Google acquires Bengaluru-based AI startup Halli Labs

Photo: Halli Labs website

Google has snapped up yet another artificial intelligence (AI) startup. This time, it is Bengaluru-based Halli Labs, which claims to apply AI and machine learning (ML) techniques to old problems and domains.

Halli Labs shared the news in a Medium post earlier today. “We will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people’s hands around the world,” it noted in its post.

Halli Labs was founded by Pankaj Gupta, who was earlier the CTO at the now-defunct Stayzilla. His Twitter profile mentions he has also led personalization and recommendations at Twitter, and co-founded Specialized Types, a hybrid co-investment and technical advisory group, and two startups in the past.

According to some reports, the Bengaluru-based company, which says it is working on ML techniques, is a mere four months old. This portal has not been able to verify this independently. Halli Labs’ employee numbers are also not known.

“We are excited that the Halli Labs team is joining Google. They will be joining our team that is focused on building products that are designed for the next billion users coming online, particularly in India,” a Google spokesperson confirmed in a statement.

This development comes on a day when China-based AI firm SenseTime announced that it had secured a $410-million Series B round led by CDH Investments and Sailing Capitalmarking the largest ever fundraising round by a startup in this space globally. The deal also makes SenseTime the largest AI unicorn in China with a valuation of more than RMB10 billion ($1.47 billion).

The AI space has been abuzz with activity, with tech majors Google and Apple leading an acquisition spree. According to another CB Insights report, a total of 34 AI startups were acquired in the first quarter of this year.

Even as American tech giants speed up their acquisition spree, it is China and its internet firms that seem to be winning the race so far. China’s three leading internet firms — Baidu, Didi Chuxing and Tencent — have all set up artificial intelligence-focused research labs, even as Chinese government is set to unveil a multi-billion-dollar initiative to further propel domestic AI.

Also Read: Global tech giants go on AI startup acquisition spree

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