AI-based climate-focused startup Blue Sky pockets a cheque

By Narinder Kapur

  • 20 May 2020

Xacmaz Technology Pvt. Ltd, which operates climate action-focused data startup Blue Sky Analytics, has received $360,000 (about Rs 2.72 crore at current exchange rates) in prize money from a couple of philanthropic organisations.

The company received much of this capital from the Patrick McGovern Foundation and Schmidt Futures, which are associated with International Data Group founder Patrick J McGovern and former Alphabet Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt.

Part of this money has also come through MIT Solve, an impact-focused initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This includes a prize for innovations in the artificial intelligence space.

Abhilasha Purwar, CEO at Blue Sky, told VCCircle that the company will use the money to build its products – developed as application programming interfaces (APIs) – and hire talent for its developer and data science teams.

New Delhi-based Blue Sky was set up in 2018 by Purwar and Kshitij Purwar. The company says it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze satellite data and build environmental monitoring products that have a multi-case use purpose.

Per her LinkedIn page, Purwar is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) – Varanasi and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. She has worked with WeWork India and GoldenSet Capital Partners, a clean-energy focussed investment firm.

Kshitij Purwar, meanwhile, functions as Blue Sky Analytics’ chief technology officer and has worked as a freelance developer and a member of the core team of software-as-a-service collaboration suite Hiver.

The company says it is aiming to build out a database for environmental data, similar to multinational financial data and software company Bloomberg. Currently, the company licenses one API to clients, with two more under various stages of development.

Clients of the companies include small and large enterprises in several sectors and municipal bodies, Purwar said.

Deals in the AI and data segment

Overall investor and strategic interest in startups employing frontier technologies such as AI and machine learning have risen in the past several years. Traditional and impact-focused firms and platforms have bet on startups that are these tools to change work processes and have positive impacts on communities.

Earlier this month, for example, business photography firm Spyne raised funding as part of its pre-Series A round. Capital came in from AngelList and the Smile Group, with participation from angel investors including Yatra COO Manish Amin and OYO chief technology officer Anil Goel.

Also this month, multilingual AI business platform raised $5.1 million (around Rs 38 crore) in its Series A funding round. The exercise was led by Exfinity Ventures and the IAN Fund.

Last month, Inflection Point Ventures bet $400,000 (around Rs 3 crore) on Vogueme Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operates video meta-tagging and analysis platform Toch.

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