In a groundbreaking move for India’s tech landscape, Krutrim, an artificial intelligence startup founded by Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal, has recently hit a significant milestone. The company has announced its entry into the elite club of unicorns, achieving a valuation of a whopping $1 billion. This remarkable achievement makes Krutrim not only one of the fastest to reach unicorn status in India but also the country’s first AI startup to do so.
Krutrim, whose name is derived from the Sanskrit word for ‘artificial’, is pioneering a significant technological leap. The startup is currently developing a comprehensive language model, uniquely trained on a range of Indian languages as well as English. This ambitious project underlines Krutrim’s commitment to creating a multilingual AI assistant, capable of understanding and communicating in various Indian languages. The potential impact of this innovation on the Indian market, with its rich linguistic diversity, is immense.
With plans to roll out a beta version of its namesake chatbot to consumers in the coming month, Krutrim is not just stopping there. The startup is also setting its sights on launching APIs for developers and businesses, signaling a robust expansion strategy. Further adding to its impressive tech arsenal, Krutrim has hinted at plans to develop an in-house capability for manufacturing AI-optimized chips. This strategic move could place Krutrim at the forefront of AI computing power development, a field currently dominated by global tech giants.
Bhavish Aggarwal, the mastermind behind Krutrim, is no stranger to disruptive entrepreneurship. His previous ventures, Ola and Ola Electric, have already made significant waves in their respective markets. Ola leads India’s ride-sharing market and is eyeing profitability, while Ola Electric dominates the two-wheeled electric vehicle sector in India and is gearing up for a massive $662 million IPO.
Krutrim’s successful funding round is a testament to the growing investor confidence in India’s potential to become a global AI powerhouse. This investment comes at a time when global investors are eagerly seeking opportunities in AI, anticipating it to revolutionize industries and deliver substantial returns.
Despite hosting one of the world’s largest startup ecosystems, India’s impact in the global AI race has been relatively muted so far. Homegrown competitors have yet to emerge as strong challengers to the dominance of large language model titans like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Amazon-backed Anthropic, or Google’s Bard. However, Krutrim’s rise signals a significant shift in this narrative.
India’s tech giant Reliance, led by Asia’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, has also shown interest in this space, collaborating with Nvidia to develop a large language model for India’s diverse linguistic landscape. And they’re not alone. Sarvam, another AI startup, recently secured backing from Peak XV and Lightspeed India for its large language model project.
Building a large language model is a resource-intensive endeavor. Giants like OpenAI and Anthropic have already raised billions, demonstrating the high stakes and potential rewards in this field. Elon Musk’s AI venture, xAI, is also reportedly in talks to raise up to $6 billion at a valuation of around $20 billion.
Krutrim’s journey represents a significant leap in India’s tech narrative, positioning the country as a key player in the global AI arena. It’s not just about creating cutting-edge technology; it’s about harnessing this technology to cater to the unique linguistic diversity of India, thus opening up new avenues of communication and interaction. With Krutrim leading the charge, the future of AI in India looks more promising than ever.
As Krutrim continues to evolve and grow, it undoubtedly sets the stage for more Indian startups to enter the global AI arena, challenging the status quo and showcasing the country’s burgeoning tech prowess. The ripple effect of Krutrim’s success could well be the catalyst for a new era of technological innovation in India.