India’s AI startups are at a tipping point
By: Malavika Velayanikal
There’s a growing pipeline of high-caliber founders – who have “been there, done that” – taking the startup plunge with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tech in India. On the other hand, startups with shallow applications of AI are quickly finding out that investors and clients alike have become more discerning.
For example, Zoogaad raised US$500,000 back in 2014 to provide personalized news powered by AI. But, unlike Toutiao in China, it did little to push the boundary beyond Google alerts and had to shut down.
At the other end of the spectrum is Bangalore-based SigTuple, which ticks most of the boxes for the new wave of promising AI startups coming out of India. SigTuple applies AI-powered analytics to visual medical data, such as blood smear slides that go under a microscope. This improves the speed and accuracy of diagnosis.
The startup’s founders had worked together at American Express’s big data lab. One of them is SigTuple’s chief scientific officer Tathagato Rai Dastidar, a computer science Ph.D. who was the director of the Amex lab. So they had the competence and experience to become deep-tech entrepreneurs.
A younger startup in Bangalore, AskSid, has chosen to focus on women’s fashion. Its AI-powered bot helps brands get into meaningful conversations with their customers while helping them shop online. After successful pilots, topline brands like Wolford have deployed the bot in multiple countries. AskSid’s founders come with rich corporate experience from India’s IT industry.