AI startup, Niki.ai has secured $2 million in Series A round of funding from San Francisco based fund SAP.iO and existing investor Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures. The funding also saw participation from other Indian investors including Haresh Chawla (Partner at True North) and Arihant Patni, along with some US and German investors.
The company plans to use freshly infused funds to strengthen their machine learning capabilities, building voice and multilingual functionalities and expanding their distribution network.
Commenting on the development, Ronnie Screwvala, Managing Partner, Unilazer Ventures said, “We are just at the basic level of AI where focus is to Cut Time, Complexity and Costs in every sector and from here we will see exponential innovation, more than we have seen in any sector till date. Niki is uniquely positioned and in less than 2 years we have made progress in multiple spheres and struck diversified relationships with a majority of corporate India. Our Tech and our solutions are ready for a global market too. In the last year I did three follow up rounds with Niki given its track record and the right entrepreneur founders at the helm. We are just getting started.”
Adding further, Ram Jambunathan, Managing Director, SAP.iO said “We believe that Niki.ai has an innovative technical approach and is building a scalable product that can change the commerce industry. We are very impressed with how Niki.ai is leveraging AI to help businesses fulfill the needs of consumers. There is a huge opportunity globally, yet to be captured, and the investment will fuel the next level of growth for Niki.ai.”
Started in 2015, and funded by Ratan Tata and Unilazer Ventures, Niki.ai envisions to provide one shop for everything commerce. Niki is an AI bot who converses to help you shop for products and services and makes the whole journey from discovery to transaction fast, convenient and extremely simple.
The company provides a simple and easy to use chat interface to shop for products and services. To the businesses, it provides a plug and play technology that can be easily integrated everywhere including operating systems, on messaging platforms messenger, and on the brand’s applications (app and web).
With a 35% month-on-month revenue growth, the company has 50+ partners on board, with many more in the pipeline. On the customer front, the company boost to have more than 400,000 customers using Niki.
“Niki.ai has been focused on building the product for the past 2 years. We believe we have the capability to disrupt the AI and bot space. Owing to our robust technology, innovative solutions and successful business model, we have managed to win significant investor confidence globally, with our existing investors continuing to back us strongly,” said Sachin Jaiswal, CEO, Niki.ai.
Niki supports over 20 categories including entertainment, travel, daily utilities, with partners such as BookMyShow, Redbus, OYO, Ola, Uber, JustRechargeIt to name a few. Recently, Niki.ai has partnered with BookMyShow to provide smart booking experience to its users.
For the businesses, Niki.ai has released its Chatbot SDK, which provides brands with an 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 Niki.ai. The SDK acts as a plug and play technology that can be easily integrated in less than an hour of development effort. It is already live across multiple banks, OEMs and wallets, such as HDFC Bank, Intex, Oxigen wallet, Zopo Mobiles (as a widget in its latest series), to name a few. Additionally, 40+ SDK partnerships are going to be live soon.
“We want to provide consumers with multiple touch points to access Niki. With our SDK being deployed across platforms (Android, iOS, Web, Messaging apps) by banks, OEMs, wallets & startups; we move a step closer to our vision of being ubiquitous. The current fund raise will be utilised to further strengthen our distribution,” said Jaiswal.
With data of over 75 million interactions over the past 2 years, the Bengaluru-based company is soon going to add the feature of voice communication, which is already being beta tested. Furthermore, to tap deeper into the Indian market, Niki.ai aims to train its NLP engine to interpret Indian languages, starting with Hindi and then eventually being multilingual. It also plans on being on a lot more platforms like iOS and messaging platforms like Slack.
AI holds immense potential for the global market, and this is the reason why the year 2017 is being predicted to be that of Artificial Intelligence.