We find, fund and support the best teams who are using Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Internet of Things to solve real world problems for next 6bn.
Connect is the 7th sense
Big wave is here...
By 2020, 25 - 50 billion connected devices will store so much about us and our world to power seamless, almost sensory actions. This will lead to rewiring of products, processes and eventually entire industries, catalyzing trillions of dollars worth of unseen economic value. We will invest in such possibilities..
India is innovating for next 6bn
A country and startup ecosystem at an inflection...
India is changing fast. Change leads to disruption, which in turn leads to new ideas and innovation. By 2050, India will be second largest economy after China. The combination of a large & growing self-contained market, a second-to-none talent pool, and an enormous amount of data has created ripe conditions for germination of global companies.
We are entrepreneur first
We are hungry and we love if you are hungry too..
The true north of pi Ventures is a relentless focus on entrepreneurs. We believe that irrational ideas have the capability to change the world, provided they are backed by entrepreneurs with stellar problem-solving skills, and patient passion, refusing to give up against all odds. We have been entrepreneurs too, so we know the view from the trenches. We will support such dogged entrepreneurs with funding, talent and right ecosystem to help them succeed faster and better.
We are early stage investors focusing on disruptive ventures, solving real world problems, that can turn into category leaders through Applied AI
Exploiting Data Growth
50x growth in Data
India is rapidly adopting smartphones, there would be close to 430 Million of them by 2019. India surpassed US in number of internet users in December 2015, majority of them through smartphones. Smartphones generate 4x data as compared to web; a connected devices 16x, as such, most of the business and personal workflows in India are getting or going to get impacted by data very rapidly.
Leveraging Applied AI to differentiate
Creating new category leaders
We are looking at companies that are leveraging big data (data coming out of enterprise systems), small data (personal data ) and dark data (data coming out due to devices) to make smarter decisions through machine learning and eventually becoming self learning. Mining this data through machine learning and AI & creating value is going to be key to creating new category leaders.We are looking for these category leaders.
Solving a big problem in globally unique way
One of our critical criteria is if the teams are attacking big and fundamental problems on a global scale. While they might start in India, they have to think global. With our global network, we are in a unique place to help entrepreneurs realise their dream of building global companies.
Strong desire to make a change with long half life...
We are looking for strong teams, showcasing the grit to remain focused on the problem statement over a long period of time. We work very closely to build teams if we find gaps. However, the passion, fire and desire to build a lasting change is expected in the founders right from day one.
We are here to help
We back our entrepreneurs and help them to think & execute globally
Manish co-founded LetsVenture.com and led it to become the leading marketplace for startups & early stage investors in India. He is on the boards of startups like Locus, DropKaffe, Witworks, AdSparx, ApartmentADDA etc. He is an Alumnus of IIT Kanpur and loves wild life photography.
Umakant founded an AI startup, Vimagino focused on building chatbots for support in 2010. Before this, he spent time at Wipro (Strategy for advance technology areas & in Innovation Arm). He was Director India for Science Inc. one of the leading startup studio (HQ. LA). Alumnus of IIT Kanpur, he loves painting abstracts.
Advisor & Investor
Ex-Cofounder Sling Media, Bhupen has been an active angel investor with 30+ early stage investments with half of the companies based in India. Bhupen has invested in seed stage venture funds such as Tandem Capital, Saama Capital, Jungle Venture, Fabric and BluePointe Venture Tech Fund.
T.V. Mohandas Pai
Advisor & Investor
T.V. Mohandas Pai is one of the most respected investors in Indian startup ecosystem and the Chairman of Manipal Global Education. He used to be a Member of the board of directors of Infosys and as the CFO, he played a strategic role in transforming Infosys into one of the world's most respected and widely known software services companies.
The pioneer of online travel in India, Deep Kalra founded MakeMyTrip in April, 2000 and built it to become the largest online travel company, . with a market cap of ~$1Bn (NASDAQ:MMT). Deep is a member of the Executive Council of NASSCOM and chairs the NASSCOM Internet Working Group.
pi Tech Council
Dr. Peter Stone is the David Bruton, Jr. Centennial Professor and Associate Chair of Computer Science, as well as Chair of the Robotics Portfolio Program, at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Stone is also co-founder, president, and COO of a startup company, Cogitai, Inc., focussed on empowering machines to understand the world through their own experience.
