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Chat Bots Charm Ratan Tata, Another AI Startup Clinches Funds

Chat Bots Charm Ratan Tata, Another AI Startup Clinches Funds
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Making his tenth investment of the year, Ratan Tata has yet again been wooed by a startup. This time it’s in the artificial intelligence space.

The artificial intelligence startup, Niki.ai, has done pretty well in its funding round raising an undisclosed amount of funding from not only the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons but also from Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures. This is the second investment Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures has made in the startup after raising an undisclosed amount of funding in its seed round.

Chat bots Are The Future

A unique startup, Niki.ai is a bot that lets users order anything through a chat interface. Founded in 2015 by four IIT Kharagpur Alumni – Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi, the app leverages natural language processing and machine learning technologies to converse with customers over a simple chat interface, and places their orders with partner businesses within seconds.

The company works on a channel partnership model and generates revenue for every order processed on its platform. Already working with 25 brands, Niki is also working with brands to provide them chat bots, or robots that can have meaningful conversations, for their use in case and application. It claims that the product supports end-to-end bookings for Ola and Uber cabs and has a first-of-its-kind in-chat payment option using the Paytm wallet.

Currently, Niki chatbot offers bill payments, cab booking, recharge, food ordering, home services, and cricket scores among other services to its users. It has a user base of 40,000 spread across India, the company said in its statement.

Sachin Jaiswal, chief executive officer of Niki.ai said in a statement, "It's a proud moment for the company to have an investment from Tata and for Unilazer to do a follow-on round. With the continued support from our investors, we now want to expand aggressively across categories."

The company intends to use the funds to strengthen technology and to increase the base of partner businesses.

AI Space Is Growing

Recently, we have seen a growth in the Artificial Intelligence industries which are gaining attention of the investors. This is Ratan Tata’s second investment itself in an AI startup after investing in Infinite Analytics, an artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics.

Speaking about this growth in AI startups, Screwvala said, “Chatbots have now picked up globally and Niki has been at the forefront of this innovation, building the technology for over a year now. We continue to support the team as we believe in their vision to simplify transactions for consumers.”

Other startups which have raised significant funding in the AI space are includes Arya.ai, Retention.ai, Active.AI etc.

Edition: December 2016

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