Bengaluru startup Liv.ai acquired by Flipkart

By arvind |Email | Aug 23, 2018 | 3432 Views

We all are familiar with flipkart, in our metropolitan cities it is quite a familiar name and an easy, non tiring way to buy things online. But how many time has it happened that your mother or father who might not be that well versed in the English language, shy away from buying a products from these online retail market. 

Flipkart is India's one of the largest online marketplace if not the largest. Being a leading online market place one area in which it lagged behind its rival was- AI voice assistant platform. A while ago when Amazon came out with Alexa the company's AI voice assistant it brought a new dimension to the business of e-commerce, or online shopping. For the longest time Flipkart didn't have anything to challenge that, until it announced that it has acquired Liv.AI a Bengaluru based start-up. The start-up which was founded by Subodh kumar, Kishore Mundra and Sanjeev Kumar all former IIT graduates was founded back in 2015 and is an AI based platform that converts text into speech. As of now, Liv.ai is able to convert around 10 or more Indian languages from speech to text. Some of the languages it can convert are Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, and Telugu amongst many others.

Flipkarts CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy in an interview said, รข??The voice solutions would not be restricted to a particular form factor such as smartphone or Amazon Echo-style smart speaker. Instead, the acquisition would provide the company with the much-needed capabilities to understand customer queries through voice and in local Indian Languages.

While the company has made it clear that its main focus as of now would be make shopping experience for its user specially for the non- English speaking ones easier, that doesn't means the idea of having a smart speaker is something of a consideration always. After all there rival Amazon has one. Hey Alexa please tell me when is flipkart coming out with that. Liv CEO Subodh said "the company's speech and recognition will be valuable to any company that wants to target the Indian customer base of 100-200 million."

Voice is an easier and a comfortable option after the language barrier will be removed, its hard for non English speaking or those who are not familiar with the language to type on a keyboard of that language, that is what Liv.ai will bring for the online retail company flipkart. Another reason to acquire the AI speech recognition company was the company is planning to reach for the new areas the tier 2 area and the tier 3 area's, to reach to the next 200-300 million customers, the company believes that is the right step for the growth of the company.

"The next wave of growth of internet users is coming from tier 2+ cities and 70% of these current internet users are vernacular language speakers with this proportion only increasing," said Flipkart's CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy. 

The company was earlier acquired by Wal-Mart for a whopping $16 billion dollars earlier this year has made its intentions clear that it would continue to invest heavily in new technologies, especially in artificial intelligence and machine learning


Source: HOB