American search giant Google, has acquired four month old artificial intelligence and machine learning startup, Halli Labs. This marks the first Indian acquisition by the multinational company.
— Pankaj Gupta (@pankaj) July 12, 2017
In a medium blog post, Halli Labs announced their team would be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team to help get more technology and information into more people’s hands around the world. Halli Labs was founded by Pankaj Gupta with the goal of applying modern AI and ML techniques to old problems and domains. Gupta previously worked as the chief product officer and the chief technology officer in the now defunct homestay startup Stayzilla.
While the details of what Halli Labs would be working on are still not clear, Caesar Sengupta, Google’s Vice President of Product Management confirmed the acquisition through a tweet. The details of the acquisition were also not disclosed.
— Caesar Sengupta (@caesars) July 12, 2017
The Halli Labs team has been working on speed recognition and language processing, but so far has not shipped any technologies to customers. This Bengaluru based company was launched in April this year with the aim of giving “superhuman powers to all of us humans in letting us do whatever we want to do, better.”
Products such as YouTube Go, Google Station, Android Go among others are part of the Google’s Next Billion Users which, like the name states is about reaching and bringing on the internet’s next billion users.
India has emerged as one of the leading markets for startups working in the Internet and Technology sector. Multinational companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple have also acquired various Indian startups that are working on building products that solve problems for consumers, both in India and abroad.
Facebook acquired Bengaluru based Little Eye Labs startup that tracks and optimizes the performance of Android based mobile apps, in 2014. Twitter acquired another Bengaluru based startup ZipDial that uses India’s habit of giving missed calls to connect others. Most recently Hyderabad based AI startup, Tuplejump was acquired by Apple in 2016.