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This Conversational AI Startup is Empowering the Next Billion Digital Users Niki.ai, the startup disrupting the rural boundaries to bring the regional users online

By Aastha Singal

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Only 20 per cent of the 530 million Indian internet users consume content in English. Rest prefer vernacular languages. According to a recent report by research and consulting firm RedSeer, 260 million Indian users are "monetizable". Nearly 210 million of these users, with an annual spending power of $300 billion, prefer digital content in vernacular languages.

"India has added Internet users at 8X speed in the last 10 years driven by small towns and villages, not by large cities," the report stated. Most of such people used to go to an agent when they wanted to book a train ticket for their next Vaishno Devi trip with their family, wanted an instance plan and wanted someone to help them with a purchase. Now, all these services are available online.

Vernacular Empowering Internet

AI-powered conversational commerce startup, Niki.ai is empowering the next billion internet users with a unique chat and voice interface that makes transactions convenient and fast. It is a virtual agent that's handholding the next billion users in online transactions. The conversational AI tool assists users through every step of the payment process for a fulfilling online experience.

Sachin Jaiswal, founder and CEO of Niki.ai said, "Our users are the next set of users in India who are now warming up to the internet ecosystem, starting their digital journey with their smartphone and are struggling to understand and adopt smartphones. Either it is because they need assistance or because they're not comfortable with the language, they're not comfortable with the user interfaces."

The startup is focusing on the next set of users that are coming online, users who come from Tier-2, Tier-3 markets and are not exactly comfortable in English. Through the app, people who have been used to the offline experiences of purchase can experience the convenience that the online ecosystem offers without the hassle that they typically have to go through.

Transforming the Digi-savvy World

The world is rapidly adopting disruptive technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and others. There's an immense opportunity of using technology for solving the right consumer problem. In a conversational ecosystem, the likes of Alexa are already disrupting the field. Niki is making a difference by extending the power of voice and vernacular transactions to over 12,000 locations.

"More than 50 per cent of the world is to still adopt the digital ecosystem. If you really want them to jump frog to superior user experience, it is best to do that with the conversational system," Jaiswal suggested. Niki has partnered with payment platforms like Google Pay or Amazon Pay to get to a large base of audience.

Niki.ai launched its vernacular platform in October 2018 and since then, has seen a massive 300x growth in GMV contributed by Hindi users, at an annualized run rate of INR 70 crore. Backed by Ratan Tata, Ronnie Screwvala, SAP.iO among others, with over 4.5 million users, the app recently made its services available in Bengali.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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