With a view to build its own product portfolio of voice-based and AI-enabled conversational products, Reliance Jio Digital, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has acquired a majority stake in Mumbai-based Artificial Intelligence-based conversational platform, Haptik for Rs 700 crore.
While RIL has paid Rs 230 crore, the transaction size of Rs 700 crore includes an investment of Rs 470 crore which will come into Haptik over the next five years. Post the transaction, Reliance Jio Digital will hold about 87 per cent of Haptik while the company’s founders and employees will own the rest of the shares through stock option grants.
With this deal, all of Haptik’s business and holdings will be transferred to Reliance Jio Digital Services, a prepared statement said.
Existing investor Times Internet, a part of the Times group, will exit as part of this transaction. The company’s other institutional investor is venture fund Kalaari Capital, which had cashed out in an earlier funding round.
The investment shall be utilised by Haptik to scale up operations with an addressable market opportunity of over 1 billion users in India. The partnership is expected to boost Haptik’s existing enterprise business, augmenting its ability to build innovative solutions for enterprise partners across the globe.
Global giants like Amazon, Google and Apple already have voice-enabled products including Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant, and Apple’s Siri. Haptik, however, will focus on Indian vernacular languages.
Reliance move can be seen as adding to the digital ecosystem and providing Indian users conversational AI-enabled devices with multilingual capabilities. This is in line with the company’s belief that voice interactivity will be the primary mode of interaction for Digital India.
Haptik will be Reliance’s sixth startup acquisition in the last two months. This includes logistics platform Grab A Grub for Rs 106 crore, software firm EasyGov for Rs 18 crore, software simulation services startup Sankhya Sutra Labs for Rs 16.02 crore, pharma-focused software solutions company C-Square Info Solutions for Rs 22.04 crore and technology service provider Reverie for Rs 190 crore.
The regulatory filing for the fiscal year 2017-18 show that Haptik’s revenue stood at Rs 4.6 crore on a loss of Rs 22.5 crore. The company was founded by Vaish and Swapan Rajdev in 2013 and has raised $13 million so far. Haptik enables businesses to build chatbots to automate business processes.