True North: Pioneering Analytics, Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence
True North was a private equity fund that specialized in the growth and buyout of mid-market, India-centric companies. The leadership team initially believed that technology was not core to traditional businesses and steered clear of new age technology-oriented businesses. Then, in 2007, True North invested in Meru Cabs, a ride-sharing service with a growing fleet of cabs that had to change its business model with the launch of tech-based platforms like Uber. This experience led True North to significantly alter its stance on the importance of technology-powered business models. The team learned that all businesses needed to effectively become technology businesses to remain relevant. True North initiated the "Analytics, Algorithms and Artificial Intelligence" (3A) project. A system, Kelp, was designed and developed internally to facilitate the transformation of True North into an AI-first firm based on the introduction of data-driven decision making and productivity-enhancing digital tools. In 2020, as different elements of Kelp were launched, the leadership team met to discuss the future of this technology.