Lightspeed, Falcon Edge lead Series A funding in enterprise AI startup Nextbillionai
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NextBillion AI, which operates the artificial intelligence-based enterprise platform focussed on hyperlocal solutions, has raised $7 million (approximately Rs 52.89 crore at current exchange rates) in its Series A funding round.

The round has been co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Falcon Edge Capital, Nextbillionai said in a statement. As part of this transaction, Lightspeed partner Hemant Mohapatra and Falcon Edge co-founder Navroz Udwadia have joined the startup’s board.

Other investors associated with the company include former Freshworks chief operating officer Nishant Rao, Cassandra founder Prashant Malik, and Mad Street Den founders Anand Chandrasekaran and Ashwini Asokan.

The Singapore-based company will use the funds to grow its team, build out vertical-specific capabilities, and enter new domains.

Nextbillion AI was founded earlier this year by Ajay Bulusu, Gaurav Bubna and Shaolin Zheng. All three were part of the key technological team at multinational ride-hailing company Grab.

The startup says it aims to be a leader in the AI-powered hyperlocal solutions space. This includes AI-based areas such as mapping, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), content moderation and facial recognition. It currently has a presence in Singapore, China and India.

“We see opportunity in building an inclusive world offering equal access to technology solutions in the most intelligent, secured and affordable manner,” Bubna said.

Separately, Mohapatra and Udwadia said they were confident of their firms’ investment in Nextbillion AI because of its focus on emerging markets.

Deals in the AI segment

Overall investor and strategic interest in startups employing frontier technologies such as AI and machine learning have risen in the past several years.

Such startups are applying their platforms to several sectors, seeking to augment existing processes, bring down operating costs and allow for product innovation.

Last month, AI-based businesses photography firm Spyne raised pre-Series A funding from AngelList, along with participation from the Smile Group. Angel investors including Yatra chief operating officer Manish Amin, OYO chief technology officer Anil Goel, Sokrati CEO Anubhav Sonthalia and To The New CEO Deepak Mittal also took part.

Also in May, multilingual AI business platform Vernacular.ai 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.

In April, 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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