Advisor & Investor
Badal is CEO of Catalyst, which is working in the area of cashless payments arena. He has built new businesses at Snapdeal & Intuit and advised leading global businesses @ McKinsey in the early part of his career. He is a prolific angel investor in Indian startup ecosystem and a mentor to many young entreprenuers.
We work closely with our companies to back them with our insights, global network and specialized focus on AI & Internet of Things
Deep learning driven blood diagnostics
Rohit and his co-founders, Tathagato Rai Dastidar and Apurv Anand, before founding Sigtuple, earlier worked together at American Express’s big data lab in Bangalore. Sigtuple's first solution Shonit™ is a complete peripheral blood smear analyser solution which automates the routine tasks like differential counts. Additionally, it provides a screening solution for various parasitic infections like Malaria and disorders like Anaemia. It starts by capturing images of blood smear slides with a phone fitted on a microscope. The images are analysed on cloud using state of the art image processing and deep learning techniques. Finally it generates reports containing differential blood counts, visualisations on various blood metrics and suggestions about any abnormalities. The report can then be reviewed by pathologists on any net connected device, from anywhere in the world, making this product useful for areas having dearth of specialists.
Intelligent Heart Monitoring
Cicer (ten3T) collects and integrates medical grade data in real-time through its self-contained wearable devices that it builds, deploys and manages. ten3T's devices included multiple sensors to collect continuously streaming clinical grade information on ECG, heart rate, respiratory rate, SpO2 and temperature - all gathered, analyzed and reported in real-time.
The Cicer patch is small, light and unobtrusive, and has been designed with proprietary innovations in data acquisition, wireless transmission, and analytics to provide a seamless healthcare monitoring system.
Machine learning driven energy management for retailers
Zenatix was co-founded by alumni of IIT Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad and UCLA – Rahul Bhalla, Vishal Bansal and Dr. Amarjeet Singh. It uses advanced machine learning based models and delivers 10 to 30% energy efficiency to large commercial consumers of electricity. The models are built by collecting and analyzing more than 30 million of previously unseen (“dark”) data points every month from electrical assets. These models allow for automated and intelligent controls along with predictive and preventive maintenance of these assets, resulting in consistent and comfortable consumer experience in retail and banking sites while delivering high energy savings.
pi in the News
We are trying to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, and community around AI
pi Ventures gets fresh backers in their quest for creating AI ecosystem in India
Accel Partners, a leading venture capital fund, has invested in Bengaluru-based pi Ventures' $30-40 million fund. Additionally, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank's financial arm, has proposed to make an equity investment of $3 million in pi Ventures as well. The investment is through the IFC Startup Catalyst (ISC) program and is intended to support local innovation and entrepreneurship.
pi Venture does its first close at $13M
India's top technology entrepreneurs are teaming up to back an early-stage venture fund - pi Ventures - that will invest exclusively in startups using artificial intelligence, machine learning and the internet-of-things, at a time when global interest in automation and robotics gains pace and technology majors such as Google and Amazon launch a slew of futuristic initiatives.
AI adoption will be faster in India
Closer home in India, Manish Singhal, who co-founded LetsVenture, and Umakant Soni, who had founded AI startup Vimagino, decided to join forces to start a new venture fund from India, but with a twist. Unlike other sector-agnostic funds, their aim was to focus on a few niche categories — AI, machine learning (ML), and Internet of things (IoT). Here is the story of pi Ventures, which is in the process of a closing a Rs 195 crore fund and has so far invested in three startups.
Deep learning to transform pathology
Today SigTuple, which uses computer vision and artificial intelligence for diagnosis, announced series A funding of US$5.8 million. This is the largest investment in a healthcare AI startup out of India. It will help SigTuple scale up and go global.
