Reliance Jio is poised to create more ripples in the artificial intelligence sector, with the acquisition of 87% stake in chatbot startup Haptik in a ₹700 crore deal. The total transaction size, including primary capital investment, includes ₹230 crore as the consideration for the initial business transfer from Haptik to Jio.
The Haptik team will continue to drive the growth of the business, including the enterprise platform as well as digital consumer assistants. On a fully diluted basis, RIL will hold about 87% stake in the company, with the rest with Haptik’s founders and employees.
With the acquisition of Haptik, Jio plans to go big in the natural language processing domain. NLP has already been garnering a lot of interest in the corporate sector because of its innumerable applications ranging from speech assistants to sentimental analysis and recommendation engines. The telecom giant is leaving no stone unturned as it has already acquired Mumbai-based hyperlocal delivery platform, Grab.
Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO of Haptik, said about this development, “We started with the idea that Conversational interfaces will cause a paradigm shift in the way people get things done. Over the course, we have built various products across both consumer and enterprise businesses, with the backbone always being a full stack chat and voice-enabled AI technology platform. We truly believe now is the opportunity to serve the next billion users who come online, and who better to partner with than one of the world’s largest digital ecosystems in Jio. We look forward to using the capital and strategic opportunity to exponentially scale up the business across various product lines.”
Haptik has been creating news in 2019, primarily because of the launch of a new chatbot by the Maharashtra Government. This chatbot, available on Aaple Sarkar RTS (Right to Services) provides easy, conversational access to information regarding 1,400 public services managed by the state government. With this, Haptik had effectively simplified the process of searching through the vast array of public services.
Speaking about the reason behind buying 87% stake in Haptik, Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio, said, “This strategic investment underlines our commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide Indian users conversational AI-enabled devices with multilingual capabilities. We believe voice interactivity will be the primary mode of interaction for digital India. We are delighted to announce this partnership, and look forward to the highly experienced team of Haptik in realising this vision for greater connectivity and rich communication experiences to the billion-plus Indian consumers.”
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Prajakta is a Writer/Editor/Social Media diva. Lover of all that is 'quaint', her favourite things include dogs, Starbucks, butter popcorn, Jane Austen novels and neo-noir films. She has previously worked for HuffPost, CNN IBN, The Indian Express and Bose.