10 Indian Startups That Are Leading The AI Race: 2020

The number of AI startups in India has increased tremendously over the years. Apart from being adopted in major industries, Artificial intelligence has become a way of doing business in other niche areas such as farming or even security. To recognise the unconventional startups in the AI space, Analytics India Magazine comes with a list of 10 such exceptional startups that are leading the AI race every year. In this year’s list, we have covered startups that are not more than 3 to 4 years old and have headquarters in India. Most of these startups are funded externally and are working hard to bring about exceptional transformation in the Indian tech ecosystem.

Please note that this is not a ranking, and the startups are listed in alphabetical order. 

Here is last year’s list.

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1| Ajna AI

Chennai-based Ajna, pronounced “Agnya” was founded in May 2020. This AI startup aims to build SaaS products that deliver a vision-based video Analytics solution. The solutions currently provided by the startup include crowd safety intelligence, automated queue management system, and retail video analytics system. It uses computer vision to deploy real-time, edge-processing detection & tracking algorithms, that detect and analyse customer behaviour for analytics and safety solutions. It can carry out tasks such as mask detection, social distancing, people counting, safety reporting, crowd density analysis and risk prediction. 

Focused primarily on the retail industry, they have been able to solve problems such as limited information about customers and their behaviour in-store, low scalability due to manual-store analytics, lost potential revenue due to shrinkage and more. 

The Founding team: Sriram Sankar, Venkat BN, Sidhdharth Sivasubramanian, Dr Arangannal. The team is currently 7-people strong. 

Funding: The startup is bootstrapped.

2| Agricx

Agricx is a Google launchpad incubatee and has developed first of its kind mobile-based AI product “Procure+” that leverages machine learning for real-time quality inspection of agri produce & delivers actionable insight to stakeholders remotely. This Mumbai-headquartered startup is addressing the problem in the food industry such as finding the right buyer/seller, ensuring efficient procurement, increasing recovery, and most importantly the ability to provide objective feedback across the supply chain. It was founded with an aim to address disputes between trade buyers and sellers.

Agricx enables a frictionless transaction across the agro produce supply chain. With its patent-pending SaaS stack helps enterprise and growers digitise quality assessment at affordable prices. Using AI, it has converted a regular smartphone into an advanced quality assessment tool. 

The Founding Team: Saurabh Kumar (Co-founder, CEO) and Ritesh Dhoot (Co-founder, CTO). The team has 20 members across technology and sales. 

Funding: The startup raised INR 3.2 crore in Seed Round from Ankur Capital, CIIE & Angel investors in Feb 2018.

3| Expertrons

Calling themselves the Netflix for career hacks, this Mumbai-based startup is the world’s first AI video bot-assisted platform. Founded in 2019, the AI capabilities at Expertrons help aspirants learn from interview experience of other experts. 

It was founded to help college graduates have an experience of how it works at bigger organisations. They need to move beyond their colleges and access the alumni umbrella from different colleges to get the right consultation. The startup believes that the best person to tell you how to crack a particular interview is to ask someone who has actually cracked it. The AI ensures that video-bots of mentors are available 24×7 for interview question-related queries. Expertrons uses it’s AI recommendation engine to suggest which experts are the most suitable for a candidate – based on hometown, degree, program, preferred role, dream companies etc. 

The Founding Team: It was founded by Jatin Solanki (CTO & Co-founder), Vivek Gupta (CEO & Co-founder). The team currently comprises 60 employees. 

Funding: It raised undisclosed amount from Nikhil Vora, MD of Sixth Sense Venture, Iceland Venture Studio, LetsVenture, and Samyakth Capital.

4| Innefu

An Information Security R&D company, Innefu provides cutting edge information security & data analytics solutions. With more than 100 customers in India, Bangladesh and the Middle East, including the Government of India, this Delhi-based startup has become a leading player in AI in just nine years.

