Airtel acquires 10% stake in AI startup Voicezen

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel posted a consolidated loss of Rs 5,237 crore for the January-March quarter mainly on account of provisions for statutory dues
Telecom operator Bharti Airtel

New Delhi, May 21 (PTI) Bharti Airtel has acquired 10 per cent stake in Gurgaon-based start-up Voicezen, which focusses on conversational artificial intelligence technologies, in an all-cash deal, the private operator said on Thursday.

The stake purchase will give Bharti Airtel preferred access to Voicezen’s technologies, which can be deployed across its customer touch points in multiple languages, Airtel said in a statement without disclosing the amount it paid for buying the stake.

The acquisition has been made by the company under its fast expanding Airtel Startup Accelerator Programme, the company noted.

“AI is a big focus area for Airtel given the deep positive impact the technology can have in transforming customer experience. Voicezen has built some promising products that are very relevant for a market like India. We look forward to partnering them in scaling these innovative ‘Made in India, for India‘ applications,” Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer – Bharti Airtel said.

Voicezen has been working on developing advanced solutions that leverage machine learning, AI, speech to text and voice technologies to offer real time analytics to help brands engage with customers.

The global conversational AI market size is expected to grow from USD 4.2 billion in 2019 to USD 15.7 billion by 2024, according to a research report.

The mega-trend will be driven by surging demand for AI powered customer support services and omni-channel deployment and increasing customer engagement through social media platforms and integration of advanced AI capabilities will offer massive opportunities, the statement said.

The investment will give Airtel preferred access to Voicezen’s technologies, which can be deployed across its customer touch points in multiple languages. These intelligent solutions will offer real time analytics and insights to make Airtel’s conversations with its customers.

Voicezen founder Apurba Nath said that the company has worked on AI solutions in the past and knows that what works well in a lab most often doesn’t work in the real world, because either the training data is not large and relevant or the problem has little business significance.

“Our partnership with Airtel helps us solve these challenges. With this strategic investment, we will work even more closely with them to continuously improve our AI models and build out an enterprise-grade, battle-hardened product that will make customer interactions more efficient, especially in this post-COVID-19 world where business operations are facing large disruptions,” Nath said.

According to a BSE filing, Airtel acquired 10 per cent stake in the company in an all-cash transaction basis and the deal is expected to close by May 30.

Source: PTI

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