In a strategic investment, Bharti Airtel has picked up a 10 per cent stake in Voicezen India Pvt. Ltd, an early-stage startup focused on conversational AI technologies, for an undisclosed amount.
According to a statement issued by the Sunil Mittal-led telecom company, the transaction has been routed through its Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.
Gurgaon-based Voicezen has been working on developing solutions that leverage machine learning, AI, speech-to-text and voice technologies to offer real-time analytics to help brands serve customers better.
“AI is a big focus area for Airtel given the deep positive impact the technology can have in transforming customer experience,” said Bharti Airtel chief product officer Adarsh Nair.
The investment will give Airtel access to Voicezen’s technologies, which, in turn, can be deployed across its customer touch-points in multiple languages.
Voicezen is the third startup to become a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program. By becoming a part of this program, Voicezen will get the opportunity to deploy its technologies on a massive scale and work closely with Airtel on developing India-first platforms.
“Having worked on AI solutions in the past, we knew what works well in a lab most often doesn’t work in the real world… with this strategic investment, we will work even more closely with them (Bharti Airtel) to continuously improve our AI models,” said Voicezen founder Apurba Nath.
Airtel Startup Accelerator Program allows startups to leverage Airtel’s robust ecosystem, including its core strengths in data, distribution, networks and payments. It recently made headlines when it acquired a strategic stake in fitness startup Spectacom Global Pvt Ltd.
The global conversational AI market stood at $4.2 billion in 2019, according to industry data available. It is expected to touch $15.7 billion by 2024, opening up opportunities to companies operating in this area.