How a Uni Project (CLVR) landed itself in BNZ Start up awards Finalists list !

This is an amazing success story of a university project that must be told to NZ companies and it's millennials. It all started with an email from Dr Rashina Hoda from the University of Auckland inviting me to propose a software project for her Agile Software Engineering course for the Software Engineering final year students. Around the same time, I was doing research on various Artificial Intelligence APIs, technologies and techniques.The thing that was bothering me that machines would be able to do everything we do manually, but how will they understand humans. In the end, we are going to create those machines or programs, so is there anything available that can understand Human emotions and personalities ?

I met my mentor and Getskills Advisor Marc Potter ( to discuss my findings and this opportunity to work on a project with Uni students. Marc is Harvard Alumni and a brilliant coach to young crazy guys like me. I told him that I would like to quantify the emotions and personalities, do the total and show it to the people who really need to see them.

Marc liked the thought of capturing emotions and personalities by simply listening to the customers. So we decided to put a proposal in for Uni to build something that can extract emotions and personality of the people talking to it.

Fortunately, Uni crew selected our project and idea and here we were attending the initial presentation event with our group, quite excited, nervous and confused. It was at that moment we decided that it has to be a business app that companies can use to understand its customers, employees and its overall organization culture. I still remember, I couldn't stop asking everybody in our crew if they actually knew how to do programming, integrate Rest APIs, java etc.


The team named itself dawndev. It was an amazing group of students with girls in the majority and from different cultural backgrounds. Somehow, I felt this team had built a connection with this idea on the first day itself. They proved me right when we all started meeting for our project discussions.


We followed Agile Model for this delivery using Trello, user stories, product backlog concepts etc. We decided to split the team into small groups to start the development of various features in parallel e.g one group developed login feature , other integration of AI services and third for Android Front end.

In the process, we had so many discussions on how to build a simple solution that should be convenient to use by customers. So eventually the team built a nice and easy app.

I and Marc finally went to attend the presentation on the final presentation day. We were completely blown away with the final demo as this was for the first time we were looking at the end to end integration. In the demo, the team talked to the Android App, submitted the results and in less than a minute a PDF with answers transcripts, Audio links, Emotional and personality analysis arrived in Demo inbox.


It was amazing to see the audience response to see something like this.

After the final presentation, I and Marc decided to take this idea to the market to get the actual customer feedback. We discussed this with quite a few companies and customer experience manager. Everyone said "It is a really cool App". I then came across this BNZ Start up awards competition. I and Marc spent a couple of weeks writing a Business plan for it and submitted it for the final review. To our surprise, we made it to the top 6 finalists of these awards and got 1000 NZD as a reward for being a finalist.

We lost the competition, though , but judges appreciated the whole idea and it's implementation alot.


The endless hours of development, research and testing effort of these students can't be converted into a dollar value, I reckon. I reckon our young grads are better prepared for the future than all of us. So why not invest in them, coach them and seek their help to solve the problems of tomorrow :-)
P.S. the Agile software development course runs each year at the University of Auckland, and call for industry proposals are posted sometime in June. Don’t miss out!

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