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Airtel acquires strategic stake in conversational AI focused startup- Voicezen

As part of its strategy to deliver a highly differentiated service experience to its customers, Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”) has acquired a strategic stake in Voicezen, an early stage startup focused on conversational AI technologies. The acquisition has been made by the company under its fast expanding Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.

Gurgaon based 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 serve customers better.

The global Conversational AI Market Size is expected to grow from USD 4.2 billion in 2019 to USD 15.7 billion by 2024*. The megatrend will be driven by surging demand for AI powered customer support services and omni-channel deployment. Increasing customer engagement through social media platforms and integration of advanced AI capabilities will offer massive opportunities.

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 more engaging and frictionless and enable faster resolution. It will also allow Airtel to make contextual offers to customers based on real time conversations.

Voicezen is the third startup to become a part of the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program. By becoming a part of this Program, Voicezen will get the opportunity to deploy its technologies on a massive scale and work closely with Airtel on developing India-first platforms of the future.

Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer – Bharti Airtel said: “As a customer obsessed organization, Airtel is continuously innovating to make their experience even better. 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 are delighted to welcome them to the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program and look forward to partnering them in scaling these innovative ‘Made in India, for India’ applications and implement them in the real world.”

Apurba Nath, Founder – Voicezen added, “Voicezen helps brands deliver a better customer experience in Indian languages using Conversational AI. Having worked on AI solutions in the past, we knew 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 world where business operations are facing large disruptions.”

Airtel Startup Accelerator Program allows start-ups to leverage Airtel’s robust ecosystem, including its core strengths in data, distribution, networks and payments. This includes access to a vast online and offline distribution network that touches 300m+ customers, deep market understanding and platform of global strategic partners. Further, start-ups also get access to advisory services from Airtel’s executive team. In India, Airtel serves customers across mobile, landline and DTH verticals.

—Equity Bulls

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