Flipkart on Tuesday said it has acquired Liv.ai, an artificial intelligence-led speech recognition start-up that has developed a speech-to-text platform supporting 10 Indian languages.
Liv leverages proprietary technology architecture and deep learning algorithms for enabling its vernacular technology. After the acquisition, Liv will become a Flipkart centre of excellence for voice solutions, and help accelerate an end-to-end conversational shopping experience for its users.
Founded in 2015, Liv enables low latency speech to text conversion in 10 Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.
“The next wave of growth of internet users is coming from tier 2+ cities and 70% of these current internet users are native/vernacular language speakers and this proportion is only increasing. Given the complexities in typing on vernacular keyboards, the voice will become a preferred interface for new shoppers. Through Liv, we want to give our customers a conversational e-commerce experience,” Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy said.
Flipkart said 90% of the new users coming online in India are native language speakers and typing and searching in English is complex for them. The Hindi internet user base is likely to outgrow the English user base by 2021, and along with Marathi and Bengali users, will drive the volume growth as nine out of every 10 new internet users will be Indian language users, according to a KPMG study on Indian languages.
Liv’s co-founders Subodh, Sanjeev and Kishore, along with the entire Liv team, will be joining Flipkart as a part of the deal.
The team will be under the leadership of Flipkart vice-president Ravish Sinha.