Reliance Jio may soon challenge the likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant in the smart digital assistant space. The telco is reportedly planning to acquire conversational AI chatbot firm Haptik. The deal is said to be worth over Rs 200 crore (roughly $28.9 million), and is expected to be finalised in the next few days.
Reliance Jio rattled the Indian telecom market with its disruptive launch in 2016. Since then, the Mukesh Ambani-led firm has had multiple expansions. From music and video streaming services, to instant messaging and cloud storage services, Jio offers them all. The company is even trying its hands on crypto market.
Reliance Jio is now gearing up for another expansion. The telco is acquiring chatbot maker Haptik with the aim to build a new conversational platform that will rival the Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. According to Inc42, Haptik founders Aakrit Vaish and Swapan Rajdev have signed a Business Transfer Agreement with Reliance Jio in February this year. The transaction for the acquisition is expected to be completed in the next few days. The deal could well and truly see Reliance Jio turn itself from a telecom into a digital services business.
Founded in 2013, Haptic builds chatbots that help users to complete daily tasks such as online shopping, travel bookings, food delivery among others. The firm last raised $11.2 million with investments from Times Internet and Kalaari Capital. Haptic has so far built chatbots for several enterprise customers, including Samsung, KFC, Tata Group, Amazon Web Services, and OYO. The company expanded to the US in 2018 and the UK in 2019, and is looking for more expansions in the future.
As for Reliance Jio, it is one of the several such acquisitions in the recent past. It's other recent investments and acquisitions include AI-based edutech platform Embibe, AI startup Netradyne, and online logistic startup Grab. Jio also acquired a vernacular language technology development company, Reverie, in February this year.