Why Hotify pivoted from news curation to AI solutions

Bengaluru-based Hotify Technologies Pvt Ltd, which used to operate an artificial intelligence-based news curation app, has shifted its business to provide AI-powered solutions, one of the co-founders of the company told VCCircle.

“After learning [our] lessons from working in the AI-based news curation business, we are pivoting towards applied AI solutions [in the] enterprise space,” K Ramesh Kumar, co-founder of Hotify, said.

Hotify stopped its news-based operations in July 2016 and began focusing on AI in November 2016.

The company differentiates itself from the big giants such as IBM, Google and Microsoft by offering multiple open-source algorithms and customising solutions for clients such as developing chatbots, Kumar explained.

“What an IBM would do is to train its algorithm for a specific purpose and provide a direct solution. Our advantage is that we can combine multiple APIs to achieve superior results,” he added.

The firm is working towards becoming a billion dollar company in the next three to five years, Kumar said. In the past 14 months, Hotify has worked with Fortune 100 companies retail, retail analytics, e-commerce, banking and financial services, insurance, digital marketing, manufacturing, and technology.

Hotify pivoted its business in order to generate more revenues and it will soon expand its operations to North America, where it will establish itself in Boston and New York, Kumar said.

Ramesh also said that the company will strike partnerships with educational institutions, set up AI research hubs in Tier 2 cities, establish co-innovation labs with large enterprises and partner with them for AI innovation.

“We have a very strong synergy with global research and development plans for applied AI and AI-powered technologies. By targeting the $5 billion research outlay for these technologies, we are creating a whole new business paradigm that will lay the foundation for continuous innovation and technology evolution and position us as a front-runner,” Preethi S Narayanan, president AI solutions at Hotify AI, said.

Hotify was founded in January 2015 by Ankur Dinesh Garg (chief executive), Kumar (chief operating offier), Abhinav Dinesh, Li Jian, and Alok Gautam. Dinesh, Jian and Gautam are no longer associated with Hotify, their LinkedIn profiles show. Ankur and Abhinav had previously founded digital news website iamWire, where Ankur was briefly the CEO. The venture is now headed by Abhinav. Gautam, an alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad, had earlier founded education and corporate training venture Travelocon. Li, who invested in iamWire, is the founder of Draphant Consultants.

An electrical and computer engineer, Kumar has over 20 years of experience in global technology product delivery, while Garg, a master’s in tech from IIT Bombay, has over 12 years of experience in technology, supply chain, digital marketing, banking, e-commerce and retail tech.

In December 2015, the company raised $150,000 (Rs 1 crore) in seed investment from Mahavir Pratap Sharma, the co-founder of Rajasthan Angel Innovators Network (RAIN).

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