Artificial Intelligence is one of the golden innovations of this age. The space is abuzz with highly advanced research projects which are being carried out by technology think tanks like Alphabet, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft to make machines ‘smarter’ and more compatible with humans.
On the macroscopic level, the potential of AI looks limitless. However, it has still a long mile to cover. Nevertheless, the employment of this technology even at the base level has already taken off and doing wonders, bringing the once impossible into the realms of possibilities.
Bangalore-headquartered, Niki.ai is an artificial intelligence based app, founded by Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi in April 2015. It is owned and operated by Techbins Solutions Pvt Ltd.
The startup has developed a bot called Niki, that lets users order anything through a chat interface. Niki guides users with recommendations to reach the right service, and then goes to the last mile to make that transaction for them. As a user of the Niki app, one can search, discover, choose, pay and complete their transaction.
It is the brainchild of IIT Kharagpur alumni. As maintained by the team, Niki was born humble yet with ambitious goals. It was incepted to revolutionize customer interaction and redefine the buying experience as a whole.
“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,” stated Jaiswal.
Problems Addressed by this Startup
Niki aspires to be the ideal personal digital assistant – one that allows users to make smart shopping choices by eliminating the additional time, the strain, and the confusion shopping entails in the modern age. By taking advantage of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning, Niki is designed to understand advanced communication and simple text-speak, adapting to every user’s preferences and creating the ideal AI-to-human interaction.
“We all need to shop and pay our bills, and booking cabs or buses is a necessity that grates on the nerves. Why tolerate the strain? That’s exactly what Niki is here for – leave it to her, and enjoy what really matters,” says the team.
Features of the App
Niki can perform a variety of tasks ranging from mobile recharge to local cab booking and assisting the users with online shopping. For example, “users can search for a cab of their preference, compare it across brands and cab types or offload their decision to Niki–just say you are looking for the nearest or the cheapest cab and Niki will get that for you. Users can also track their ride, view driver details or cancel the rides through the app”- team.
It is a tech-first product envisioned to bring AI in mainstream commerce. In the backend, its complex algorithms keep running to understand users’ preferences and personalize the experience for every user as they converse with Niki.
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.
Check this video out to have better understanding of how it works:
Traction and Monetization
The company claims to have over 7000 active users. As per the data given on Google Play, the number of installs ranges from 5000-10,000.For monetization, the company has channel partnerships. It takes a revenue split on any transaction it facilitates.
One of its biggest competitors facilitating the same services is Helpchat which is backed by Sequoia Capital.
In the month of October, Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures invested in Niki.ai in its seed round. Although the financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the startup then, it had confirmed a follow-on capital infusion by Unilazer of up to Rs 5 crore.