Indian Angel Network (IAN), Indian angel investor network, announced undisclosed investment in Gurgaon-based Staqu, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) focused research startup working in automated image understanding technology. Bikky Khosla, Neeraj Singal and Ajay Gupta led the round on behalf of IAN. The funding will be used to further build and democratize technology and strengthen the team.

Staqu, founded in 2015, comprises of researchers and engineers as a part of its core team.

Atul Rai, co-founder and CEO said, “We plan to invest this round to expand the computational strength of our VGrep Lab (AI research lab at Staqu) and fuel it with clusters of GPUs and other technical resources. 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’s key focus areas include image processing, deep learning, computer vision, NLP and overall improvement of users’ daily mobile experience through an amalgamation of AI and engineering.

The core strength is to convert our research into product and solve some of the very crucial real world problems. Recently the team has developed a bidirectional image understanding technology i.e. automated image to text and text to image discovery. It’s a combination of various reinforcement based deep learning algorithms which require only images to learn and develop their own understanding. This research is a huge step towards understanding and extracting information from images that will smoothen the traditional search tasks. We consider this research as one of the ground breaking technologies which will change the way people treat images.

Bikky Khosla, IAN Lead member who will be joining Staqu’s board said, “IAN is extremely excited about Staqu and its proposition. Search is becoming very complex and consumer experience demands precise results of articles being searched. Staqu AI engine is the best that we have seen and can help increase the sales of it's e-commerce customers by delivering superior customer experience. It can also create alternate revenue streams for its OEM customers. The team is rock solid with background in research and product development. We look forward to be a part of Staqu’s journey to deliver a true global product from India.”

Staqu enables automation of some of the crucial tasks for e-commerce companies which include image search, tag generation, real time recommendation. The solutions include the VGrep API Suite that comprises of products such as visual search engine and hybrid recommendation engine.

Staqu was also chosen in top four by IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program as part of their Smart Camp challenge as one of the most promising B2B startups in their Regional round, North India region.

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