“AI is one of the most profound things we’re working on as humanity. It’s more profound than fire or electricity” – Sundar Pichai, CEO, Alphabet Inc.
“Technology is evolving at such a fast pace that very soon artificial intelligence will dominate our way of life.” – Narendra Modi, Prime Minister, India
From conglomerates to startups, every firm is now trying to implement AI across different offerings. Companies like Niramai are using AI to detect breast cancer cost-effectively while others like Locus are implementing the technology in the supply chain optimization. Heavy investments are being done in AI globally. This shows that the scope of AI is limitless with its interventions in all major industries.
Mega ISVs primarily provide the building blocks as well as computational resources for AI applications. The captive units of global IT corporations deal with the exploration of AI with their agility, scale, innovation, and roadmap. Niche AI players mostly are Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Value-Added Resellers (VARs). ISVs develop, markets, and sell specialized platforms/services which might run on third party software and hardware platforms. VARs primarily resell services to customers through integration, customization, consultancy, training, and implementation.
The Mega ISVs are companies that have R&D centers majorly set up abroad. Consequently, they file their patent abroad only. VARs are generally companies that aggregate AI solutions from ISVs but do not have any AI products of their own. Therefore, the impact of the drivers of AI can be studied through the state of ISVs in the country. These ISVs contribute to the R&D in the nation itself and develop products that disrupt the Indian market.
Exploring the Niche AI Players: ISVs
ISVs develop Product Incorporating Features from third party providers’ platforms. They usually have Intellectual Property Rights in addition to highly specialized products and services. They vary in their sizes from student startups to well established IT, solution providers. Let us have a look at some of the top ISVs in India which are driving innovation in the field of AI.
TWIMBIT’S TOP 10 ISVs IN INDIA
Twimbit assessed multiple ISVs in India with respect to the following parameters:
- Operational: To measure the operations of a company and see at what scale is it working on presently, we considered the following:
- Total funding: Indicates the spending capacity of the company and the trust shown by the market
- Rounds of funding: Maturity level of a firm
- Company size: Operational capacity and availability
- Product: To see the strength of the product or platform of the ISV, we assessed the following:
- Intellectual property rights: If a company owns any patent-protected technology
- Presence of products on open-source platforms: Open source platforms are generally easier to modify and can be used conveniently
- Investments in future innovations: Indicator of the further disruptions in the pipeline of the firm
- Client and Strategy: To get an overall view of the ISV’s servicing and its future growth, the following parameters were considered:
- ISVs’ strategic alliance: Collaborations with other firms can give rise to new strategies
- Global presence: If the company is present locally or if it has clients from abroad
- Size of clients and their number: More the number of clients and their size, more will be the revenue and growth
Twimbit has vetted each of the ISVs which were initially screened based on funding into a top 20, against the mentioned parameters. Result is the identification of Top 10 ISVs in India who are spread across use cases of AI and have been successfully operating in the market.
Founded in 2014, Loginext has developed into one of the most rapidly growing SaaS companies that provide solutions that manage and optimize field service operations. It has an employee headcount of 89 (LinkedIn) with its Headquarters in California, Fremont, USA.
- It has raised a total of USD 49.6 Mn with the latest Series B round led by Tiger Global Management.
- Other lead investors in are Gennext Innovation Hub and Alibaba funded Paytm.
- In 2016, it acquired YourGuy, a cross-category las mile delivery startup to strengthen its last-mile delivery platform Sprintr.
- It was ranked 7th in the fastest growing companies by Deloitte in 2016 while coming in at 21st in APAC according to Financial Times among High Growth Companies.
Loginext’s flagship products are its cloud-based Last-Mile Delivery and Route Optimization softwares along with its Field Service and Field Workforce Optimization software. Its USP is its real-time tracking of shipment. This helps minimize the losses which may occur due to high logistics costs and operational uncertainties attached to them.
Because of this, it claims to reduce manual intervention saving up to 20% of costs for delivery businesses with increased productivity.
Client and Strategy
The company has garnered around USD 10 Mn in revenue in 2019. It aims to keep growing at a steady pace. They serve more than 50 enterprises and 100 small companies.
The company recently received a Series B funding with which it hopes to commence operations at new locations. It plans to double its workforce with special emphasis on its Research and Development team located in Mumbai.
With its headquarters setup in India itself in Kolkata, iMerit works along with their customers tonot only enhance but also to label their data to achieve better results from their algorithms. It was founded back in 2012 and has grown to a team of over 2,800 full time employees which includes over 50% women.
- It has received a total of USD 23.5 Mn in funding in over 3 rounds
- iMerit raised a major portion of its funding back in February 2020 with USD 20 Mn in a Series B funding coming from 4 investors with CDC Group being the lead investor
- iMerit was among the Red Herring Global Top 100 in 2018 and it was among Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 as a result of its fast technical growth
iMerit’s work powers the advanced algorithms in computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, augmented reality, and data science. They focus on transformative technologies such as optimizing crop yields, advancing cancer cell research, and training unmanned vehicles. It has over 100 global clients and has delivered over 250 million data points.