Accel Partners led the round. Other investors include IDG Ventures India, Pi Ventures, Axilor Ventures, and Endiya Partners. Solid backing for the Bangalore-based startup from marquee investors signals the arrival of Indian AI on the world stage.
Deep learnings for AI startups
Artificial intelligence is getting a lot of attention these days from startups and investors alike. Since Pi Ventures is a fund focused on supporting applied AI companies, we meet quite a few entrepreneurs every week who are building companies in the field. Interacting with these startups has been a very enlightening journey for us. Here are some lessons which may be useful for folks wanting to venture out into AI.
India could be the new home for AI startups
Niche early-stage investor pi Ventures is betting on the growth of the artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) in the country, and is looking to reach the first close of its $30 million fund. The artificial intelligence market is estimated to reach $5 billion by 2020 globally, and with Indian companies being one of the fastest adopters of AI, pi Ventures is trying to capture the market early. Founded last year by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, pi Ventures has already invested in three startups including Zenatix, ten3T Health (Cicer) and Sigtuple.
Coverage by Economic Times
For Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, it was a decision that had all the reasons to be made. With entrepreneurs finding novel ways to generate previously untapped data, artificial intelligence (AI)-based startups are gaining importance these days. So, they set up a unique AI-focussed fund pi Ventures.
The fund has a target corpus of $30 million (approximately Rs 200 crore) and will invest in the early stages of an AI-focussed startup.
Zenatix is helping commercial spaces save on energy costs
Speaking about the company and opportunity, Manish Singhal, Founding Partner of pi Ventures said, “Their (Zenatix’s) integrated approach of building connected hardware, with sophisticated machine learning algorithm to work on resulting dark data generated is what will set them apart. In India cost of electricity is same as in US, despite the purchasing power parity. Thus it’s a big space with plenty of innovation & upside possibility, given the kind of data, Zenatix is starting to lay its hands on.”
Bengaluru-based medical grade wearable device startup, ten3T has raised an angel round of funding from pi Ventures.
Co-founded by Dr. Sudhir Borgonha, Rahul Shingrani, and Prasad Bhat, ten3T builds wearable medical devices that collect and integrates medical grade data in real time. It has developed its first wearable medical device ‘Cicer’, which will make cardiac health easily accessible to everyone. Read More
Hardware to connect physical world to digital
India is taking some early steps to create a robust hardware products ecosystem. This is critical as connected hardware would be a critical piece for connecting physical world to the digital ones. Check out Manish Singhal, pi Ventures as he talks about real challenges facing hardware startups in India and how to go about addressing them.
India could be an interesting place to build AI startups
Low cost and more easily available data, coupled with increasingly available data science talent can potentially make for an interesting place for AI startups to come up. Local businesses are buying into the predictive value of AI.
Indian investing scene moving towards IP-led ventures
“2017 should see more funding for product startups. Technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are disrupting many sectors. We should see good momentum in healthcare, fintech, and logistics in the coming year. The emphasis will be on supporting companies with real product IPs. Early-stage deals will definitely pick up. Late-stage deals may take some more time to recover,” says Manish.
India can be a fertile ground for AI led vertical leaders
Pi Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, is looking to raise Rs 195 crore for its first fund, which will look to finance start-ups in artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT).
The fund, formed earlier this year by Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, is currently on the road to tie up commitments.
In the last few months, while working with AI startups in Bangalore, we realized that most of the startups are working in silos, reinventing the wheel or getting stuck with unsolved problems, however, there is so much that they can share with each other, to grow faster together. To enable this community building in AI, we started #chAI (AI over a cuppa). We believe with this series of #chAIs, we can enable collaboration on technology and talent; building depth in the AI community and thereby resulting in world class AI companies to come out of India. You can find out about next #chAI at our facebook page and sign up for the same.
Some helpful resources on variety of topics
AI, Deep Learning and Machine Learning: A Primer
Simple and intuitive primer on how machine learning and AI is influencing our lives by Frank Chen, Partner, Andreessen Horowitz
Thoughts, musings, and ruminations around Applied AI.
Building world class companies through ecosystem around AI, ML & IoT