Meet Melda Akin, Founder & Managing Director at D14.AI, a revolutionary Dubai SME, providing AI-driven software platforms for healthcare clinics, gyms and logistics companies.
Q1 Tell us more about your career progression and how D14.AI was founded?
While in secondary school, I learnt to code at the age of 12 and started coding the website on my own. At the age of 17, I landed in the business world as a software developer. This passion brought me to the computer engineering department and then the intelligent engineering systems master’s degree. After that, I held a system analyst, lecturer in the computer engineering department, project management positions and was promoted as the youngest director and management team member at an international tech company to lead operational growth and manage the software development centre. This was a life-changing opportunity for me. Having gained experience in technical management and people management, and growth strategy planning enabled me to start my startup.
Before launching D14.AI, I set up my first company, a digital transformation service, to help international companies grow revenue through digital solutions. After a couple of projects completion, it was obvious that there was a massive opportunity in the AI-enabled scheduling space. As a passionate person to organize the disorganized, I launched D14.AI ( formerly Dimension14) to help healthcare clinics, logistic companies and gyms to optimize their workforce and manage business operations through our AI-driven platform.
Q2 Your leadership skills are exemplary… what sets you apart?
I think a CEO should have strong communication skills, be approachable, available, and build a culture where people have high ownership and feel empowered. It is essential to have these values while insisting on high standards. The startup world is dynamic and requires agile teams. Having high ownership and high standards increase the company success bar and bring several opportunities for employees to learn and develop themselves.
Q3 Tell us more about your cultural background. What do you like to do outside of work?
I'm the woman of Izmir, the modern, liberal environment called 'beautiful city all around Turkey. Growing up in Izmir brought me many advantages, like learning about different cultures and perspectives. It's a great place to live in. I also studied computer engineering and completed my master study in Intelligent Engineering Systems at the Izmir University of Economics.
I love travelling, meeting people from all around the world, getting to know the cultures, countries. As most of us came here in Dubai for the new job, mine was different. Setting up a new business is already an exciting experience, and establishing a startup in a new city, especially one as dynamic as Dubai, was more exciting. I think Dubai is a great place to be as an entrepreneur. There are so many opportunities and valuable lessons for entrepreneurs that they can learn and share.
Once I have free time, I read a lot, enjoy sculpturing from clay and transforming them to bronze and mentor women in tech since I believe it's valuable and a long-term effect on the community.
Q4 Give us a brief overview of D14.AI – how does it operate and what objectives are you looking to achieve?
D14.AI specializes in AI-enabled scheduling. We have founded one year after Stephen Hawking passed away on the 14th of March 2018. We picked 'D' to evoke the word 'Dimension' and picked '14' since Albert Einstein was born on the 14th of March, Stephen Hawking passed away on the 14th of March. Our company values are embodied in his famous quote that 'Intelligence is inspired by change'.
For now, we've two verticals; healthcare and logistics. We help small and medium-size healthcare clinics to schedule their doctors, nurses, rooms and assets. With the help of machine learning, we understand the patients' pattern and learn from their behaviours to provide better, personalized journeys with less hassle and more affordable way. In this part of the world, up to 50% per cent of the appointments either rescheduled or cancelled. It causes a lot of problems to the clinics and revenue loss. We aim to provide a solution for both clinics and patients.
The Last Mile Delivery Schedule optimization is also significant, especially in today's competitive market where different businesses are competing for customer satisfaction, which significantly depends on the riders' schedules' efficiency. Non-optimal schedules impact logistics businesses more than you think. AI-Driven Schedules to ensure that delivery staff work when needed has a significant impact on the delivery performance and revenue generation. Hence the intelligent schedules can create not only more revenue but also increase the delivery success rate.
Q5 Do you have any expansion plans into new territories or activities, any big projects you have in mind (perhaps a technology or organizational overhaul), etc.?
Our mid-term focus is improving our core product – AI scheduling engine and software platform as SaaS for the healthcare and hospitality industry. From a more long-term perspective, we will launch our product in the new markets and launch the B2C scheduling platform that everyone can benefit from to create their schedules easily and interactively.
Q6 COVID-19 has hit economies & workers around the world… how has this impacted your company and what is your outlook for the future?
As we all know, the sudden spread of the COVID-19 pandemic affected most businesses and forced them to change their operations. The lockdown has limited our movements and our experiences and changed the way we live in. Since we currently help two verticals, healthcare and logistics, the pandemic positively affected our business.
Especially, in logistics, due to increased demand during the pandemic, the logistic companies face dynamic scheduling problems. For example, consumers expect their food to be delivered on time while still warm enough to eat. Once we order a product online, we want to get it as soon as possible, and if there's a delay, it makes us worried, even it's just one day delay.
Demand is dynamic and continuously growing. Delivery and logistics companies benefit from D14's technology to evaluate millions of the possible combinations within minutes to shorten the delivery time and rebalance their fleet. D14 technology can schedule more than 1 million orders within minutes and 3000 times faster than other solutions by improving customer satisfaction.
Hopefully, the pandemic will slow down, and we'll all go back to our normal lives where we travel safely and enjoy vacation times. Our next focus is configuring our AI-enabled scheduling engine for the hospitality industry to provide a better guest experience while helping hotels save time and money.