Tampa AI startup aims to help businesses reach their goals

Satyam “Sat” Ramphal has grown up in an era when digital bits of ones and zeroes have always guided a computer-reliant world.

Now 27, Ramphal has turned the experiences and knowledge he’s garnered over a lifetime dabbling in technology into successful entrepreneurship -- through the help of “Maya.”
 
Along with his brothers Sean, 33, and Shivam, 21, Ramphal co-founded XiByte, a Tampa-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) company guided through the use of Maya, a robot programmed to help business people reach their business goals and reduce the time spent in operations, research, and development.
 
The overall goal of XiByte, says Ramphal, is to help entrepreneurs start and run their own companies, with a focus on the growth and stability of the business.

Ramphal, who lives in Tampa, says his AI company is creating “innovation freedom” for entrepreneurs. He states Maya helps entrepreneurs build businesses by using a criteria-based formula to predict their levels of success over the next year. After those predictions are set, Maya brings up a list of operational tasks to complete to increase the level of success, all on her own.

“With large partner networks, she employs those tasks without the users’ input; she’s like a ‘virtual co-founder of companies’,” he says.
 
What makes XiByte and Maya special, according to Ramphal, is he knows of no other AI companies with AI components acting as an operations manager and is technology-based -- it’s always human. 

“We’re the first company that’s been able to run that on technology and its broad operations,” says Ramphal, who graduated from Tampa Bay Technical High School in 2012 and attended the University of South Florida before launching XiByte. 

Ramphal says he has always been “tech-savvy” and when he was 19, he saw how the Internet was controlling changes in technology. That’s when he and his brothers decided to run XiByte as a technology and marketing services company using automated tech services. 

Since developing and marketing Maya, Ramphal says clients and users have commented on the digital device’s abilities to runs operations and predict the success of businesses.
 
Additionally, Ramphal says Maya helps users stay healthy while dealing with the difficulties of entrepreneurship. These include how to maintain continuous healthy lifestyles, including when and how to take breaks, incorporating meditation, keeping abreast of changes in a certain industry, gaining knowledge about products, developing stable market fits and promoting healthy entrepreneurial lifestyles.

“We’ve gone through some things in our pasts and we know the depression and stress that can be formed and the toll it can take; it has even led to the death of some entrepreneurs who have committed suicide,” Ramphal cautions. “It’s a good focal point for our company that we like to promote and help engage health entrepreneurial lifestyles.”

Maya was developed in 2017 and launched in Dec. 2019, not as an operational Internet Robot but as an AI business “virtual co-founder.” Ramphal adds that wasn’t its original purpose. 

“What’s crazy is this product kind of evolved itself into being like this. It was never planned to be like the way became,” he says. “Day after day, week after week, we kinda saw it evolve itself and we saw the opportunities of what it became.”

Although the Ramphals have a XiByte office in downtown Tampa, due to the coronavirus, much of their work is currently being done at home. Besides the brothers, the company employees a salesperson and an Information Technologies worker -- one in New York City and one based in Israel.

And all of XiByte’s staff -- along with Maya’s know-how -- focus on problems start-up businesses face. Ramphal says many times, new entrepreneurs spend 98 percent of their work time in logistics and 75 percent keeping their businesses functioning. 

“They don’t get the ability to innovate and they don’t get to the ability to grow their company the way they’re supposed to. They’re too focused on day-to-day operations and not talking to customers. “We decided to extrapolate that component of operations management and put that into Maya.”

To keep XiByte and Maya rolling, the company is financed through the brothers’ own pockets although they’re looking to get seed funding. They’ve also begun AI Ventures, Australia -- a 12-week incubator-accelerator program for start-up companies focused on AIs. Ramphal says that will help increase company expansion and enter into the Australian markets, what he says is one of the top five countries in the world for entrepreneurship. 

As for future plans, Ramphal says he and his staff by 2025 want to make Maya completely free for students. He says they’re working on initiatives with few entrepreneurial leaders in Tampa to create a program for kindergarten to twelfth grades through Tampa Bay Wave -- a centralized hub in downtown Tampa for start-up company support -- and other top entrepreneur leaders in Tampa. That “gamified” version of Maya will take youths on the entrepreneurial journey through interactive computer games.
 
Lastly, Ramphal says the ongoing COVID-19 crises has been somewhat of a boon to XiByte since it’s an at-home virtual business advice company. He says it has become a “huge resource for everyone” and wants to carry on the benefit.

“The incidents of start-up failures are so great. The value out of that is we want to help reduce the amount of failure that happens,” he says. “I think we’re doing that.”

Ramphal says XiByte is currently hiring and is particularly looking for partners in the technical side of the company. In addition, he and his staff are working with private universities such as Lakeland’s Florida Polytechnic University to begin an internship program to bring in AI talent. 
 

Read more articles by Paul Catala.

Paul Catala is a freelance writer whose work has been published across Florida, the U.S., and internationally. He has more than 30 years of experience working at the Charlotte Sun-Herald, the Tampa Tribune, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the Provo (Utah) Daily-Herald, The (Lakeland) Ledger, and the Associated Press. He has a degree in broadcast telecommunication from the University of Florida and did post-graduate study in journalism at the University of South Carolina. Now living in Lakeland, Paul is an accomplished musician, playing keyboard and piano both solo and with bands around the Tampa Bay Area.  
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