Leading industrialist Ratan Tata has invested in niki.ai, an artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot. The company has also received funding from existing investor Ronnie Screwvala-led Unilazer, it said in a statement. It, however, did not disclose the details of the funding or the total amount it has raised till date. The Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus has made more than 25 investments in startups in the last two years, including online marketplace Snapdeal, digital wallet provider Paytm, cab hailing service Ola, data analytics company Tracxn Technologies, online pet supplies store Dogspot.in and online lingerie store Zivame.
Last year, Tata had invested in Infinite Analytics, an artificial intelligence-based predictive analytics startup. Founded in April 2015 by IIT Kharagpur alumni—Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi, the company now has 21 employees.
Niki.ai leverages the technology of natural language processing and machine learning to converse with customers over a simple chat interface and places their orders within seconds with the partner businesses.
Currently, niki.ai’s chatbot offers services like bill payments, cab booking, recharge, food ordering, home services and cricket scores. It has partnered with over 25 brands.
“It’s a proud moment for the company to have an investment from Mr Tata and for Unilazer to do a follow on round. The vision with Niki is to be the enabler for everything commerce, across platforms whether Android, iOS, messaging or otherwise,” niki.ai CEO Sachin Jaiswal said.
Globally, chatbots have been much talked about in the recent weeks, with Facebook opening its Messenger platform for developers during the F8 conference. Other companies like Microsoft, Slack, Telegram and Kik have also opened their platforms to develop chatbots.