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SoftBank Vision Fund 2 leads $140M funding in Vishal Sikka’s Vianai
Manish Singh
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Image Credits: Dhiraj Singh / Bloomberg / Getty Images
Vianai Systems, an AI startup founded by Vishal Sikka, former chief executive of Indian IT services giant Infosys, said on Wednesday it has raised $140 million in a round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
The two-year-old startup said a number of industry luminaries also participated in the new round, which brings its total to-date raise to at least $190 million. The startup raised $50 million in its seed financing round, but there’s no word on the size of its Series A round.
Details about what exactly the Palo Alto-headquartered startup does is unclear. In a press statement, Dr. Vishal Sikka said the startup is building a “better AI platform, one that puts human judgment at the center of systems that bring vast AI capabilities to amplify human potential.” Sikka, 54, resigned from the top role at Infosys in 2017 after months of acrimony between the board and a cohort of founders.
Vianai helps its customers amplify the transformation potential within their organizations using a variety of advanced AI and ML tools with a distinct approach in how it thoughtfully brings together humans with technology. This human-centered approach differentiates Vianai from other platform and product companies and enables its customers to fulfill AI’s true promise,” the startup said.
AI rounds are particularly hot or at least as hot as the larger SaaS market, which is itself enjoying historically rich multiples as more capital pours into the aggregate startup world.
The startup claims it has already amassed as its customers many of the world’s largest and most respected businesses, including insurance giant Munich Re.
Its investors include Jim Davidson (co-founder of Silver Lake), Henry Kravis and George Roberts (co-founders of KKR), and Jerry Yang (founding partner of AME and co-founder of Yahoo). Dr. Fei-Fei Li (co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI) has joined Vianai Systems’ advisory board.
“With the AI revolution underway, we believe Vianai’s human-centered AI platform and products provide global enterprises with operational and customer intelligence to make better business decisions,” said Deep Nishar, senior managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “We are pleased to partner with Dr. Sikka and the Vianai team to support their ambition to fulfill AI’s promise to drive fundamental digital transformations.”
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