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Ratan N. Tata has invested an undisclosed amount in artificial intelligence (AI) based chatbot niki.ai, along with Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures that did a follow up round to their first seed investment.

Niki had raised an undisclosed amount of funding in its seed round from Ronnie Screwvala’s Unilazer Ventures in 2015.

Chatbots are essentially artificially intelligent micro-assistants that answer questions and offer informations within a chat app.

Founded in April 2015 by four IIT Kharagpur alumni Shishir Modi, Sachin Jaiswal, Keshav Prawasi and Nitin Babel, niki.ai is a bot that lets users order anything through a chat interface. It leverages the technology of natural language processing and machine learning to converse with the customers over a simple chat interface, and places their orders within seconds with the partner businesses.

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Founder of Unilazer, Ronnie Screwvala said, “Chatbots have now picked up globally and Niki has been at the forefront of this innovation, building the technology for over a year now.”

Currently, Niki chatbot offers bill payments, cab booking, recharge, food ordering, home services, and cricket scores. The startup has now grown to a 21 members team and has partnered with more than 25 brands having a user base of 40,000 spread across India.

The startup plans to expand aggressively across categories and facilitate more consumer delight through the newly raised capital.

There has been quite a buzz around chatbots and bot platforms since late last year. Recently, Mumbai-based retail technology startup Fynd launched Fify – world’s first fashion shopping “botfriend”. There are various bot platform like slack, Line, Kik and Telegram. Facebook and Microsoft too opened their chatbot platforms, CNN and Tay, respectively. It is also expected that Google will soon follow their footsteps.

Besides, AI has become the new ecommerce for 2016. There have been many startups in AI space that have secured funding which includes  Arya.ai, Retention.ai, Active.AI and more.


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