Letsventure backs chatbot maker Niki.ai

Letsventure backs chatbot maker Niki.ai
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Niki.ai, a startup which offers an artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant, has raised $321,748 in a fresh round of funding from online investment facilitation platform Letsventure.

The company raised the money earlier this month through debt by issuing CCDs (compulsorily convertible debentures), according to its latest disclosures with the ministry of corporate affairs.

However, the approval from the board of directors as well as the shareholders was secured last month. 

Email queries sent to Sachin Jaiswal, co-founder of Niki.ai, seeking more information on this round of funding did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.

The latest round of funding comes three months after it had raised $540,000  in convertible debt from a clutch of investors.

Some of the other investors who participated in that round included Livspace co-founder Ramakant Sharma, Asian E-commerce Alliance and Vistra ITCL India as a trustee of AL Trust, Hansjoachim Koehler of HJK Capital, Recruit Holdings via RSP India Fund and individual investor Tarun Nayyar.

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

The platform 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 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 onboard 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 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.