Client and Strategy
Around 40% of its revenue came from its AI labeling, another 33% from data analytics, and remaining from NLP and other services. It has partnered with companies such as AWS, Intel, and Google Cloud to provide better machine learning solutions. Some of its notable clients are eBay, Microsoft, Autodesk, and Tripadvisor. It plans to expand its workforce with recent funding to 10,000 global employees by 2023. Also, it plans to enhance its proprietary artificial intelligence-based platform.
Founded back in 2016, Yellow Messenger is the world’s first Cognitive Engagement Cloud. It implements conversational AI for all types of businesses such as finance, beverages, energy, etc. The company is based out of Bengaluru and has 221 full-time employees.
- It has picked up total funding of USD 24 Mn till date
- The recent Series B round being led by Lightspeed Venture Partners
- It won the Microsoft AIforAll Award in 2018 in the engaging customers with AI category
It basically creates an Enterprise AI Channel for customer engagement. Their services are used to drive higher net promoter score, sales growth and superior customer service.
Through their services, enterprises have recorded a 900% increase in the lead generation, USD 10 Mn in additional revenue through upselling, and almost 60% of their call center costs have also been achieved.
Client and Strategy
It has over 100 clients such as Domino’s, Dr. Reddy’s, Udaan, Flipkart, TRESemme, 1mg to name a few, and has made close to USD 2.5 Mn in 2019. Furthermore, it has partnered with Mobisy Technologies and Facebook Messenger to provide better customer engagement. They have been disrupting the AI space more rapidly than ever due to the urgency caused by COVID-19 for enterprises to adapt to solutions that would keep them afloat.
Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Uniphore is a global conversational AI technology firm with offices across Singapore, India, United States, and Japan. After its inception back in 2008, it has grown to an employee base of 258 as per LinkedIn.
- It picked up its Series C funding in 2019 of USD 51 Mn with March Capital Partners emerging as the lead investor
- Its total funding amount stands at USD 66.8 Mn
- In 2018, Uniphore won the AI Game Changer Award by NASSCOM
- Frost & Sullivan featured its VoiceNet in Indian Enterprise Software Product Excellence
Uniphore’s solutions revolve around conversational service automation which gives customer service agents improved quality of agent conversation, task automation, automatic disposition capture, and after call work. All of it with analytics and cybersecurity. It has been more active in its R&D than ever during the present COVID-19 crisis which has forced the hands of many companies to seek automated customer care solutions.
Client and Strategy
The company saw a 300% rise in its revenue in 2018 while expanding its client base which has notable companies like Genpact, BNP Paribas, PNB Metlife, Bajaj Allianz, and NTT Data. It’s Series C funding was one of the most substantial funding rounds in the conversational AI sector. With this, it aims to expand its market in North America and to invest in research and development for innovation on its platform and grow its employee base globally. It seeks to join the Unicorn Club in the coming years after increased activity amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
AbsolutData Analytics was founded in 2001 to make products and services which could deliver business impact across the enterprises through the combination of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It as an employee headcount of 503 (according to LinkedIn) with its headquarters set up in Alameda, California, USA.
- It has till date received total funding of USD 20 Mn in a couple of Venture Rounds with
- Eight Roads Ventures is the sole investor in the rounds
- In 2019, it won the “Best Overall AI-based Analytics Company” of AI Breakthrough Awards Program
The AI-powered SAAS platform that AbsolutData Analytics offers blends AI, technology, data, and analytics to serve as the intelligence layer for its clients. Their suite of customizable AI solutions are licensed to the enterprises. Its solution majorly revolves around marketing, sales, and market research. More than 11 Fortune 100 companies use its offerings today.
Client and Strategy
AbsolutData Analytics has notable clients such as Hershey’s, Adidas, Kellog’s, Autodesk, Uber, and Levi’s. They are looking to grow their NAVIK AI platform with additional business capabilities to better serve its clientele and expand their offices further.
With more than 50% market share in the field of platforms used for expense management, Happay has been working with businesses of any size to create tailor-made platforms for financial success since its inception in 2012. It is based out of Bangalore and has 372 full-time employees.
- It has received total funding of USD 21.6 Mn
- The VC giant Sequoia Capital is the lead investor in the company along with Prime Venture Partners
- It won the 2017 Expense Management Software Award from FinancesOnline
- It was the most preferred brand in the Travel and Expense Management category in the CIO Choice 2019
It is basically an online business expense management solution that streamlines user expense workflows in an end to end manner and gives real-time visibility and control over business spending. Businesses can choose to provide employees a prepaid VISA card and let them spend freely while they keep a track and approval system for their expenses.
Client and Strategy
Enterprises like Oyo, PWC, BYJU’s, Welspun, etc along with 10,000 others are using their supreme UI/UX. It has partnered with Uber and HDFC for further innovations on its platform. It is now looking to expand its business further while integrating more features on its platform.
Founded in 2014, Rivigo has been transforming the logistics sector with its global-first driver relay model along with a strong mix of technology, operations, data, culture, and excellence. It is a technology company aiming to build the material movement pipeline of India. They have a headcount of 2,815 employees (according to LinkedIn) with headquarter in Gurgaon, Haryana.
