10 AI startups to watch out for in 2018

4th May 2018
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Doomsday conspiracies of the human race being ruled by robots aside, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay. From changing the job landscape, to becoming a buzzword for almost every company, AI is now an integral part of most organisations. 

Whether it is Google, Facebook, or even companies like Oracle, Microsoft and SAP, they are all working to design software that can learn, and make decisions – in short, Artificial Intelligence. 

It isn’t only private organisations that are keen on the technology, but government organisations like Niti Aayog are also looking closely at it.

In fact, the Indian Government has allocated Rs 3,073 crore to spearhead work on fifth generation technology startups like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and Blockchain. 

Kunal Kislay, Co-founder and CEO of Integration Wizards, believes AI functions are directly proportional to the amount of data, and the kind of data fed into the system. Startups in the space have been active since as early as 2008, but AI has seen momentum and growth only over the last three years. 

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), widespread adoption of cognitive systems and AI across industries will drive worldwide revenues for the AI industry from nearly $8 billion in 2016 to more than $47 billion in 2020. 

A new Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide from IDC showed that the market for cognitive/AI solutions will experience a compound annual growth rate of 55.1 percent over the 2016-2020 forecast period.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Growing AI startups

Companies like Ratan Tata-backed Niki.AI and Sequoia-backed MadStreetDen have gained momentum and traction over the last few years, while tech giants Amazon and Flipkart have invested heavily in machine learning and AI to make the customer experience more personal and impressive. 

Visual search tools and conversational assistants seem to be two prominent focus areas now. Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant are examples of the latter. On the other hand, Haptik and Tapzo are looking to make ecommerce transactions and processes easier. Haptik leverages human-augmented intelligence, which means chatbots answer frequently asked questions, and humans take over if things get complex.

Haptik also recently open-sourced a key piece of its proprietary tech - Entity Recognition (NER) System - to let developers tinker with and build on top of it. Tapzo, on the other hand, focuses on UI and aggregation to provide a 'tap-based' interface to make transactions easier.

According to YourStory Research data, since 2015, AI startups have raised approximately $31.57 million in funding across 36 deals, of which 19 were undisclosed. In the last financial year that ended March 31, in all 18 deals were closed in the AI space, with a total funding amount of $18.92 million, of which 10 were undisclosed. 

In the last financial year, China accounted for 48 percent of the world’s total AI startup funding, and the US 38 percent. 

Startups in US raised close to $1.9 billion in the first quarter of this year. While Indian startups are yet to funding at that scale, there are a few promising startups to watch out for. 

Some of the key startups founded between 2016 and 2017 in AI are:

  1. Artivatic

Bengaluru-based Artivatic uses patterns of psychology, genomics, and neuroscience capabilities to automate decision-making in real time to improve return on investments, cross-sector intelligence, and personalised recommendation experience. 

Started in 2017, by Layak Singh and Puneet Tandon, Artivatic was started when the two decided to use their experience in machine learning to build an AI engine that could make banks gain customers faster and reduce non-performing assets by studying the credit history of a prospective client.

2. VideoKen 

VideoKen is an AI and machine learning-based video learning platform. It is primarily used for academic and corporate learning. The users can essentially search, curate, personalise and share video clips on VideoKen. 

A phrase cloud can be built into a video with VideoKen and the collaborative social learning platform helps align employee skills with business needs. By providing easy and effective access to publicly available learning content, VideoKen’s indexing, curation and self-learning capabilities make learning intuitive, engaging and fun.

3. Vernacular.ai 

Four friends from IIT Roorkee - Sourabh Gupta, Manoj Sarda, Akshay Deshraj, and Prateek Gupta - started Vernacular.ai, a platform that helps businesses interact and engage with multi-lingual customers in their preferred language using natural langage processing technology. The platform works as a multi-lingual conversational agent for businesses. 

Earlier this year, Vernacular.ai launched its B2C product - Aisha - a personal assistant in Hindi for people living in Tier II and Tier III cities. “The product saw strong traction with 50,000 users exchanging over a million messages in a short period,” says Sourabh.

4. Boxx.ai

Boxx.ai was started in July 2016 by Prakhar Raj, Shitiz Bansal and Ajay Kashyap. It builds products using AI to solve different analytical problems that companies can face. The product that the team has built - AIDA - predicts what each customer is likely to buy.  Base on this data and knowledge, it then delivers personalised experiences to customers through different marketing channels. 

5. Fabulyst

Hyderabad-based Fabulyst is an AI platform that assists women shoppers. Founded in June 2016, Fabulyst helps them different fashion products based on user inputs. The platform recommends each user with the best possibly styling and fit based on body type, measurements and variations.

6. Bottr.me 

Founded in 2017 by Abhimanyu Godara, Arjun Kumar, Mayank Agarwal and Uday Krishna, Bottr.me is an AI-based chatbot creation tool. It allows users to create their own interactive personal bot, which can hold engaging conversations on their behalf. It can also engage in conversations. 

7. AskArvi

AskArvi is an AI-based smart personal insurance platform. Founded last year, AskArvi only launched its product in January this year. Using AI and data, the platform makes insurance buying simpler, instantaneous, informative and intuitive. The product also helps customers select various insurance products with different features, provide product recommendations and even answer policy related questions. 

8. ThirdWatch

ThirdWatch is an ecommerce fraud-prevention platform launched in 2016 by Shashank Agarwal and Adarsh Jain. Using advanced algorithms, the product, Mitra, captures over 200 parameters and flags every transaction as red or green in real time. 

ThirdWatch claims to have replaced manual rules with the AI platform, which automatically screens all orders and does not reject genuine ones. It also offers a two-month free trial so clients can validate the efficiency, accuracy and value addition of the AI software.

9. TAO Automation

Started in July 2016, TAO Automation is an AI-based independent consulting and solutions platform. Providing automated consultations, it gives outcome-based solutions and helps in enabling optimised, automated solutions. The platform helps companies develop and implement an automation strategy based on their needs and requirements. 

10. Peritus.ai

Founded last year by Kamesh Raghavendra and Santhosh Srinivasan, Peritus.ai uses AI to automate and customise service workflows. The platform essentially works on automating support delivery, incident resolution and professional services for data centres. It recognises different incident features and support needs from patterns from past incidents, log data, product designs and configurations. 

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