This 2010-founded startup was conceptualised with an aim to establish an AI-driven company focused on developing cutting edge technology to offer predictive intelligence and cybersecurity solutions. Its AI product called AI Vision offers next-gen video analytics and facial recognition solution with an accuracy of more than 98%. It leverages deep learning-based neural networks to accomplish the results. It is significantly used in security and surveillance, visitor management, employee attendance, intrusion detection, retail, satellite and drone image analysis and more. 

The Founding Team: Tirender Wig (Co-founder), Abhishek Sharma (Co-founder). Having started with a team of 10 people working out of the living room of a house, it now has more than 100 employees serving various geographies. 

Funding: Innefu Labs got funding from Indianivesh Venture Capital Ltd in the year 2017 and 2018.

5| Intello Labs

Founded in 2016, Intello Labs is an ag-tech startup that provides quality assessment products for fresh produce. With its cutting edge computing vision and AI technology, it can digitise food quality and enable complete transparency in the supply chain. The image-based products help food businesses to reduce value risk and wastage in the agriculture supply chains and ensure the best quality reaches the consumers. 

The product called the Intello Track is an app that uses the smartphone camera to capture the image, which is then processed by cloud-based AI to generate almost-instantaneous quality reports and calls-to-action. It then grades the produce based on colour, size and visual defects. The neural network algorithm developed by the startup identifies individual units of produce and detects contours on their surface. This task requires enormous data collection and training across various machine learning models. The startup was founded to address the challenges faced by the food industry such as changes in customer buying preferences, quality expectation and food losses. Intello Labs aims to bring transparency and standardisation to quality assessment of fruits and vegetables.

The Founding Team: It was founded by Milan Sharma (CEO), Nishant Mishra (CTO), Himani Shah (CFO), Devendra Chandani (Head- Business Development). The startup currently has more than 250 employees.

Funding: It recently secured $5.9 Mn in Series A round of funding led by SaamaCapital, alongside global agritech funds GROWAccelerator and SVG Ventures.

6| RayReach

Conceptualised in June last year with a handful of people, RayVision was developed to make CCTVs smart. As CCTV camera surveillance has become a universal norm and is being installed everywhere from factory floors, hospitals, railway stations, airports to parks, the camera feeds are usually monitored by dedicated teams which can be an intimidating task. 

It reads data directly from the CCTV camera feeds and then runs their proprietary algorithms combined with AI models to check for it. The AI ensures accurate surveillance eliminating human error and helps in releasing the dedicated workforce for inspection to more intelligent requirements. Having explored CCTV surveillance for some time, the startup has now ventured into addressing COVID-19 monitoring such as detecting face masks violation, crowding violation, social distancing violation, PPE violation, hand sanitiser usage and more. it lets the user receive violations notifications on Mobile App and perform Analytics on past violations using interactive dashboards. 

The Founding Team: Karthick Sethunarayanan (CEO and Founder). The RayReach team is currently 25-people strong. 

Funding: The startup is currently bootstrapped. 

7| Salesken AI

This Bengaluru-based startup is a group of technologists and training professionals who have come together to bring the best of AI and data sciences to sales performance. Salesken was founded in early 2019 to empower sales personnel to have productive conversations with their customers. With their conversation AI platform that analyses conversations and assists sales reps with cues or nudges in real-time, it help them to drive better outcomes. 

Through the use of ASR and NLP, Salesken analyses various aspects of a sales conversation like customer sentiment, the effectiveness of the sales pitch, and the fidelity to an ideal sales pitch. Through AI, Salesken provides sales reps with talking points, which are based on historical data and best practices, in real-time. This helps them engage customers better and close more deals. The startup currently works with some of the largest companies in education, finance, and technology space, in India and abroad.

The Founding Team: Surga Thilakan (CEO and Co-founder) and Sreeraman Vaidyanathan (Managing Director and Co-founder). Salesken AI team is currently 50-people strong. 