- Till date, they have received total funding of USD 257.4 Mn
- They have participated in 10 funding rounds with SAIF Partners, Warburg Pincus and KB Global Platform Fund as the lead investors
- It won the ‘Logistics Company of the Year’ at TechCircle Awards back in 2018
- It bagged the ‘Young Turk Award’ at IBLA 2020
They work on a relay truck model which ensures that truck drivers drive for a maximum of 4-5 hours at a stretch and reach home the same day. It delivers express logistics across various truck loads. They aim to optimize fleet operations and maximize the results by making it fully digital and transparent. Also, they have built multiple algorithmically complex models to accurately predict the life journey of a package and made a dynamic pricing model for India’s freight marketplace.
Client and Strategy
Rivigo’s revenue went up by 42% to USD 153.523 Mn in 2019. With an approximate USD 1 Bn valuation, it reported a loss of INR 600 Cr in 2019, a time in which it focused on accelerating its growth increasing its fleet size by 50%, and adding 1,000 trucks in the process. It further aims to increase its network of processing centers and trucking pit stops while growing its cold chain business in the coming years.
Avaamo is a company working towards creating the fundamental AI technology needed for better conversational computing since its inception in 2014. It was founded by enterprise veterans from companies like SAP, Apple, Siebel, and TIBCO. It set up its headquarters in Los Altos, California, and presently has 72 employees under its wings as per LinkedIn.
- The firm received its first round of Funding in October 2014
- Avaamo has gone on to raise another round of Series A in May 2018 which takes its total funding to USD 23.5 Mn
- Intel is the lead investor in the company with others like Mahindra, Wipro, Ericsson chipping in as well in Series A
- It was also nominated for “Best Mobile Innovation for Enterprise” by Glomo Mobile Awards in 2018
Avaamo is a deep learning software company that specializes in conversational interfaces. It has deep domain models for 6 industries and its solutions are present in 40 countries around the globe. Their AI solutions cater to more than a million interactions every day for businesses. It recently developed a publicly accessible intelligent virtual assistant to answer queries regarding COVID-19.
Client and Strategy
Avaamo has a wide range of clients like SBI Mutual Funds, HDFC Loans, Reliance Capital, RBL Bank, Axis Bank, Ashok Leyland, and Birla Sunlife to name a few. Its estimated revenue is USD 9.3 Mn per year with 80% of it being from overseas and the rest from India. They are growing rapidly at almost 60% quarter on quarter. It is further looking to boost its revenues and make its product better.
Founded in 2012, Shiprocket has gone on to become India’s number one eCommerce logistics and shipping solutions provider. It operated from its headquarters in New Delhi and has 147 employees under it.
- Its recent funding was in May 2020 of Series C of USD 13 Mn
- This took its total funding up to USD 26.4 Mn with Tribe Capital and Bertelsmann India Investments leading the investments
- Shiprocket was one of the top 15 Tech Disruptors in BusinessWorld TechTors 2020
Shiprocket developed the only automated shipping tool in India for eCommerce. It lets the customers assign AWB number, choose courier company, print shipping labels, track orders, and much more from a single panel. Moreover, it can be integrated with any eCommerce site like Amazon, Flipkart, eBay, etc.
Client and Strategy
It has Samsung, Mamaearth, Bira91 among its 30,000 other sellers while garnering a revenue of approximately USD 30 Mn in 2019. With its recent funding, it plans to expand its data and engineering teams to work on new initiatives.
Based out of Mumbai, India, Haptik aims to power intelligent virtual assistants (IVA) to transform the customer experience. After starting back in 2013, they now have 283 employees working for them.
- Kalaari Capital and Times Internet were the leading investors for them in Series A and Series B respectively
- They garnered a total funding amount of USD 11.2 Mn
- Reliance Jio recently acquired an 87% stake in the company in April 2019
- Haptik won the ‘AI for Good Award’ in 2018 at the 4th Annual Canadian Fintech and AI awards for its chatbot which could fight cyber harassment
- It was also among the ‘Top 50 Newsmakers of India’ in 2019 according to YourStory
It is basically a chat-based personal assistant that allows users to set reminders, pay utility bills, book a cab or flight, recharge phones, etc. It today serves more than 100 million customers and has saved costs for multiple enterprises by automating 80% of customer grievances by using AI-powered virtual assistants effectively.
Client and Strategy
Haptik registered a 1,000% year on year growth in its revenue in 2019 while working with popular companies like Tata, Samsung, and Coca-Cola. The company has also acquired Convrg and Buzzo.ai in July and September 2019 respectively with the aim to further enhance voice and chat commerce solutions for its customers globally and to power the platform with multilingual capabilities.
The Road Ahead
The increasing AI ecosystem may seem to be thriving in the country, but it still faces a ton of challenges. A major one is the lack of AI professionals which India is facing despite having almost doubled the AI professionals it had the previous year of 2018. Also, large corporation still need to invest more in the R&D departments to give a boost to Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence while at the same time keeping their servers secure which as well is a big task during the present time of Covid-19. All in all, the AI ecosystem is growing at a fast pace in India but it needs continual support of the drivers to have the estimated influence on the GDP of India.