HDFC Bank writes cheque to financial services-focused firm Lentra AI

By Narinder Kapur

  • 22 Nov 2019
Credit: Reuters

Banking and financial services company HDFC Bank Ltd has invested around Rs 7 crore (nearly $1 million at current exchange rates) in Lentra AI Pvt. Ltd, a financial services focussed software products startup.

The company has subscribed to 41,228 debentures (CCDs) issued by Lentra AI which are compulsorily convertible into 41,228 equity shares of Lentra at Rs. 1,697.87 per equity share, HDFC Bank said in a stock exchange filing.

Currently, HDFC Bank holds around 12% stake in Lentra, which will increase to 13.8% before it dilutes to 9.99% after the larger equity fundraising round.

Another arm of the larger HDFC group, HDFC Investments Ltd, also holds 12% stake in Lentra, the filing added.

Lentra was incorporated in July 2018 to take over the software business undertakings of Softcell Technologies Ltd (STL) after it demerged into STL, Softcell Technologies Global Pvt. Ltd and Lentra, following an order by the National Company Law Tribunal.

Deals in the startup segment

There have been strategic interest in the AI segment for a while now; with established corporates seeking to leverage frontier technologies by way of investing or acquiring such startups outright.

In August, VCCircle reported that India-based TVS Motor Company Ltd invested $3.2 million (around Rs 22.8 crore) in Predictronics Corp., a US-based maintenance analytics firm. TVS invested in other new technology companies as well, including Tagbox Solutions and Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd.

In July, Reliance Industries Ltd-controlled AI-based conversational platform Haptik Inc. announced it acqui-hired Los Angeles-based conversational AI startup Convrg Technologies Inc. to expand its business in North America.

AI-focused startups that have raised capital in the recent past include mental health platform Wysa and FrontdeskAI, which develops AI assistants for small businesses.

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