BigBasket acquisition gives Agrima national footprint

Back in 2013, three college friends, Anoop Balakrishnan, Arun Ravi and Nikhil Dharman, launched a startup from the apartment they were staying in.

Published: 21st February 2022 03:37 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2022 03:37 AM   |  A+A-

(From Left) Agrima Infotech founders Anoop Balakrishnan, Arun Ravi and Nikhil Dharman ( Photo | EPS)

(From Left) Agrima Infotech founders Anoop Balakrishnan, Arun Ravi and Nikhil Dharman ( Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

KOCHI:  Back in 2013, three college friends, Anoop Balakrishnan, Arun Ravi and Nikhil Dharman, launched a startup from the apartment they were staying in. Called Agrima Infotech, it was a platform focusing on artificial intelligence (AI).

Later, the trio focused on building virtual personal assistants for enterprises, keeping a deep interest in AI and machine learning (ML). The startup was incubated at Kerala Startup Mission. Identifying the uniqueness of Agrima Infotech’s AI offering, online retail giant BigBasket, owned by the Tata Group, has acquired its business unit. BigBasket will implement Agrima’s unique vision technology platform, Psyight, at a self-checkout offline store.

Psyight helps identify all Indian fruits and vegetables from an image without using barcodes. “Together, we will revolutionise the Indian retail store with our unique customer vision technology platform, Psyight, that will power the self-checkout counters at these stores,” said Anoop.

Reliance Jio and Amazon, other major players in the space, are also planning to launch a similar model of tech-driven stores in India. “This is when the BigBasket approached us and acquisition deals were discussed,” he said.

After the acquisition, five core team members of Agrima will move into leadership roles, while the rest will join the team as employees. “We will join BigBasket’s project Bharat (BigBasket-B) as a separate business unit,” Anoop said. He said Agrima Infotech is valued at around USD 3.5 million. BigBasket will disclose the value of the acquisition officially in the next few days.

Graduates from Sree Narayana Gurukulam College of Engineering, the trio had earlier built a humanoid robot with AI during their graduation and became fascinated by AI. That was the germ for Agrima. The team started by developing a personal assistant app, and their first product was VIKI, a Siri-like personal assistant app for Blackberry 10.

“Though we started building virtual personal assistants for enterprises, our focus has always been on AI and ML,” said Anoop. “So far, we have raised $450,000 from various investors. Our app ‘Recipe Book’ was also selected as Google Playstore Editors’ choice. While three founders hold 70% stake, the remaining is diluted among various investors,” he added.



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