Ecosystem: A look at what AI startups have been up to
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way and is going strong, so that the ecosystem is buzzing with activity every day. AI startups continue to rake in funds as they leverage this technology to solve hitherto untried problems in unusual sectors.
Initiatives are on from the likes of NITI Aayog, NASSCOM, as well as educational institutions, Indian IT firms, and several technology and engineering enterprises for transforming the Indian AI market.
According to home-grown independent transaction advisory firm, RBSA Advisors study, investment in AI has augmented in India during the pandemic. With rising investments in AI startups and applications, this emerging tech has the potential to add some US$ 90 billion to the Indian economy by 2025.
In fact, Indian AI startups have attracted funding to the tune of US$ 836.3 million in 2020. In addition, compared to 2019, even though the total number of high-value funding receded, the companies that received funding raked in twice as much in 2020.
Here is a peek into investments in the past few weeks to see what the AI startup ecosystem has been up to.
AI in Service Intelligence
This week, Neuron7.ai, a new cloud-software company focused on the new category of service intelligence, announced a seed investment of US$4.2 million from Nexus Venture Partners and Battery Ventures.
The startup, led by repeat entrepreneurs Niken Patel and Vinay Saini, is helping drive the transformation of customer service into a cloud-based AI-powered workflow, especially for companies that manage multifaceted products in technology, manufacturing, and healthcare, where service organizations are needed to support several product models, versions, errors, and issues.
“AI-driven diagnostics and resolution predictions are just the start. Our vision is that service decisions at scale within a company are accurately taken via a Service Intelligence system of record,” said Neuron7.ai founder and CEO Niken Patel.
B2B sales productivity startup, Nektar.ai raised US$ 6 million seed round of funding led by B Capital Group, 3One4 Capital and Nexus Venture Partners.
AI-driven diagnostics and resolution predictions are just the start. Our vision is that service decisions at scale within a company are accurately taken via a Service Intelligence system of record
A slew of high profile Angel Investors and several prominent market leaders in the US-Asia cross border SaaS ecosystem participated in the round, including Amit Midha (President, APJ at Dell), Ritesh Agarwal (Founder and CEO-OYO Hotels), Kevin Merritt (Ex-President Data and Insights- Tyler Technologies), Evan Davidson (VP APJ at SentinelOne), Deep Nishar (Senior Managing Partner at Softbank), and Tom Donlea (VP and GM APAC- EKATA).
Among other AI startups that raked in moolah is Olive, which deploys an AI workforce built specifically for healthcare, delivering hospitals, and health systems. The startup received US$400 million.
Covariant, an AI Robotics company announced US $80 million in Series C funding. AI computing firm Blaize Inc recived US $71 million from investors that included Temasek and Franklin Templeton.
AI in Cleantech
Sustainable cleantech that uses AI is also attracting much needed attention right now.
MetroRide, India’s first AI-based electric mobility platform received seed funding from angel investors spread across Silicon Valley, New Jersey, and India, including senior global executives like Shailesh Powdwal, Sudhir Pai, Bhagirath Tanna and successful serial entrepreneur Sushant Divakar.
Today, we are asking people to give up their fossil fuel transport system and embrace the EV revolution with love
The funds are in plans for expanding the startup’s all green 100% EV fleet’s footprint in Bengaluru and Delhi NCR, as well as enhancing its AI engine, VIKI. This is also the only startup to solve customer safety by using AI-based fraud detection systems.
“Today, we are asking people to give up their fossil fuel transport system and embrace the EV revolution with love”, said Girish Nagpal, CoFounder and CEO, MetroRide.
Only six months after its launch, MetroRide has already catered to 60,000 customers with an average of 2.01 minutes of wait time per ride. The startup is growing at a 20% rate per week.
The enthusiastic response of consumers and the current funding round indicate a leaning towards clean tech.
Two weeks back, Bill Gates, co-founder of tech giant Microsoft Corporation joined hands with a group of philanthropists, companies, and governments to launch a new climate financing program called Breakthrough Energy Catalyst.
The program seeks to bolster investments in clean tech companies that are vital for the energy transition to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The program will also zero in on speeding up innovation in clean energy projects to ensure cost cutting.
AI is a great place to invest right now, and investors know it. We can expect much more from the sector in the coming future.