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pi Ventures And International Finance Corporation Are Building India’s AI Community

Artificial Intelligence-aimed VC, pi Ventures and World Bank Group member, International Finance Corporation (IFC) hosts #chAI to build robust AI community. India is currently the third largest AI startup cluster in the world.


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International Finance Corporation headquarters, Washington D.C.

pi Ventures, India’s first applied artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and IoT- focused early stage venture fund, along with International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group is looking to build an Indian community aware of AI and its application for generating solutions across a range of sectors.

#chAI (AI over a cup of chai) is an attempt to create a robust AI community by enabling peer to peer learning in meetup settings. One such #chAI event gathered thinkers, stakeholders, practitioners and other people who are active in applying AI to share and explore insights around it. This community building is important, especially as India is slated to be one of the fastest adopters of AI owing to cheaper and easily accessible datasets, building blocks of most AI companies.

Manish Singhal, founding partner of pi Ventures said,”#chAI is our effort to build the community around AI startups. Focused sessions around a topic get entrepreneurs to collaborate on technology. Support and encouragement from IFC has been the icing on the cake for #chAI. It is helping the initiative by drawing more participants across India and globally.”

IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. In FY16, their long term investments in developing countries rose to nearly 19 billion dollars.

Unless steps are taken to create a robust ecosystem of startups, funding, and community, India may not be able to leverage advances in AI to leapfrog the global tech hierarchy. Most of these #chAI sessions allow AI entrepreneurs to share their story of building their startups with specific insights on how they are leveraging AI. Frequently these sessions get into in-depth discussions on technology tools and their application areas. India is currently the third largest AI startup cluster in the world.

“IFC is keen to drive capacity building in technology innovation by supporting an active dialogue amongst industry participants in artificial intelligence, a space that could dramatically transform a wide range of sectors over the next few decades. A rich exchange of ideas and learnings, and a closely connected supportive ecosystem that encourages experimentation is critical to spurring globally relevant innovation out of India,” said Ruchira Shukla, South Asia’s regional lead for venture capital at IFC.

AI has been in winters for more than half a century. With the usage of cheap GPUs and massive growth of contextual data, deep learning is turning it to AI spring finally. Deep learning, which is very similar to the way we actually learn, has made a sea change in the way machines learn about our world and act on that learning.

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