Global Accounting firm KPMG in India on Friday announced the acqui-hire of Mumbai-based startup, Recommender Labs, an artificial intelligence (AI)-led decision-science services company that operates to cut through the complexities of decision making.

In one of it multi-channel AI-led offerings, Recommender Labs' personalized recommendations uses machine learning to identify potential defaulters from applicants for lending products.

KPMG aims to combine its own capabilities with those of Recommender Labs to build unique assets, enable quick go-to-market and build the ability to respond with sharp AI led offerings. The acquisition will also reinforce KPMG’s efforts to build superior technology products in order to resolve specific client needs, KPMG said in a statement.

As per the deal, KPMG will acquire Recommender Labs’ all of trademark branda, software products and other IP rights. Founder/directors and four employees of Recommender will join KPMG in India.

AI in India offers a massive opportunity as the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 45 per cent between 2019 and 2025. The acquisition will enable KPMG to leverage Recommender Labs’ ready pre-built AI models and working solutions for its clients.

Established in 2016, Recommender Labs utilises its AI capabilities to support users during decision-making processes by generating meaningful recommendations. The company offers custom implementation of machine learning applications; its products are ready frameworks, which are customized for each client. Its product offerings include a Universal Recommender Engine that helps identify and recommend best-fit products to customers in a retail scenario, Chatbot Authoring Framework which is a Natural language processing chatbot offering decision-tree based conversations and FAQ bank, Credit Risk Engine that helps identify potential defaulters from customers that have applied for lending products specifically catering to SMEs, Recruitment Application that helps augment profiling through interactive mechanisms & offers insights on best-fit candidates and a Gamification Template that offers mechanisms and engaging UX elements to capture and engage customers.

Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and Head, Risk Consulting, KPMG in India said, “Recommender Labs is known for its AI-led decision science services for clients across a range of industries and client requirements and have proven case studies across domains such as Customer Experience Technology, eCommerce, FinTech and EdTech. The acqui-hire will help us unlock the value of AI for our spectrum of clients and their varied business needs that we address on a daily basis. We also aim to build KPMG’s Centre of Excellence in AI-led decision making to develop solutions for our customers.”

Sanjaya Sharma, Founder and CEO of RLPL will be joining KPMG as a Senior Advisor. His role will include building IPs and platforms in the area of advanced analytics, providing inputs to the firm’s Advisory practice on setting up of new services, and conducting trainings for staff and client personnel.

Sharma said, “AI in India offers massive opportunity ranging from combination of superior hardware, cloud-based computing, to proliferation of big data technology. KPMG’s acquisition of RLPL is aptly timed as AI has started advancing positive push from the government to utilize technological advancements in order to reduce financial losses and increase output efficiency. The existing and in-pipeline AI-based products and services will enable KPMG take its technology offerings to the next level."

The team of Recommender Labs including Sharma was formerly working at Tata Interactive Systems (TIS), an e-learning solutions unit of Tata Group, which got acquired last year, by MPS Limited, a global publishing and content and platform developer. TIS is known for developing India’s first Computer-based Training (CBT) product.

Source - Business Line

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