Niki.ai raises $2 mn funding from San Francisco-based fund SAP.iO
Local startup woos global investor
Bangalore-based Niki.ai, which runs an artificial intelligence-based personal assistant, recently raised $2 million funding. The funding round saw participation from several eminent players. This include San Francisco-based fund SAP.iO (first investment in India) and existing investor Ronnie Screwvala's Unilazer Ventures. The funding also saw participation from investors such as Haresh Chawla (Partner at True North) and Arihant Patni. Along with that, there was some US and German investors. Prior to this, the startup has received funding from Ratan Tata, Unilazer Venture, and Haresh Chawla.
Speaking to I Am An Entrepreneur about their recent fund- raising, Sachin Jaiswal, CEO, Niki.ai, said,
“We plan on investing the newly raised capital in further strengthening our machine learning capabilities. It would be used for building voice and multilingual functionalities and expanding our distribution network. Also, we’ll continue working towards providing 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 also be utilised to further strengthen our distribution.”
Jaiswal has always believed that Artificial Intelligence has the potential to redefine m-commerce globally. Hence he and the co-founders stuck to their mission in the initial stages. “We put all our focus on building a value providing product first, before we start to worry about funding. Once we had something to show for as a beta, we got good feedback from users and mentors alike. We then raised seed round from Unilazer Ventures in October 2015, which would help us gain the initial scale. Post which, there was a follow-up round in May 2016 by our existing investors Unilazer Ventures and Ratan Tata. We feel proud that Mr. Tata backs our vision. Our team is motivated to learn from his vast experience and knowledge about the industry and business,” he shared.
Niki.ai is constantly growing in terms of monthly revenue. This, combined with an ever-evolving product, has helped the startup gain investor confidence time and again. Indian business stalwart Ratan Tata has backed the initiative and the existing investors continue to supporting the venture. “This gives us enough confidence with respect to the direction we’re moving in. We’ll continue giving in everything to help Niki remain a product our users love and find great value in. If we require resources for further developments and scaling up in the future, we’re optimistic to gain the same,” disclosed Jaiswal.
Niki is an Artificial Intelligence powered bot that you can chat with - it will guide you along with recommendations to reach the right service and then goes to the last mile to make that transaction for you. As a user of the Niki app, you can search, discover, choose, make payment and complete your transaction; everything within the Niki app. It's that simple!
The initial development of Niki started in a small room in a house in Udaipur whose owners didn't have any use of that space. Niki was officially launched at TechSparks 2015 to a resounding welcome. Eventually Niki had made it to the Tech30 list.
Does this funding reveal greater interest from foreign investors for startups, going ahead? Do share your story.