStory and several other industry newsletters.
Kunal was soon getting recognized as the leader in analytics space and Analytics Vidhya was gaining recognition for the unique knowledge & opportunities it was providing people.
In 2016, Analytics Vidhya published a salary report in association with Jigsaw Academy. The report was featured by Economic Times, The Hindu, and few others.
Launch of DataFest & the story further
In 2016, on the third anniversary of AV we launched DataFest, our first biggest online event. It was the biggest event in the history of AV and saw huge participation from data scientists, analyst all over the world.
Our first DataFest web page looked like this.
After the success of first DataFest, we continued to add more resources for our community to learn & grow in leaps n bounds. User profiles were added to the hackathon platform. We launched several strategic thinking competitions, skill tests, minihacks, AMAs & workshops to help people upskill themselves. By now, we were conducting our signature hackathon almost every 2 months.
In the September 2016, we launched our very first student hackathon. The large participation from students left us stunned with their knowledge. We were certain that our mission to spread awareness about data science was getting accomplished.
In December 2016, we launched a revamped job portal. The new portal has individual user profiles and lets you track jobs in a more organized fashion.
We have come far from where we started. The journey has not been easy, but it has been immensely fulfilling. The road ahead is even more exciting. We see data science getting tremendous attention and we see making a much larger impact in the coming years.
I am going to end this story by a lovely poem from Robert Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep…