Kolkata-based Mihup Communications Pvt Ltd, which operates an artificial intelligence-based personal mobile assistant app, has secured over Rs 45 crore ($6.7 million) from Accel Partners. The VC firm is picking up 20% stake in the startup.
Besides Accel, Stayzilla’s chief technology officer and former chief data scientist at Twitter Pankaj Gupta has also picked a 0.99% stake in the firm, according to a report in The Times of India.
The funds will be used to develop the software and hardware of Mihup’s speech recognition system and man-machine interface. The final product will be rolled out after Diwali this year.
Mihup was launched at beta stage in 2014 by engineering professionals Tapan Barman, Biplab Chakraborty and Sandipan Mandal, and provides information on travel, sports, news, entertainment restaurants and more. Barman and Chakraborty are also the co-founders of Nectar Consultancy Services, from where the Mihup chat assistant was developed.
The past few months have seen some personal assistant chat apps pivot their business models, while some have raised funds.
Last month, artificial intelligence chatbot shopping app Mezi raised $9 million (Rs 60 crore) in Series A funding from Saama Capital, American Express Ventures, existing investor Nexus Venture Partners and others. The Mezi personal assistant is created to learn the shopping preferences of customers and then provide personalised services.
Gurgaon-based travel search marketplace Ixigo.com released an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot called ixibaba which helps users plan trips and provides information on weather, things to do in a city and tips for offbeat activities.
In June, app-based concierge services provider Joe Hukum recast its business model to focus more on B2B operations. The B2C segment offered very low margins, hence the pivot.
In May, personal assistant app Helpchat closed operations as it found it difficult to retain customers. The firm initially started out as an online customer feedback platform, Akosha.com and then became Helpchat. It had last raised $16 million (Rs 100 crore) in Series B from Sequoia Capital.
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