Source: BloombergQuint

Startup Street: Entropik Raises Funds For Its AI Platform That Can Read Emotions

This week on Startup Street, a two-year-old Bengaluru-based venture that’s using artificial intelligence to understand users’ emotional responses; a startup incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras unveiled a smart air purifier developed indigenously; and Tata Trusts launched a nationwide hunt for startups innovating in the healthcare space. Here’s what went on...

Entropik Raises $1.1 Million For Scaling Up Emotion AI

Entropik Tech raised $1.1 million from a clutch of investors to scale its platform that uses artificial intelligence to understand consumer preferences based on their emotional responses.

“Emotion AI understands and predicts a consumer’s emotions and subconscious responses as they undergo any experience. It measures one’s facial expression, brainwaves, eye movements to track your subconscious states for the same,” Ranjan Kumar, founder and chief executive of Bengaluru-based Entropik Tech, told BloombergQuint in an emailed interaction. “If you are watching a movie it would be able to track which are the parts of the movie where you felt happy or sad, thus tracking your consumption preference to different aspects of that movie at its point of origin.”

Two-year-old Entropik’s platform—Affect Lab—enables brands and publishers to understand the consumer's reaction to a particular product, content or service. This includes advertisements, movie trailers or even promotional videos. It tests it by showing it to a number of subjects who are wired to have their facial expressions, brainwaves and eye movements tracked.

Source: Entropik Tech
Source: Entropik Tech

Kumar explains that most marketing solutions and analytics services are based on explicit responses of the consumer, ranging from browsing pattern to feedback forms. “Entropik Tech focuses on consumer preference based on a user’s subconscious brain—that’s responsible for almost 95 percent of their decision making.”

Our solutions lie at the conjunction of neuroscience, affective computing, machine learning and consumer research.  
Ranjan Kumar, CEO, Entropik Tech

That promise earned it a $1.1 million early-stage funding from the Bharat Innovation Fund, that was established by the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. This is the first-ever investment from the fund which has received investments from ICICI Lombard, Philips, Bajaj Electricals Ltd., RBL Bank Ltd. and the Small Industries Development Bank of India's Fund of Funds.

Entropik will use the funds to scale up its Affect Lab 2.0—a suite of consumer emotion recognition softwares. It also wants to expand it to the U.S. and Southeast Asia in over the next two years, starting with Singapore next month.

The startup has more than 50 clients globally including marquee names like HDFC Bank Ltd., Xiaomi, ITC Ltd., Tata Chemicals Ltd. and TAM Media Research.

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Startup Incubated At IIT-Madras Launches Smart Air Purifier

Air OK, a startup incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, unveiled a smart air purifier that it has developed indigenously.

The Vistar purifier can filter pollutants ranging from particulate matter, microbes, fungi to gases, according to a press statement from IIT-M. The purifier has WiFi, a touch interface, and allows real-time monitoring of pollutants. It can also be controlled through a smartphone application.

The startup, founded by IIT-M alumni V Deekshit Vara Prasad, Pavan Reddy, and Vanam Sravan Krishna, developed a patented filter technology called EGAPA. The filter has a life of about one year, which is twice that of air purifiers in the market, said Ashok Jhunjhunwala, professor at the electrical engineering department at IIT-M, at the launch.

The startup had received seed funding from IIT-M's incubation cell, which was followed by a Rs 12-crore round from SAR Group in November 2017.

The company would target hospitals, hotels, commercial real estate and food processing and manufacturing segments in the initial phase, according to its statement. “The air purifier will be priced at around Rs 20,000, almost half that of those in the market now as affordability was a key area for AirOK,” the statement said.

The startup said it has a capacity to manufacture up to 30 units a day and can increase the production capacity to 1,000 without any major additional investment.

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Tata Trusts Hunt For Innovative Healthcare Startups

Tata Trusts have launched a nationwide hunt for startups innovating in the healthcare space. The selected startups will be supported by Tata Trusts’ PATH Impact Lab and its network of mentors for up to 15 months and will receive funding up to Rs 25 lakh.

The focus area includes innovation in:

  • Maternal and child healthcare.
  • Chronic and non-communicable diseases such as point-of-care detection of diabetes, neuropathies, retinopathies, cardio-vascular diseases, head & neck, cervical and other cancers.
  • Detection and diagnosis of infectious diseases such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, chikungunya, hepatitis C, and drug resistance.

“This is India's first nationwide search programme that is designed to solve key healthcare challenges, eliminate disparities and achieve health equity in India,” Tata Trusts said in a statement.

Tata Trusts’ Innovation Fund under Tata Capital has invested in healthcare startup Mitra Biotech, security startup Vaultise, Pluss, Vortex, Water Health, Sea6Energy and Alef.