Amit Jain and Ankur Dinesh Garg launched IQAI VC, a multimillion-dollar, AI-exclusive fund, to help Indian AI startups get customers, learn how to scale business, and negotiate strategic exits.

One of the most interesting technology trends in the last few years has been the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) across sectors. From enterprises to startups, companies are taking to AI rapidly.

However, the trend hasnt caught on in India as much as the global market. Not many Indian enterprises are investing in AI solutions, and Indian AI startups are also facing some difficulties in scaling up.

In the US, the scene is slightly different. Several businesses want AI solutions and are ready to pay startups to help them do so. Seeing a business opportunity,Amit Jain and Ankur Dinesh Garg set up IQAI VC, amultimillion-dollar fund for AI startupsthat will help these ventures connect with companies in the US that are looking for AI-based solutions.

There are several startups in India that have great AI products but have a difficult time finding clients in India and often look at moving to the US, Ankur

IQAI VC funds AI startups and connects them to customers in the US. If a US company wants to acquire one of these startups, IQAI VC also facilitates this deal and helps the startups get a quick strategic exit.

The founders did not disclose the exact size of the fund but said thatit invests around $100,000in startups that have a scalable technology. Its portfolio includesMirror.AI, Predickly, and SmatSuite.

Amit is the Founder of Z Nation Lab, an early-stage accelerator that brings together capital, technical expertise, networking, and investors for startups.IQAI VC is a SEBI-registered Category 1 AIF operating under the Z Nation Lab umbrella.

Ankur had co-founded Hotify, an AI-based cognitive intelligence platform, in early 2018 with Ramesh Kumar with offices in the US and India. The startup raised an angel round from Z Nation Lab. But the founders soon realised that while Indians were great at building tech, the country had no market for cognitive intelligence. And, Ankur moved to the US.

During a pitch meeting with SonaSoft, an IT services firm based in San Jose, the company offered to acquire Hotify, and Ankur and team agreed. We realised we could scale our product faster with a US entity and for SonaSoft, we were the future of technology, Ankur

Thedeal was finalised in March 2019and the co-founder continues to be part of SonaSoft. However, Ankur decided that he wanted to share his learnings of building and scaling an AI startup with the ecosystem. But, there was no platform for this endeavour and met Amit to discuss this.

Convinced by the viability of this idea, Amit and Ankur decided to launchIQAI VC in June, 2019.

We found a model that works. There are enough engineer founders who dont want to be part of corporate hackathons anymore and want real deals to move to markets that pay them for their products, Amit

These are the startups that we want to catch and bring to the US to meet clients and sell their product here, he adds.

Corporate exits are the flavour of the season. Cisco acquired Chennai-based CloudCherry. OLX acquired Aasaan Jobs. Radware acquired ShieldSquare, and Reliance Industries took over Fynd.

And if this trend continues, given the rise of AI, IQAI VC wants to be in the thick of things, helping Indian founders land the best exits. The fund is competing with boutique funds like Arka Ventures, Emergent Ventures, and NuVentures that are also investing in AI.

The global business value derived fromAI reached $1.2 trillion in 2018, an increase of 70 percent from 2017, says Gartner. In fact,AI-derived business value is forecast to reach $3.9 trillion in 2022.

AI promises to be the most disruptive class of technologies during the next 10 years due to advances in computational power, volume, velocity and variety of data, as well as advances in deep neural networks (DNNs), says John-David Lovelock, Research VP at Gartner.

One of the biggest aggregate sources for AI-enhanced products and services acquired by enterprisesbetween 2017 and 2022 will be niche solutions that address one need very well. Business executives will drive investment in these products, sourced from thousands of narrowly focused, specialist suppliers with specific AI-enhanced applications, he adds.

It is clear that IQAI VC is making the right bets. After all, these niche solutions are bound to come in from startups. To top it all, biggies like SoftBank and Alibaba are also investing in AI.

Austin startup Data.World aims to connect the dots and help enterprises create a data-driven cu…

This Austin-based startup helps companies unleash the true power of data and AI

Vishal Krishna is a Business Editor who writes about the economic and social issues relevant to the development of India. At YourStory he networks with colourful folks that build a nation through startups, small business and large corporate. He is also a closet guitarist and a sports fan.

How 3 engineers scaled their Rs 23,000 dorm-room idea to a Rs 1.2 Cr startup

[Funding alert] Bengaluru startup UrbanPiper raises $7.5M in Series A led by Tiger Global, Sequoia India

Mumbai-based startup Bodhishop delivers desi cow products, ensuring cows are not sent to slaughterhouses

[Funding alert] Apartment security management startup MyGate raises $56M in Series B from Tencent, Tiger Global, and others

Meet the man behind unicorn factory Stockholm (and other top stories of the day)

Creating a culture of sharing for the next billion

[Tech 30] How this Bengaluru-based B2B startup enables enterprises to retrieve critical data in minutes

[Jobs Roundup] Test your marketing skills with these startup openings

TechSparks 2019: Key to successful scaling is managing software complexity, says Sidu Ponnappa

Its a bad strategy to just palm off business to someone lets build IPO-ble business, says investor Karthik Reddy of Blume Ventures

Meet the man behind unicorn factory Stockholm (and other top stories of the day)

[Funding alert] Apartment security management startup MyGate raises $56M in Series B from Tencent, Tiger Global, and others

From Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 Cr: how 5 college friends are building a posh camping startup

[Startup Bharat] Bootstrapped PG venture by a student entrepreneur clocks Rs 15 lakh revenue per month

[Tech 30] Startup by former Myntra executive is making fashion more intelligent with AI, ML

OYO Weddingz goes omnichannel, to have 200 retail stores in 30 cities by 2020: CEO Sandeep Lodha

MSME Innovation Summit 2019 Celebrating a fresh outlook to innovation

Search for what you want, categories, tags, keywords, authors, events, anything under YourStory