German multinational software corporation SAP, which launched its $35-million artificial intelligence-focused fund SAP.iO in March, has made its first investment in India in Bangalore-based startup Niki.ai, according to a report by ET.
Exactly a year ago, Niki.ai had raised funds from Ratan Tata and Screwvala’s Unilazer while SAP.iO has made its first seed investment in Paradata, a Silicon Valley–based Big Data analytics startup.
The startup founded by four IIT Kharagpur alumni, has most recently raised funds in December last year, raised about Rs 3 crore from Haresh Chawla, partner at India Value Fund Advisors, with existing investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures also participating in the round.
SAP will provide the startup with mentorship, customer introductions and access to platform integrations and APIs that will help Niki.ai deliver new and unique opportunities for customers.
SAP.iO plans to invest $10,000 to $250,000 in different companies, with a greater focus on driving SAP’s engagement with startups.The fund made its first investment in Silicon Valley-based big data and analytics startup Paradata. It seeks to close 10-15 deals this year while next year it will aim for 20-25 deals.
Notably, SAP.iO fund is just one component of the SAP.iO open innovation model, which enables innovators both inside and outside SAP to use the power of SAP data, application programming interfaces (APIs) and platform technologies to unlock new value for customers.
Along with the fund, SAP.iO runs a foundry programme to incubate early-stage startups that build software applications, including those using frontier technologies such as machine learning and blockchain. At present SAP.iO foundries are located in San Francisco and Berlin.
Talking about Niki.ai, the startup has recently released its Chatbot SDK, which provides brands with a unique opportunity to enable conversational commerce on their platform through a simple integration, and make use of the advanced technology of language processing and machine learning built by the startup. The SDK acts as a plug and play technology that can be easily integrated in less than an hour of development effort.