After building a fortune in Indian e-commerce, billionaire Binny Bansal is expanding into the rapidly developing AI-as-a-service market by starting a business that would target global clients.
According to people familiar with the situation, Bansal, who co-founded online retailer Flipkart and later sold it to Walmart Inc., has brought on 15 professionals for the project, the most of whom are artificial intelligence scientists, and he intends to add more fast. The sources, who asked to remain anonymous since the project isn’t yet public, claimed that he intends to emulate the business model of outsourcing companies like Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. and Infosys Ltd. by providing AI skills, products, and services to corporate clients.
According to the individuals, the firm is based in Singapore and will mostly operate out of Bengaluru. It is currently in stealth mode and plans to introduce its products in the next months. According to one of the people, it also intends to grow in the US.
Businesses worldwide are attempting to use artificial intelligence (AI), propelled by innovative solutions like OpenAI Inc.’s ChatGPT chatbot, which is funded by Microsoft Corp. As a result, there is a big need for AI specialists. Bansal hopes to train additional experts for new kinds of AI services by reaching out to India’s large, youthful English-speaking population.
One of the insiders stated that Bansal will first focus on the legal and e-commerce sectors, even if he is keeping his particular product plans under wraps. The business also intends to provide services in data science and analytics, as well as financial services. In the second half of 2024, it plans to launch goods and services and start selling them.
40-year-old Bansal declined to comment.
After selling his online company situated in Bengaluru, the billionaire relocated to Singapore and currently commutes between the two cities. The AI business will concentrate on providing services from smaller Indian locations, where living expenses are lower, and developing talent.
After graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Bansal and his co-founder of Flipkart, Sachin Bansal (no relation), worked at Amazon.com Inc. until they left in their mid-20s. Nearly six years before the Seattle behemoth joined the Indian retail scene, they founded Flipkart as a more regionalized online retailer for the country, drawing inspiration from Amazon. After serving as Flipkart’s chief operating officer and chief executive officer, Binny sold the company to Walmart in 2018 for a sum of $16 billion, giving Walmart a controlling share in the business.
In recent years, Binny started investing in tech companies after progressively selling Walmart his whole stake in Flipkart. He is still on the Flipkart board and owns stock in the fintech company PhonePe Pvt, which is owned by Walmart.