Thursday, December 7, 2023

Secures A Landmark $41 Million In Series A Funding Led By Lightspeed

Sarvam AI, an Indian startup in Generative AI founded by Vivek Raghavanand Pratyush Kumar,has announced that it is raising $41 million in Series A round. This funding, led by Lightspeed and supported by Peak XV Partners and Khosla Ventures,represents the largestraise at this stage for an IndianAI startup. 

Sarvam AI’s ambitious plan is to develop the “full-stack” for Generative AI ranging from research-led innovations in training custom AI models to an enterprise-grade platform for authoring and deployment. The company believes that this full-stack approach will accelerate adoption of GenAIin India, especially given that enterprises see the potential of GenAI but are grapplingwith how to leverage it for their business. 

Sarvam AI will focus on India’s uniqueneeds. This includestraining AI modelsto support the diverse set of Indian languages and voice-first interfaces. The company will also work with Indian enterprises to co-build domain-specific AI models on their data. Finally, the company aims to create population-scale impact layering GenAI on top of the highly successful India stack specifically for public-good applications. 

Hemant Mohapatra, Partner,Lightspeed, reflecting on their global experience in funding leadingGenAI ventures, remarked, "Having backed some of the most influential names in GenAI globally, we are excited by Sarvam AI’s unique approach in combining model innovation and application development to build population-scale solutions for India. Lightspeed will be close partnersand contribute with our deep capital stack and learningsfrom our global platform." 

Co-founder of Sarvam AI, Vivek Raghavan, reflecting on his decade long experience in building digital public infrastructure includingAadhaar stated, "Ihave seen first hand the enormous value in innovating at foundational layers and deploying at population scale. India has demonstrated that it can harness technology differently, and with GenAI we have an opportunity to reimagine how this technology can add value to people’slives.” 

Domiciled in India, Sarvam AI hopes to contribute to India’s strategic goals in this space. Vinod Khosla, a pioneer in Silicon Valley AI investments, including his early support for OpenAI, commented, "Wesee several countrieshaving sovereign effortsto build GenAI models given its strategicimportance. We need companies like Sarvam AI to developdeep expertise for building AI in and for India." 

Co-founder of Sarvam AI, PratyushKumar, drawing on his researchexpertise in academiaand corporate research, said, "Our aim is to establish Sarvam AI as a beacon for AI innovation, attracting the brightest minds to tackle foundational research challenges right here in India.” As a founder of the research initiative on open-source Indian language AI called AI4Bharat, Kumar has a track-record of building state-of-the-art AI models for Indian languages which are deployed for various public-good and commercial applications. Kumar also noted, “The race towards ever more powerful AI is both an exciting and divisive one. We named our company Sarvam, which in Sanskrit means ‘all’, as we are intentionally invested in technical and ecosystem innovations that make this technology accessible to all.” 

Led by its successful founders, Sarvam AI is putting together a high-quality team. Commenting on the people at Sarvam AI, Harshjit Sethi, Managing Director, Peak XV, said, “The Sarvam AI team led by Vivek and Pratyush is among the highest calibre AI teams we have seen emerge from India. Vivek’s expertise in building large scale systems with Pratyush’s domain expertise in AI makes them uniquely positioned to build population scale AI applications. Large scale adoption of AI in India will require not only buildinguniquely Indian use cases but also delivering them at prices that everyone can afford and we believe the Sarvam team is best positioned to accomplish this.'' 

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