Reliance-controlled Haptik acqui-hires US AI startup Convrg
From left: Timothy Carey, Liz Snower, Amit Gupta, Audrey Wu, Aakrit Vaish and Nikhil Kejriwal

Haptik Inc., an artificial intelligence-based conversational platform controlled by Reliance Industries Ltd, has acqui-hired Los Angeles-based conversational AI startup Convrg Technologies Inc. to expand its business in North America.

Convrg’s founding team--Audrey Wu, Liz Snower and Amit Gupta--will report to Timothy Carey, Haptik's general manager for North America.

Wu will be vice president of strategic partnerships, Snower will be vice president of growth and Gupta will be vice president of technology solutions, Haptik said in a statement. 

Haptik co-founder and chief executive officer Aakrit Vaish said the company had realised the need for a dedicated full-time operations in the US. “The team we’ve put in place gives us a solid foothold in the US,” he added.

The transaction comes barely months after Reliance, through wholly owned unit Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd, acquired an 87% stake in Haptik for a total of $100 million. At the time, Reliance said it would pay Rs 230 crore ($30 million) for the initial business transfer from Haptik to wholly owned unit Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd.

The company will continue to operate as a separate brand entity with its founding team and workforce becoming part of Reliance Jio Digital.

Haptik was founded in 2013 by Vaish and Swapan Rajdev. It offers an AI-based chatbot that helps consumers interact with organisations via text and voice. For these organisations, Haptik offers solutions that help in customer service, customer feedback, user engagement and lead generation.

Its clients include Samsung, KFC, Amazon Web Services, ICICI Bank and The Times of India. In 2016, Haptik raised an undisclosed amount from Times Internet in its Series B funding round. The firm also formed a partnership with the Times Group.

Deals in the AI space

There have been several movements in the artificial intelligence segment across sectors. Investors and corporates are eyeing to establish a market and technology-based presence in the space.

Last week, Larsen & Toubro Infotech Ltd agreed to acquire advanced analytics company Lymbyc Solutions Pvt. Ltd to strengthen its digital and analytics offerings. Lymbyc’s enterprise value was quoted at Rs 38 crore (around $5.5 million) on a cash-free, debt-free basis.

AI-focussed Startups which 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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