Funding: Salesken raised its Series-A funding of 8 million USD in March 2020, which was led by Sequoia Capital. It’s investors also include Unitus Ventures and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

8| Spyne

Founded in 2018, Gurgaon-based Spyne has developed deep tech editing solutions using computer vision and AI technologies that help with processing thousands of images at scale and bring efficiency in the photography industry. Initially launched as a content distribution platform for wedding photographers, the co-founders started exploring ways to organise data when they found the need to deal with humongous data that came in the form of managing millions of images. Spyne has since developed deep tech to automate manual processes and bring operational efficiencies in the photography industry. 

Some of their AI solutions include automated background removal and replacement for hundreds of background templates, automated upscaling of images, automated photo curation for quality, similarity, sharpness etc. The startup is also working on automating multiple use cases, which could bring in vast transformation in the way editing is done on the product images currently. 

The Founding Team: Spyne was founded by Sanjay Kumar, who is an IIT Kharagpur alumni and Deepti Prasad, who is an Economics post-graduate from Delhi School of Economics. Spyne has a team size of 42 members.

Funding: Spyne raised an undisclosed amount as growth capital in its pre-series funding in March 2020, led by Angellist, Smile Group, Manish Amin (CTO, Yatra), Anil Goel (CTO, OYO), Anubhav Sonthalia (CEO, Sokrati), Deepak Mittal (CEO, TO THE NEW), and other entrepreneurs from leading companies in India. The company had raised its seed funding last year, which was led by the Smile Group and other angel investors.

9| Tericsoft

Founded in 2018, this computer vision and AI company focus on offering a range of customised AI & Computer Vision Solutions for enterprises & startups. It also provides end to end computer vision AI automation platform & face recognition solutions to the clients. Tericsoft was founded with an aim to provide AI-based SAAS solutions/products for enterprises.

The visual data intelligence solution provided by the startup aims to help businesses to solve real-world problems and deploy on compute-constrained embedded devices by developing computationally efficient algorithms. Teric AI, the annotation platform by the startup trains models, tracks experiments, visualises and continuously improves model predictions. Teric AI can be hosted on the server such as Azure, GCP to have the best security and control in place.

The Founding Team: The founding team consists of Anand Reddy and Abdul Rahman Janoo, who met during their time at Waste Ventures. The team consists of 21 passionate and resilient employees with 15 full-time equivalents and six interns from all around the world. 

Funding: Tericsoft has been bootstrapped and has raised over INR 40 lakh from friends, family and acquaintances. They understand the concept of timing well and are waiting eagerly and patiently for their next big round. 

10| Vernacular AI

An AI-first SaaS startup, Vernacular.ai’s suite of speech and language solutions enable enterprises to convert audio to text by applying powerful neural network models in an easy-to-use API. Founded in 2016, this Bengaluru-headquartered startup helps enterprises automate call centre queries using its multilingual voice automation platform Vernacular Intelligent Voice Assistant – VIVA. As the pandemic accelerates, it is witnessing a pronounced increase in demand and new client signups with the increased adoption of automation. 

VIVA, which has been deployed in major enterprise contact centres, boosts customer stickiness and loyalty through a deep understanding of the customer’s context and intent. It currently serves sectors such as banking and finance, food and beverage, travel and tourism and more. VIVA automates up to 80% of their contact centre operations. It also uses natural language understanding (NLU) and speech recognition which supports around 10 Indian languages. Vernacular.ai was founded to address the language barrier that exists in many areas. 

The Founding Team: The founding members of Vernacular.ai are Sourabh Gupta (Co-founder and CEO), Akshay Deshraj (Co-founder and CTO), Prateek Gupta (Sales Lead), Abhinav Tushar (Artificial Intelligence Lead), Pravendra Singh Rathore (Product Lead). The employee strength of Vernacular.ai is 58 members. 

Funding: Vernacular.ai recently acquired its Series A investment of $5.1 million, led by Exfinity Ventures and Kalaari Capital. AngelList, IAN Fund, and LetsVenture also participated in the round. The capital will be used to fund expansion plans into Southeast Asia and the US, and towards R&D to further enhance our offerings. Prior to this, in 2017, Vernacular.ai had raised an undisclosed amount from Kalaari Capital’s accelerator programme, Kstart.

Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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