To give a major boost to AI based developments in the country, pi Ventures, India’s first stage venture fund focused on applied artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT, has announced the second close to their fund at $25 mn (~160CR INR).
Co-founded by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, pi Ventures invests in early stage startups that focus on solving problems in healthcare, logistics, retail, fintech and enterprise sectors using applied AI, ML & IoT. With a rich experience in setting up, building and scaling companies, the VC led by Singhal and Soni, plans to invest in 18-20 startups over a time frame of 3-4 years. It had announced its first close of $13 mn in March 2017.
It has so far invested in four startups in the healthcare & energy-efficiency space, as follows:
- Sigtuple, that is creating deep learning driven, cloud based solution for detection of abnormalities and trends in medical data for blood diagnosis.
- Zenatix, a data-driven energy efficiency company, using advanced machine learning based models that delivers up to 30% energy efficiency to large commercial consumers of electricity.
- Ten3T, that builds wearable medical devices that collects and integrates medical grade data in real time like an ECG through its own smart patches to enable mobile ICU for smaller hospitals.
- NIRAMAI Health Analytix, a health tech startup that is building a revolutionary non-invasive, non-touch, non-radiation approach to detect breast cancer much earlier than traditional methods or self-examination.
The key contributor in its recent announcement comes from the likes of Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman of Hero Enterprise, Electronic Development Fund (managed by Canbank Ventures), Hero Electronixs and leading HNIs and entrepreneurs. Earlier Limited Partners include India’s top lender to small businesses, SIDBI, In Colour Capital from Canada, prominent family offices from USA, Canada, Singapore & India and leading entrepreneurs like Mohandas Pai, Binny Bansal, Deep Kalra, Sanjeev Bikchandani and Bhupen Shah among others.
Sunil Kant Munjal, an entrepreneur, institution builder, angel investor and thought leader said “It is heartening to see many free-spirited Indians who are not just trying to make a mark in applied AI and machine learning but also seeking new frontiers.”
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“Supporting them through pi Ventures is an interesting and exciting opportunity. After all, the future of technology doesn’t just belong to mega corporations, it belongs equally to smart and visionary people working in small companies and startups’’.
Sunil Kant led Hero Enterprise has made key investments in high growth e-commerce enterprises, cutting edge lighting solutions firms, hospitality and other areas. It is also supporting startups in the areas of digital learning, healthcare, women empowerment and others.
Manish Singhal, Founding Partner, pi Ventures said, “We are thankful to our backers and privileged to be able to support innovation that will make a tangible difference not only to businesses and the economy but more importantly to the lives of people. We are very excited to be able to back path breaking companies in the Artificial Intelligence area making a substantial difference in various sectors like Healthcare, Logistics, Energy, etc”.
The VC claims to be holding interesting #chAI sessions, aka AI over a cup of chai sessions to bring together and encourage the ecosystem. An open-for-all session, it has been attended by researchers from universities, startups, large companies and students. It has lead to a lot of cross pollination of ideas, educating the audience about best practices in building AI companies.