Unicorn India Ventures, a Mumbai-based VC firm and a group of angel investors have invested $500,000 in Boxx.ai, a Bangalore-based Artificial Intelligence-backed analytics start-up. This is the first institutional round raised by Boxx.ai.
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Angel investors Venky Krishnakumar (Former COO and CFO, Citibank APAC); Suresh Shankar (Founder and CEO, CrayonData); and Vivek Bhargava (CEO, DAN Performance Group) also participated in this round.
Boxx.ai was launched in July 2016 by IIT alumni Ajay Kashyap, Prakhar Raj and Shitiz Bansal. It builds products that use Artificial Intelligence to solve critical analytics problems quickly and at affordable costs.
Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Ventures says, “In the present digital world, we live in; data is ubiquitous. Mining data using Artificial Intelligence is what will provide the cutting edge to businesses in the future. However, for long, analytics has carried a tag of being premium or demanding too much investment upfront in people and technology.
Therein only large corporates could invest in analytics. Boxx.ai aims to change that by simplifying analytics and productising many processes making it cost effective for companies. We view Boxx.ai as being able to productise and democratise analytics. This is what interested us in investing in the company.”
- About AIDA:
AIDA is Boxx.ai’s first product. It enables Internet companies to provide personalised products (for e-commerce companies), personalised content, improved matchmaking and targeted ads.
Ajay Kashyap, co-founder, Boxx.ai says, “AIDA is built around its core ‘Individual identities’ philosophy. Every customer is important and different.
AIDA’s algorithms find hidden patterns within the data to cater to sparse data, are constantly learning with every new piece of data adding a nuance to the personalisation, and are genetically evolving to ensure that the most relevant parameters are selected in every scenario. All of this is to ensure that marketers can reach out to each and every individual customer with an unprecedented level of personalisation.”
AI Startups Getting Funded
The adoption of AI has been on the rise lately. Lately, many Indian startups have got funded in this space.
- Last month, AI-based chatbot Niki.ai had raised funding from global leader in business management software SAP.In May 2016, Ratan Tata invested an undisclosed amount in the startup, along with Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures that did a follow up round to their first seed investment.Niki.ai leverages the technology of natural language processing and machine learning to converse with the customers over a chat interface, and places their orders with the partner businesses.
- Also, recently, Kalaari Capital has invested an undisclosed amount in AI startup Vernacular.ai.The startup launched their first B2C product earlier this year called Aisha, an AI-based personal assistant in Hindi.
- Then, in April, Delhi-based artificial intelligence startup Innefu Labs had raised $2 Mn Series A funding from IndiaNivesh Venture Capital Fund.
- Besides, in October 2016, Freshworks, the Indian SaaS startup acquired Chatimity, a social chat platform that develops artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbot technology.
AI Leap in India
India has nearly 300 start-ups that are using some form of AI, according to Tracxn, a start-up tracker. Among dedicated AI-only Indian start-ups, 23% are working on providing solutions to multiple industries, 15% are in e-commerce, 12% in healthcare, 11% in education, 10% in financial services, and the rest in fields such as retail and logistics, according to a 2017 report by Kalaari Capital, a venture capital firm.
Internet companies tap machine learning techniques for a range of uses—to recommend products for you, for instance, or to predict where cabs should be placed so that when you open your cab-hailing app, there’s one a couple of minutes’ drive away.
Given that some VC firms have burnt their fingers from the funding boom during 2015, VCs are more cautious now and do a lot more due diligence before drawing out money.
Anurag Ramdasan, an investor from 3one4 Capital spoke to YourStory, “It is really important for VCs to be able to understand the details of what the startup is building, including their publications and source code. This is what makes it challenging to be a VC investing in the AI space, as it requires very focused competencies to gauge the startups’ novel progress, and to remain on the cutting edge.”
AI seems to be the tool of choice to drill and leverage data across major companies.Hence, many startups around the globe, are looking to innovate in this space, and VCs, too, are plunging in to invest in deep-tech startups such as this.