Pi Ventures, an early-stage venture fund focused on investing in areas of artificiai Intelligence, machine learning and the Internet of Things has secured $13 million as part of its maiden $30-million fund, which is expected to close by the end of 2017.
Among the backers of Pi Ventures is the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), family offices of HNIs from USA, Canada, Singapore and India and individuals such as Mohandas Pai, Binny Bansal, Deep Kalra Sanjeev Bikchandani and Bhupen Shah.
“India is the dark horse in the AI race given it has a lot of data, brilliant data science talent & early adoption environment due to broken processes and we are happy to play a part in helping India leapfrog with AI,” said Manish Singhal, Founding Partner at Pi Ventures. “We are very excited to play a role in building a strong AI based product ecosystem in India.”
Pi Ventures is looking to invest in between 18-20 startups in a span of 3-4 years. So far it has already backed three startups SigTuple, Zenatix and ten3T which play in the medical, energy and medical IoT spaces. The firm is one among the few new investors emerging to serve a niche sector in India’s growing startup industry.
Founded by Manish Singhal, former co-founder and CEO of LetsVenture and Umakant Soni, founder of AI Bot company Vimagino, Pi Ventures is looking to back startups with strong Intellectual Property and defendability in the fast growing space of AI.
India is fast becoming a hub for AI startups thanks to the availability of trained resources coming out of the data sciences labs of MNC companies
such as Google, Microsoft, Xerox which were setup in India a decade ago. While the country still lags behind Silicon Valley, Israel and the UK in terms of the prowess of its AI startups, India has an advantage in terms of manpower which the other startup hubs lack.