Reliance Jio acquires 87% stake in Times Internet-backed chatbot firm Haptik2 weeks ago Bhavitaavya Dharanikota
Reliance Industries Ltd, through its subsidiary Reliance Jio Digital Services Ltd (RJDSL), has acquired 87% stake in artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot company Haptik Infotech Pvt. Ltd for ₹700 crore with the rest being held by Haptik founders and employees through stock option grants. The investment will help Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd leverage Haptik’s capabilities to build India’s largest AI assistant across chat, voice and vernacular languages. The Haptik team will continue to drive the growth of the business, including the enterprise platform as well as digital consumer assistants. The transaction size, including investment for growth and expansion, is estimated at about Rs 700 crore, with Rs 230 crore as the consideration for the initial business transfer. This strategic investment underlines Jio’s commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide Indian users conversational AI enabled devices with multi-lingual capabilities. As part of the deal, Times Internet, which is currently Haptik’s majority stakeholder, will be completely exiting its investment. Times Internet is the digital business arm of media conglomerate Bennett, Coleman and Co Ltd (BCCL).
Haptik was founded by Vaish (chief executive officer) and Rajdev (chief technology officer) in the year 2013. Mumbai- and San Francisco-based Haptik Inc offers an AI-based chatbot that can help consumers interact with virtual agents and organizations via both text and voice. For organizations, Haptik’s solutions help in dealing with customer service, customer feedback, user engagement and lead generation. They have built chatbots for enterprise customers such as Samsung, KFC, P&G, Tata Group, Amazon Web Services, ICICI Bank, The Times of India, Viacom18, Dream11, Edelweiss Tokio, Club Mahindra, and IIFL. In April 2016, Haptik raised an undisclosed amount from Times Internet in its Series B funding round, thereby providing an exit to venture capital firm Kalaari Capital. As part of the deal, Haptik also formed a partnership with Times Internet. Before founding Haptik, Vaish was heading the Indian operations of Flurry Inc—a mobile analytics, monetization, and ads firm—which was acquired by Yahoo in July 2014. He also co-founded and headed a real estate platform for college students, which was acquired by CommonFloor in April 2014. Rajdev was a software engineer at Radius Intelligence Inc before setting up Haptik. The former Accenture consultant is also the founder of Zing! Apps that create web-based iOS applications.
In 2019 alone, Reliance has so far acquired majority stakes in hyperlocal logistics company Grab, software firm C-Square, vernacular language services platform Reverie, welfare schemes platform EasyGov and software services firm SankhyaSutra Labs.