SnapShopr, the artificial intelligence image search startup has raised an undisclosed seed round of funding from Amod Malviya, Ex-CTO Flipkart. Navneet Sharma, Co-Founder SnapShopr speaking exclusively to YourStory said, "To get a tech guru like Amod Malviya to believe in our product and invest in it is a great validation for our technology and the efforts our team has put in," adds Navneet. The team is already in advanced talks to bring other investors on board.
With this initial round of funding, the first order of business according to the team is to bring in more people and advancing their R&D. Currently a team size of six, SnapShopr has already onboarded 10 clients in the space of fashion and home decor. Some of their pilot clients are Voonik and Homelane. The team, with time, also intends to expand into the international market.
Founded by Navneet Sharma and Debashish Pattnaik in September 2014, SnapShopr helps online retailers improve their retention and conversion numbers using their image search platform. This in turn helps the end users to find out what they want at the click of a button. “All it takes for an end user is to take the photo of what they like and they have it for instant purchase,” says Navneet.
SnapShopr is one of the YourStory MobileSparks 2015 companies. Navneet believes that SnapShopr is a pure lean startup, which has spent a lot of time experimenting to figure out the right business model. "All of our early adopters have validated the product, which has caught the attention of top technology influencers in the ecosystem," adds Navneet.
While the team is intent on expanding different verticals, they want to tread slowly into the space. "We don't want to dilute our value proposition. But we believe that the scope of AI and Deep Learning is ubiquitous," adds Navneet.
With startups like Clarifai, Nervana Systems and Entilic functioning in a similar space and raising funding worth USD 10 million, USD 20.5 million and USD 2 million respectively, there is no debate regarding this segment being a hot bed of opportunities.
The last few years has seen an increased traction in the deep learning and AI space, following several merger and acquisition activities. Twitter was seen acquiring Madbits, a visual intelligence technology startup in June 2014. Flipkart uses Visense, which is quite like SnapShopr.
Navneet says that their differentiation comes from their interdisciplinary approach to solving hard problems using technology, design and psychology. Apart from having one of the top Artificial Intelligence teams around, he claims that they have design, fashion and business expertise among the core team members, mentored by experienced entrepreneurs from similar domains.
“The market in India is actually kind of relatively small for such a product but can be extended if you do a horizontal play. There are only a few major e-commerce companies if you focus on fashion vertical. It’s one of the reasons we have built a general purpose technology that can be tuned to work across verticals beyond fashion e-commerce,” says Navneet.
While the technology to use images for search seems easy, it is not so for computers. Today, computer vision which replicates the workings of the human eye and brain neural activities is fast picking up. Biggies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google are said to be investing heavily and paying much attention to this technology.
“Our mission is to solve searching problem on mobile. What we are addressing now is only a piece of the problem and we think we are in a good position to solve it with the kind of focus and the team that we have," says Navneet.