Staqu, an artificial intelligence(AI) startup focused on automated image recognition has bagged an undisclosed amount in funding from the Indian Angel Network(IAN). The funding round was led by Ajay Gupta, Bikky Khosla and Neeraj Singal on behalf of the IAN.

This is the first round of funding that the Gurgaon-based startup has raised. The funds infused into the company — as Atul Rai, the co-founder and CEO puts it — will be used to build capabilities and expand the computational strength of their AI research lab(VGrep Lab).

The main focus will be on beefing up the computational power with clusters of GPU’s and other technical resources. But, it will also work on expanding its team(from 15 to 25) and clients by raising awareness about AI technology, a fairly new concept in India. He further goes on to add that,

Currently, we are applying our research to solve pressing problems in the e-commerce sector. In the near future, we are planning on use it to address issues across other market segments, too. Throughout the funding process, our ideas were constantly cross-questioned, which helped us set a clear vision and goals.

Staqu expects to create a niche for their products in the e-commerce and mobile sector. It has currently partnered with PayTM, YepMe and is looking to increase its tie-ups and widen its revenue stream in the near future. The aim of the company is to minimize costs by automation of crucial e-commerce tasks.

Bikky Khosla, one of the key investors in this investment round will also be joining Staqu’s management board. He expresses his enthusiasm on becoming a part of a revolutionary tech and says that,

Staqu AI engine is the best that we have seen and can help increase the sales of its e-commerce customers by delivering superior customer experience. The team is rock solid with background in research and product development.

Core Strengths

Staqu is a Gurgaon-based AI startup which was founded in 2015 to help automate some crucial task in the e-commerce sectors, like image searching, tag generation and real-time product recommendation. The key areas of focus for the company include image processing, deep learning, computer vision, NLP and overall improvement of users’ daily mobile experience.

The product developed by the company includes the VGrep API Suite that compromises of a virtual search engine and a hybrid recommendation engine. For example, the image-product search feature that has been implemented in PayTM or YepMe works on Staqu’s technology. It helps you click or upload the image of a fashion clothing or accessory, and then show matching outfits after checking it against their product database.

The team’s core strength is to present a feasible output(i.e product) after research and make the user experience effortless. Recently, the team has also developed a bi-directional image understanding technology i.e it can both understand and convert image to text or text to image. This is Staqu’s one of the ground-breaking technologies that will help people better understand images.

Staqu was also chosen amongst the top four startups by IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program as part of their Smart Camp challenge. It was seen as the most promising B2B startup in the regional round, i.e North India.

Both Microsoft and Facebook are also implementing similar techniques to help the blind recognize a face or emotion depicted in an image. Facebook first demoed this feature at the F8 Developer conference, where the AI could identify their friend in a photo and then speak out what it sees aloud.

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