Aug 31, 2016

India & US-based Artificial Intelligence startup Mad Street Den raises more money

After raising $1.5 mn in one of the biggest seed rounds in the country last year the company has closed series A funding from Sequoia Capital.


As Pankaj wrote a few months ago, Artificial Intelligence is in India is more artificial than intelligent. TLDR: Most Indian companies talking about artificial intelligence don’t have a clue what they are doing.
Which is why when we heard of MadStreetDen, a startup based in India and the US taking a crack at artificial intelligence based solutions, we rushed to bring you an interview about its co-founder Anand Chandrashekharan (see video below).
Here’s more news from them. After raising $1.5 mn in one of the biggest seed rounds in the country last year the company has closed series A funding from Sequoia Capital. Its current investors, Exfinity Fund and GrowX Ventures will also participate in the round.
The company, one of the very few original startups in the artificial intelligence space from India, did not confirm the fund raise but sources said that it is close to $5 mn. At FactorDaily, we don’t cover a lot of funding stories, except when there’s more to it than funding.
Artificial intelligence has been around for decades now. But its real world applications are starting to show only recently. Artificial intelligence and automation has started chipping away at traditional problems and jobs (Read this essay on Artificial Intelligence by the folks at Wait but Why if you are curious).

The company was founded by Ashwini Asokan, who was earlier with Intel and Anand Chandrasekaran, a neuroscientist from Stanford in 2013. It now has nearly 100 customers (many in pilot stages) in Asia, India and the United States.
The idea is to deliver artificial intelligence components through API calls, so that companies can use AI in their applications without having to invest in research and development themselves.
Last year, Mad Street Den launched its first product for the e-commerce sector. It uses image recognition to make it easier for customers to search for products. It’s image recognition system also helps companies tag its inventory, which often runs into millions of stock keeping units.
“Business of retail is an increasingly tense market that needs to be reimagined,” said Ashwini Asokan, Founder and CEO, Mad Street Den. Asokan believes that artificial intelligence is the best way to improve retail.
MadStreetDen’s is a visual search engine for retailers. Visual search is not new. Players like Google, Microsoft and Pinterest have been using it for a while now. MadStreetDen’s vision algorithms analyze a user’s preferences for color, pattern, style, fit, look and personalised his experience.
The company currently has nearly 50 employees.
Also read
Everybody’s a lover, everybody’s an innovator, and everything is AI: Rohan Murty
Computing pioneer Alan Kay on AI, Apple and future
Correction (4.20 PM, IST): An earlier version of the story said the startup was India based and has nearly 100 employees. That has been changed to US and India based and 50 employees. 

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jayadevan is a writer of FactorDaily.