World Economy

AI Startups Gaining Momentum in India

The market for AI technologies is flourishing.The market for AI technologies is flourishing.

Nasscom, the National Association of Software and Services Companies, says AI funding in India has gone up from $44 million to $73 million in a year. Investors are now keen to back “mature” ventures.

Nasscom wants to nurture innovation in emerging technologies in India. In a bid to foster development in the sector, the industry body has, in partnership with the government of Karnataka, launched the Center of Excellence for Data Science in Bengaluru. The CoE will develop skill and talent, build tech capability and ecosystem, and grow new opportunities for business, PTI reported.

Nasscom is particularly bullish about Artificial Intelligence. There should be “a robust AI policy framework that needs to touch upon the social, economic and ethical considerations of a well-governed society,” it said. Nasscom is supporting the government’s ‘National Strategy for AI’ and facilitating collaboration between the NITI Aayog and the CoE. It has also partnered with Intel and IBM “for augmenting and accelerating” the AI ecosystem in the country. AI, it believes, has the potential to add $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035. Healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure are likely to be the key sectors benefiting from AI.  

Nasscom has just released its Artificial Intelligence Primer 2018, where it reveals how AI startups have gained momentum in the past few years. Debjani Ghosh, President of Nasscom, said, “India saw 400+ AI startups and nearly $150 million invested in the last five years. Investor focus is shifting to more mature startups with increased investments.”

AI is predominantly being used in “advanced analytics, Natural Language Processing, computer vision, robotic process automation, speech recognition and chatbots,” Rakesh Kumar, Director of Research at Nasscom, said.  

Sectors leading AI adoption are banking and financial services, retail, healthcare and manufacturing.

Globally, AI funding has gone up three-fold in the last five years, the report indicated. While fewer startups are being funded, 70% more investments are being made. It implies that investors are more keen to back mature ventures—a trend playing out in India as well.

“The market for artificial intelligence technologies is flourishing. Beyond the hype and the heightened media attention, the numerous startups, and the internet giants racing to acquire them, there is a significant increase in investment and adoption by enterprises,” Kumar said.

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