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.
Roopan invested in early to growth stage global startups in robotics, semiconductor and renewable energy sectors while at Applied Ventures (corporate Venture Capital arm of Applied Materials). In her most recent role at Grant Thornton, she led fund raising mandates for pre Series A startups. She holds a BTech degree from NIT Jalandhar and an MBA from ISB Hyderabad.
Shubham is a serial entrepreneur and previously co-founded Aeon Solaris, a rooftop solar startup and exited to Amplus Solar which was bought by Petronas. In his last role, he was the CCO of Skytree, a CO2 extraction spin-out from ESA. He is a Forbes 30 under 30 Europe 2019 recipient and a mentor with Techstars program in Amsterdam. He is an alumnus of IIT Delhi and loves sports and travelling.
Head, Fund Operations
Samik is CA with over 13 years of experience in Fund accounting and Financial reporting. In his previous stints, he has worked in Hedge funds, Mutual funds and in the Private Equity space for MNCs. In his most recent role, he managed the Infosys Operations team for PE clients. He is a Bachelors in Commerce from Calcutta University.
Shamik Sharma was previously the Chief Product & Technology officer at Myntra. Shamik is also an angel investor and technology advisor for several Indian startups.
Shamik spent most of his career in the Bay area and held executive roles in Lytro, RockYou, Stumbleupon and Yahoo. Shamik holds degrees in computer science from IIT-Kharagpur and University of Maryland.
Advisor & Founding Partner
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.
Dr Peter Stone
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.
pi Tech Council
Amit was the co-founder SlideShare, which he sold to Linkedin. Since then he has now moved over to the government/non-profit side. Currently working as the Architect for Digital Locker & OpenForge - two key egovernance projects under Digital India at National eGov Division, Ministry of IT. He is a well respected angel investor in tech startups.
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.
Zenatix has been acquired by Hero Electronix in May 2018
Machine learning driven breast cancer screening technology
Breast Cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women. It is well-established that early diagnosis is very critical in saving a life of a cancer patient. Co-founded by Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur, researchers at NIRAMAI have developed a new cancer screening software that uses machine intelligence over thermography images to enable a low cost, easy to use, portable solution and requires minimal human supervision. NIRAMAI solution uses a high resolution thermal sensing device and cloud hosted analytics solution for analysing the thermal images. The SaaS solution uses big data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning for reliable, early and accurate breast cancer screening. The innovative methods used in the solution have led to multiple US patents.
Customer Success Box
Actionable Customer Success Solution for B2B
CSB’s actionable tool targets Customer Success Managers (CSM) at SaaS companies improving their productivity. The tool provides real time health score of customers using comprehensive usage metrics that a CSM can act on immediately. CSB’s human assisted intelligent software automates the repetitive tasks for CSMs allowing them to focus on building relationships with customers. For SaaS companies, losing a CSM could be disastrous as knowledge and relationships with customers is important to retain them. CSB helps SaaS companies institutionalize the interactions with customers.
Automating Logistics using AI
Locus is a decision making engine that uses deep learning and proprietary algorithms to provide intelligent route optimisation, real-time tracking, insights and analytics, beat optimization, efficient warehouse management, vehicle allocation and utilisation, intuitive 3D packing and measurement of packages. Locus has automated logistics for leading companies spread across many geographies like India, Singapore, Jakarta, Phoenix and Vancouver.
Blockchain-based B2B supply chain finance platform
Oweme is a Blockchain based B2B supply chain finance payments platform. Approved by the FCA, OweMe tries to help large companies move money quickly through its supply chain. The oweme application has been designed to be seamless. There is no new infrastructure needed or a new application that has to be installed. All participants in the supply chain will receive a unique account number and sort code through which transactions will take place. Oweme is also exploring an innovative token model that would be linked with fiat currencies. The platform also has a unique incentivisation model to make the transaction cash neutral for suppliers
AI Assistant for Small Businesses
FrontdeskAI is the world's most powerful, AI-powered, virtual receptionist for small businesses that rely on appointment-based products and services for their revenue. The company’s current AI assistant portfolio serves the wellness market including the spa, salon and fitness industries. Sasha, Frontdesk's bot, manages appointments, class scheduling, rescheduling, all forms of customer and service-specific enquiries, and can execute targeted and intelligent marketing campaigns. The company is initially focussed on the US market.
