Artificial intelligence tech startup Mad Street Den raises $1.5M from Exfinity & GrowX

Chennai-based artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision technology startup Mad Street Den Systems Pvt. Ltd. has raised $1.5 million (about Rs 9 crore) in seed funding round from Exfinity Venture Partners LLP and GrowX Ventures, according to a top executive of the company. The funds will be used for tech development.

 “We’re taking a bet on MSD bringing AI from the hallowed domains of the few and making it accessible to the world-at-large, which could have a dramatic impact on businesses and lives everywhere,” Sheetal Bahl, CEO, GrowX, said.

Mad Street Den was founded in mid-2014 by husband-wife duo Ashwini Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran.

Before starting Mad Street Den, Ashwini was mobile portfolio manager at Intel and prior to that had worked at Imprint Colour Graphics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication from Madras University and a master’s in Interaction Design from Carnegie Mellon University. Chandrasekaran, an electrical engineer from IIT-Madras with PhD in Neuroscience, has previously worked at Zort Technologies, Evolved Machines Inc, among others.

Mad Street Den offers AI and computer vision through its cloud-based platform to businesses around the world. Its platform - the MADStack offers a wide range of computer vision modules.

The firm's flagship product is visual search for fashion based e-commerce. It allows users to take a picture of any dress (worn by someone participating in a party, for instance) and find it on any online shopping portal and also gives recommendations based on visual qualities of clothes. The other industries which the firm caters to include gaming, ad tech, analytics - user engagement measurement and market research.

Exfinity (erstwhile Reservoir Investment Managers) was incorporated in October last year. It is an early stage venture capital firm floated by IT industry bigwigs including former Infosys execs V Balakrishnan and Mohandas Pai among others.

Based out of Bangalore, Exfinity’s first fund, Exfinity Technology Fund I, backs early stage ventures in Information Technology space. The firm made its final close of its maiden fund Exfinity Technology Fund – Series I (ETF-I) at Rs 125 crore (around $20 million) in August this year. Earlier it had invested in on-demand video distribution startup RiverSilica.

GrowX invests in ideation stage, prototype, proof-of-stage and early revenues startups. The fund has already invested in nine ventures including AdSparx (video ad tech platform), FortunePay (e-payments processing), ShepHertz (cloud platform for app developers), and Zolijns Designs (furniture and furnishings) in India; and Quandl in Canada, among others.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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