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Reliance-owned Haptik acqui-hires Los Angeles-based AI startup Convrg

Reliance-owned Haptik acqui-hires Los Angeles-based AI startup Convrg
From left: Timothy Carey, Liz Snower, Amit Gupta, Audrey Wu, Aakrit Vaish and Nikhil Kejriwal

Artificial intelligence (AI)-based conversational platform Haptik, majority-owned by Reliance Industries, has acqui-hired Los Angeles-based AI startup Convrg.

The deal marks the launch of Haptik’s dedicated full-time operations in the US, the company said in a statement.

Convrg develops chatbots, and clients include Reddit, The GRAMMYs, Aveda, Shopify and Proactiv.

As part of the deal, the founding team of Convrg - Audrey Wu, Liz Snower and Amit Gupta –will join Haptik.

Haptik has also hired Timothy Carey, a technology industry veteran, to serve as its general manager for the region. Carey was the general manager of enterprise AI cognitive solutions at AI firm IPSoft.

"Between the Haptik India team and our team in the US, we've helped more enterprise brands connect with consumers via messaging, web-chat and voice than most other AI companies in the world, with years of compelling case studies across verticals to prove it," Carey said.

The founding trio of Convrg will report to Carey and will drive Haptik’s business in the US. "Given what they've accomplished in AI and in enterprise software leading up to this, the team we've put in place now gives us a solid foothold in the region,”  Aakrit Vaish, Haptik CEO and co-founder, said.

Haptik was founded by Vaish and Swapan Rajdev in 2013. The startup offers an AI-based chatbot that can help consumers interact with virtual agents and organisations via both text and voice. For organisations, Haptik’s solutions help in dealing with customer service, customer feedback, user engagement and lead generation.   

Haptik has built chatbots for enterprise customers like Samsung, KFC, Tata Group, Amazon Web Services, ICICI Bank, The Times of India, Viacom18, Dream11, Edelweiss Tokio, Club Mahindra and IIFL.

In April this year, Reliance agreed to acquire an 87% stake in Haptik.

The transaction also involved Times Internet, which was until then Haptik's major investor, exiting the company.

Reliance had said it will pay Rs 230 crore ($30 million then) for the initial business transfer from Haptik to wholly-owned unit Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd. 

The total transaction, which also includes a primary investment, is worth $100 million (Rs 688 crore).

Haptik continues to operate as a separate brand entity with its founding team and the workforce becoming part of Reliance Jio Digital.

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