Niki.AI, the Ratan Tata and SAP backed AI startup, is back in the fund raising business. The AI upstart, has now secured a fresh series A round of close to 13.3 crore ($2 million) from SAP.iO and Unilazer Ventures, both of whom who had previously invested in it.
About a month ago, SAP.iO — the artificial intelligence fund of SAP, invested for the first time in the Ratan Tata backed Niki.ai.
This current round of funding also had previous investor Haresh Chawla from True North, Arihant Patni, the managing director at Hive technologies, and a few American and German investors.
The investment in Niki.ai is a first time Indian-based startup investment for German giant SAP’s fund, SAP.iO. The fund was started in March 2017 with plans to invest between $10,000 and $250,000 in 10-15 deals this year and gradually scale up its operations next year.
Following this deal, CEO of Niki.ai Sachin Jaiswal said,
The injection of the new capital will be used in further strengthening our machine learning capabilities, building voice and multilingual functionalities, and expanding our distribution network
The company was founded in December 2016 by four alumni from IIT Kharagpur and initially raised Rs. 3 crore from Haresh Chawla and Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures.
In a statement, Screwvala said,
In less than two years we have made progress in multiple spheres and struck diversified relationships with a majority of corporate India. In the last year, I did three follow-up rounds with Niki given its track record and the right entrepreneur founders at the helm
Niki.ai, which has its own artificial intelligence based personal assistant mobile application, offers support for several categories ranging from entertainment to travel and everyday utilities. The startup has several tie-ups with prominent companies in each field such as BookMyShow, Redbus, Oyo, travel aggregators Ola and Uber, and payments service JustRechargeIt.
Last year, the company launched a bot for Messenger which brought several services into the Facebook server that users could use. From booking cabs to paying bills and recharging phones, the bot had every function available.
Following this, the AI company has now released a Chatbot software development kit (SDK) to help businesses. This new SDK is expected to help businesses ease their way of carrying out e-commerce on their platforms.
Companies that presently use this include HDFC Bank, Intex, Oxigen Wallet, and Zopo Mobile. There are about forty other such partnerships presently lined up to go live and also plans to train the software to understand Indian languages.