Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures has invested an undisclosed amount in seed funding in a stealth-mode artificial intelligence (AI) startup called Niki.ai.
The raised capital shall be used for product development and expansion of service offerings. As per the company, Unilazer has also made a commitment of a follow-on investment round of up to Rs 5 crore.
Commenting on the matter, Screwala said, “Tech-first companies have dominated the market globally with a firm focus on user experience and simplicity, a trend which has started in India as well. Niki.ai has a stand out team and is on the brink of some innovative work.”
Co-founded in April by Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi, Niki.ai is owned and operated by Techbins Solutions Pvt Ltd.
The startup is working on a bot called Niki, that lets users order anything through a chat interface. The company claims that the product supports end-to-end bookings for Ola and Uber cabs and has a first-of-its-kind in-chat payment option using the Paytm wallet.
Niki helps users with recommendations to find the right service and complete the transaction. Users can search, choose, pay and complete their orders on the Niki App.
The company plans upgrade the Niki with voice capabilities, in addition to enabling integrations with all online platforms including web and smartphones. Further, Niki would also be accessible on calls or SMS.
“Many users are not able to follow up with the continuing increase in the number of apps due to low memory phones and slow internet connection. There was a need to cut the noise around excess content to a more personalised suggestion and decision-making,” said Jaiswal.
Artificial Intelligence has emerged as one of the hottest spaces of experimentation. Tech titans like Alphabet, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft are aggressively carrying out intensive research on the subject. Google’s Thought Vectors is one high advanced research being carried out currently- an attempt to infuse common sense to machines. Similarly, Facebook is “committed to advancing the field of machine intelligence and developing technologies that give people better ways to communicate”. Samsung and Wipro have both invested under $20 million in US-based Vicarious, a robotics startup that enables computers to achieve human-level intelligence.