AI start-up ecosystem spurts as tech adoption surges

Dhyanesh Vaishnav Mumbai | Updated on August 09, 2019 Published on August 09, 2019

With Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning emerging as the next big thing in the technology landscape, India is seeing a huge spurt in the number of start-ups coming up with innovative software solutions in this area.

While Nasscom said there has been a 50 per cent CAGR in the Artificial Intelligence start-up ecosystem between 2013-2018, a recent report by International Data Corporation estimated a potential growth of 17 per cent in the analytics and Artificial Intelligence industry by the end of 2019 in India.

“The reasons behind the growth are increasing volumes of data generation at the enterprise level, digital transformation initiatives from top level executives and organisational investments in analytical tools powered by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning,” said Mohsin Baig, Market Analyst, Enterprise Software, IDC India.

Mohankrishnan P, head of Centre for Excellence, Data Science and Artificial Intelligence at NASSCOM, says the power of Artificial Intelligence has been magnified by other emerging technologies such as IOT, cyber security and Intelligent Automation. “The data explosion and the need for companies to build a competitive edge by collecting and conserving data has contributed to the steady growth of AI. We have seen a constant growth of 50 per cent CAGR between 2013-2018 in the Artificial Intelligence start-up ecosystem,” said Mohankrishnan.

For example, Haptik witnessed a 1,000 per cent Year-on-Year business growth during FY 2017-18 to 2018-19. “The growth in demand has been huge and rapid. The massive demand has driven a 14X increase in the number of active AI start-ups since 2000, while investment in AI start-ups by venture capitalists has grown 6X during the same period,” said Aakrit Vaish, co-founder and CEO, Haptik.

“Enterprises all over the world have realised that AI-driven solutions are probably the best tool to enable operations across departments to function in the way they were meant to do. Conversational AI solutions, for instance, offer customers 24x7 accessibility to resolve their queries anytime, anywhere, enhancing brand credibility. AI solutions achieve the desired objectives at a fraction of the cost that would be otherwise be spent in training personnel,” says Vaish.

According to experts, the initial adoption of AI has been for process-driven jobs. “There is a considerable shortage of both resources and skills within the market and so individual processes naturally need automation. This also frees human resources from repetitive and fatigue-causing work, which hampers their efficiency and work output. Moreover, automating such processes enables us to have the perfect approach for each and every customer, while maintaining intense personalisation,” said Kartik Walia, Head of Operations (India), at

Voxta Communications, which specialises in voicebot AI, sees high demand for specific AI services, whereas the demand for generic AI remains low. “We are seeing incredible growth in India for AI applications tailored to specific scenarios and industries, such as our voicebot applications for customer service, or FAQs on mobiles. Generic AI services do not have as much demand in India, but any talent pool of AI experts will find demand in the US, where the demand is sucking up AI experts, leading to a shortage," said Sirish Reddi , co-founder at Voxta Communications.

Others like Sethuraman T A, Co-Founder, Jungroo, an AI-based learning platform, sees the resistance to let go off existing systems, as a major challenge in adapting to AI. “There is an increase in business, but there is an inhibition to move away from existing systems. Also, educational AI has a lot to do with teaching style, content and pedagogy, which will pick up only when experienced,” said Sethuraman.

Start-ups offering AI solutions for travel and tourism, retail, e-commerce, banking and insurance are particularly seeing higher adoption of AI and Data Analytics.

Published on August 09, 2019

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