Livspace co-founder, others invest in chatbot maker Niki.ai

Livspace co-founder, others invest in chatbot maker Niki.ai
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
22 May, 2019

Niki.ai, a startup which offers an artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant, has raised Rs 3.8 crore (around $540,000) in convertible debt from a clutch of investors.

The Bengaluru-based firm’s filings with the Ministry Corporate of Affairs show that the investment was made in tranches since March.

Among those who contributed were Livspace co-founder Ramakant Sharma, Asian E-commerce Alliance and Vistra ITCL India Ltd as a trustee of AL Trust.

Others who participated in the round were Hansjoachim Koehler of HJK Capital, Recruit Holdings via RSP India Fund, and individual investor Tarun Nayyar.

Email queries sent to Niki.ai seeking further details did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

Incorporated as Techbins Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Niki.ai was founded in April 2015 by four Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur graduates — Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi, Nitin Babel and Shishir Modi. 

It offers users a conversational interface to shop for products and services and  currently covers more than 20 categories, including entertainment, travel and daily utilities, in partnership with players like BookMyShow, RedBus, OYO, Ola and Uber.

The startup’s bot, Niki, uses natural language processing and machine-learning technologies to converse with customers over a chat interface, and places their orders with partner businesses.

The company works on a channel partnership model and generates revenue for every order processed on its platform. It has also been working with brands to provide them with chatbots. 

In March, Niki.ai partnered with payment gateway Google Pay to bring on board customers from Tier-II and Tier-III cities.

In January last year, it tied up with Kerala-based Federal Bank and created a chatbot for the lender’s mobile app, FedMobile.

In June 2017, Niki.ai raised $2 million (about Rs 13 crore) in a Series A round of funding from San Francisco-based fund SAP.iO and existing investor Unilazer Ventures.

A year before that, Unilazer, along with former Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, made an undisclosed investment in the firm. In October 2015, Unilazer had invested an undisclosed amount in the startup and also committed a follow-on investment of up to Rs 5 crore.

In a big-ticket deal in the segment, Reliance Industries Ltd last month agreed to acquire a majority stake in AI-based conversational platform Haptik Inc in a transaction worth $100 million (Rs 688 crore).