Google has acquired Bangalore-based Halli Labs, which focuses on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Halli Labs will be joining Google’s Next Billion Users team, which is primarily focused on mobile and aims to address issues such as low bandwidth & intermittent connectivity, conserving data usage, reducing battery consumption, developing multi-device content, supporting more digital payments systems, and creating localized content among others.
— Pankaj Gupta (@pankaj) July 12, 2017
— Caesar Sengupta (@caesars) July 12, 2017
Halli Labs was founded by Pankaj Gupta, who also co-founded the San Francisco-based co-investment and technical advisory group Specialized Types in August 2015. Prior to that, he had served as an advisor for Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture Partners India between March 2017 and May 2017. Before that, he served as the chief product officer and chief technology officer at hotel booking site Stayzilla between June 2016 and March 2017. He had also been part of Twitter for over five years in a variety of roles, the last of which was as a data scientist.
According to research by CB Insights, 34 artificial intelligence startups have been acquired in the first quarter of this year, which is double the number compared to the year-ago period. The study also notes that Google has been the most aggressive in this space with 11 acquisitions since 2012 followed by Apple, Facebook, and Intel.
Some of the acquisitions by Google in AI include firms such deep learning and neural network startup DNNresearch from the computer science department at the University of Toronto in 2013; British company DeepMind Technologies in 2014 for $600 million; visual search startup Moodstock, and bot platform Api.ai last year. It acquired predictive analytics platform Kaggle in the first quarter of this year.
Even though India has become the third largest market for start-ups, acquisitions by global technology companies have been few.
Some of the notable ones include ZipDial which was acquired by Twitter in January 2015 and LittleEyeLabs that was snapped up by Facebook in January 2014.