Vishal Sikka has finally launched Vianai Systems, the AI (artificial intelligence) startup he’s been working on for the past two years after stepping down as CEO of Infosys. The Palo Alto, California headquartered startup also picked up an outsized $50 million seed funding round from undisclosed investors just last week.
Sikka, who has a doctorate in AI from Stanford University, believes that the shift to AI will amplify the humanity of enterprises. “The shift to AI in the enterprise carries vast potential for improving businesses and amplifying their humanity. Yet only a few technology firms have tapped into AI's potential,” he said in a statement.
Vianai has developed a platform that enables enterprises across sectors to leverage AI to drive digital transformation. The platform uses the next generation of explorable and explainable AI techniques in a manner that makes it extremely easy for clients to use. The technology, the statement added, is beyond the proof-of-concept stage and ready to deploy immediately.
Sikka has tapped into his Stanford network by enlisting John Etchemendy, Stanford’s provost emeritus and co-director of Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, as Vianai's advisor.
"There is great potential and opportunity to use AI as a force for good and Vianai gets it right at the outset. Vishal Sikka's vision and the talent that the company has harnessed, and the rapid progress made in a very short time, are all impressive," Etchemendy said.
Apart from Etchemendy, Vianai's other advisors include Henning Kagermann, former chairman and chief executive of SAP and chairman of Acatech; Alan Kay, Turing award winner and computer science pioneer; Divesh Makan, founder of ICONIQ Capital; Indra Nooyi, member of the board at Amazon and former CEO of PepsiCo; and Sebastian Thrun, CEO of the Kitty Hawk Corporation and co-founder and chairman of Udacity.
Under Sikka, Bengaluru based IT services and consulting firm Infosys had managed to focus on emerging technologies including AI and his initiatives was well received by the employees as well as within the industry. However, the constant tussle with Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy forced Sikka to quit the company in August 2017.