Reliance Jio acquiring Haptik for Rs 200 cr: Report

New Delhi: Reliance Jio is reportedly acquiring Mumbai-based Haptik — one of the world’s largest conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms — for over Rs 200 crore, the media reported.

A report in Inc42.com late Thursday claimed that the transaction is expected to be completed this week.

Citing a company document, the report claimed that “Reliance Jio Services Ltd and Haptik founders Aakrit Vaish and Swapan Rajdev have signed a Business Transfer Agreement”.

When contacted, Haptik declined to give an official response on the report. A Reliance Jio spokesperson said that the company “does not comment on market speculation”.

Industry sources, however, said that the deal is likely to be in a premature stage.

If the news turns out to be true, Jio, with its widespread reach, will be in a formidable position to challenge Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant — both growing fast in the Indian market via smart home speakers and other “connected” Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Reliance Jio led the subscription race in January 2018 with an addition of 93.24 lakh subscribers across the country, the highest among all the telecom service providers.

Recent data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed that the subscriber base of Jio was nearly 29 crore.

Having grown 10 times in revenue in just one year, Haptik’s partners and clients include Coca-Cola, HDFC Life, Samsung, Edelweiss Tokio, Goibibo, Amazon Pay, ClubMahindra, ICICI Bank and Tata Docomo among others.

Earlier this month, the Maharashtra government partnered with Haptik to develop a chatbot for the purpose of disseminating effective information to the citizens.

Founded by Vaish and Rajdev, both University of Illinois engineering alumni, in August 2013, Haptik focuses on key customer engagement use cases such as customer support, feedback, order status and live chat and has processed more than a billion interactions till date.

In April 2016, Times Internet led a Series B round of investment in Haptik, making it one of the most well-funded independent conversational AI companies in the world.

Chatbots are slowly becoming the default customer support solution for most services and Haptik is one such platform — building applications for consumers, publishers and enterprises.

More than 50 per cent of Indian retail companies will be operating on AI by 2020, said PeopleStrong, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) HR technology and solutions company, recently.

According to an Accenture analysis, AI has the potential to add $957 billion to India’s economy in 2035.