Industrial IoT using AI on the edge
SwitchOn is an Industrial tech company that helps manufacturing industries identify plant-level bottlenecks and improve equipment efficiency. Industries can create digital twins of their heavy assets, monitor and predict availability and performance bottlenecks in advance, thus ensuring better Efficiency for the Equipment as well as the Plant. SwitchOn uses efficient edge computing systems to continuously analyze high-frequency data streams of Vibration, temperature and energy consumption. With a unique humanized AI model, industries can predict hundreds of events to enable real-time Manufacturing Intelligence from the shop-floor to the top-floor.
Solving Mental Health at scale using AI
Wysa is an AI-based ‘emotionally intelligent’ bot, a virtual coach that combines empathetic listening with evidence-based therapeutic techniques like CBT, meditation and motivational interviewing, to make mental health accessible at scale. Wysa has helped over 1.2 million people from 30+ countries, making it one of the global leaders in AI for mental health.
3D printed rockets for small satellites
Agnikul is democratising the access to space. Their innovation in rocket design enables them to print the rocket engines using advance 3D printing techniques in a single piece. That enables them to launch small payloads (under 100 Kgs) at optimal costs for their customers.
AI powered Marketing Automation
Pyxis uses a full stack AI driven pipeline to generate outperforming creatives automatically, identify user behavior with pinpoint targetting, and then optimize the roll out with peak efficiency. With this next-generation marketing cloud, Pyxis enables brands to use data creatively and produce iconic marketing campaigns for greater performance.
We have global and local backers
In Colour Capital
In Colour Capital (ICC) is an independent principal investment group, focused on identifying and unlocking deep value. Employing a singular blend of detail-oriented analysis and innovative, big-picture thinking, ICC invests in companies who have unrealized potential. By working together with these companies as partners, ICC helps unlock value and build stronger communities.
Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), set up on April 2, 1990 under small industries development bank of India act, is the Principal Financial Institution for the Promotion, Financing and Development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector and for Co-ordination of the functions of the institutions engaged in similar activities.
Electronic Development Fund (EDF) is set up as a “Fund of Funds” to participate in professionally managed “Daughter Funds” which in turn will provide risk capital to companies developing new technologies in the area of electronics, nano-electronics and Information Technology (IT).CANBANK Venture Capital Funds Ltd. (CVCFL)
is the Fund Manager for EDF.
Hero Enterprise Investment Office
Hero Enterprise Investment Office represents Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal and his family members. Mr. Sunil Kant Munjal is a second generation member of the Munjal Family and is a founder promoter of the Hero Group, India’s premier automotive manufacturing group that has evolved from being the world’s largest bicycle-maker to the largest two-wheeler maker.
pi in the News
We are trying to create an ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, and community around AI
With the Covid tailwinds, is AI at its second inflection point
In the past six months, the world as we know it has been upended. While the jury is out on how it the Covid-19 pandemic will end and what aspects of life will change forever, there are a few things we know for certain that are going to be different in the new world we are heading into.
pi Ventures achieves final close at 225 CR INR
CDC, IFC, SIDBI, Sunil Kant Munjal, EDF among major contributors
Artificial intelligence and IoT-focused earlystage venture fund pi Ventures has achieved the final close of its INR 195CR fund at INR 225Cr.
AI is becoming the big disruptive force across industries
In mid-2016, Manish Singhal and Umakant Soni, both entrepreneurs in previous avatars, set up pi Ventures to invest in early-stage startups that use Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to solve problems across a range of sectors.
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.
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.
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.
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 join our meetup and be informed about coming #chAIs and participate in building a strong community around AI.
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.
We at pi Ventures believe in being transparent and entrepreneur friendly in our terms of investment. Click on the download button below to check out what it looks like.