Ola founder’s AI startup becomes unicorn in $50M funding

Key Takeaways:

– Krutrim, an AI startup founded by Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal, has raised a funding round that values it at $1 billion.
– It is the fastest Indian startup to become a unicorn and the first Indian AI startup to achieve this status.
– Matrix Partners India led the $50 million funding round in Krutrim.
– Krutrim is developing a large language model that has been trained on local Indian languages as well as English.
– The startup plans to launch a conversational AI assistant that understands and speaks multiple Indian languages.
– A beta version of the chatbot will be available to consumers next month, with APIs to be rolled out to developers and enterprises later.
– This is Aggarwal’s third venture, with Ola leading the ride-hailing market and Ola Electric leading the two-wheeler EV market in India.
– The investment in Krutrim reflects the global rush to back AI breakthroughs and capitalize on their potential in various industries.
– India has yet to make a significant impact in the AI race, with no contenders emerging to challenge dominant language model titans.
– Other Indian startups, such as Sargam, are also developing large language models with the support of investors like Peak XV and Lightspeed India.

TechCrunch:

Krutrim, an AI startup founded by Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal, said it has raised a funding round that values it at $1 billion. The startup, founded last year, is the fastest to become a unicorn in India, it claimed in a press statement. It’s also the first Indian AI startup to become a unicorn, it said.

Matrix Partners India — which has also backed Aggarwal’s other two startups, ride-hailing firm Ola and EV startup Ola Electric — led the $50 million “first round” in Krutrim, it said Friday. TechCrunch reported last year that Aggarwal was in talks to raise $50 million for his new AI venture.

Krutrim is building a large language model that has been trained on local Indian languages in addition to English. The startup plans to launch a conversational AI assistant that understands and speaks multiple Indian languages, the startup said.

The startup plans to make a beta version of its eponymous chatbot available to consumers next month and follow it with rolling out APIs to developers and enterprises.

Krutrim is Aggarwal’s third venture. Ola, his first, leads the ride-hailing market in India and is eyeing profitability. Ola Electric leads the two-wheeler EV market in India and recently filed paperwork for a $662 million initial public offering.

“India has to build its own AI, and at कृत्रिम, we are fully committed towards building the country’s first complete AI computing stack,” Aggarwal said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to announce the successful closure of our first funding round, which not only validates the potential of कृत्रिम ’s innovative AI solutions but also underscores the confidence investors have in our ability to drive meaningful change out of India for the world.”

The investment in Krutrim comes at a time when investors globally are rushing to identify and back AI breakthrough, banking on the thesis that advances in AI will make countless industries more efficient and startups at the forefront will deliver generational returns.

Despite being home to one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems, India has yet to make a material impact in the AI race. Indian contenders have yet to emerge and challenge the dominance of large language model titans such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Amazon-backed Anthropic, or Google’s Bard.

Indian powerhouse Reliance partnered with Nvidia in September, revealing plans to build a large language model that is trained on India’s diverse languages. But the firm — run by Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest person — has yet to launch its offering.

Peak XV and Lightspeed India recently backed Sargam, an AI startup that is also building a large language model.

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AI Eclipse TLDR:

Krutrim, an AI startup founded by Bhavish Aggarwal, the founder of Ola, has raised a funding round that values the company at $1 billion. The startup, which was founded last year, claims to be the fastest unicorn in India and the first Indian AI startup to become a unicorn. The funding round was led by Matrix Partners India, which has also backed Aggarwal’s other startups, Ola and Ola Electric. Krutrim is building a large language model that has been trained on local Indian languages as well as English. The startup plans to launch a conversational AI assistant that can understand and speak multiple Indian languages. The beta version of its chatbot will be available to consumers next month, followed by APIs for developers and enterprises. This is Aggarwal’s third venture, with Ola leading the ride-hailing market in India and Ola Electric leading the two-wheeler EV market. The investment in Krutrim comes at a time when investors globally are rushing to back AI breakthroughs, betting on the potential for AI to make industries more efficient. Despite India having one of the largest startup ecosystems, it has yet to make a significant impact in the AI race compared to giants like OpenAI, Amazon-backed Anthropic, and Google. However, other Indian AI startups, such as Sargam, have recently received backing from Peak XV and Lightspeed India.