Affle buys stake in SAIF-backed conversation media platform Bobble AI

Affle buys stake in SAIF-backed conversation media platform Bobble AI
Photo Credit: 123RF.com
13 Aug, 2020

Digital advertising platform Affle India has made an investment in Talent Unlimited Online Services, the parent company of artificial intelligence (AI) powered conversation media platform Bobble AI.

The investment amounts to an 8% ownership in the Gurugram-based startup. Under the agreement, Affle has an option to purchase an incremental ownership interest in Bobble AI based on attainment of certain key performance targets within the next three years, according to a statement.

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, Affle has an exclusive global ad monetisation rights of technology products of Bobble AI for five years.

Bobble AI was founded by Ankit Prasad, Mohammed Wassem and Rahul Prasad in 2011. Wassem moved to an advisory role in May last year and founded an AI food tech startup called Easy Eat in Singapore.

The startup offers an indigenous social keyboard that allows users to personalise conversations. Its flagship product ‘Bobble Indic Keyboard’ leverages AI capabilities such as contextual recommendations and speech-to-text features to help users create content and personalise communication real-time.

According to the company, the product is accessible in approximately 100 languages including 23 Indian languages.

The company has partnered with Xiaomi, an investor in the company, to pre-load its Indian language keyboard called ‘Mint Keyboard’ across the smartphone maker’s devices in India. It also has partnered with other original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), mobile network operators (MNOs) and financial services companies as distribution partners, who use its products for customer engagement.

“We believe Bobble AI complements our vernacular strategy and significantly strengthens our partnership with OEMs where this keyboard is a default/pre-installed app,” Anuj Khanna Sohum, chairman, MD and CEO at Affle said.

The company raised about $3 million in Series A funding from SAIF Partners and other investors in November 2015. It has raised approximately $4 million so far. 

Bobble’s other investors include Flipkart co-founders Sachin and Binny Bansal, Slideshare co-founder Amit Ranjan, 1mg founders Prashant Tandon and Gaurav Agarwal, and angel investor Venkat Raju.

Founded by Sohum and Anuj Kumar in 2005, Affle has created a mobile-audience-as-service (MaaS) platform, besides other services that are used by global commerce and marketing firms to promote mobile programmes. It is a proprietary consumer intelligence platform that offers consumer engagements, acquisitions and transactions through mobile advertising. 

Its consumer platform is used by online and offline companies for mobile advertising. It also offers an enterprise platform which helps offline companies go online.

Backed by Microsoft and Times Internet, Affle has completed a handful of acquisitions in the past. In June 2019, it bought US-based mobile advertising firm RevX. In March last year, the company acquired online-to-offline consumer platform Shoffr

In September 2018, Affle acquired the commerce arm of customer relationship management (CRM) platform Vizury Interactive Solutions.

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