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Vue.ai raises $17M to equip online retailers with AI smarts

Vue.ai, an u.S./India startup that develops an ai platform to assist online retailers work more efficiently and trade more, has announced a $17 million successions B circular.

The investment is led by Falcon Edge Capital with participation from Japan’s intercontinental Brain and existing backer Sequoia Capital India. Parent company insane roadway Den was founded in 2014 and it raised $1.5 million a year later; Sequoia then bought into the business via an undisclosed deal in 2016. Vue.ai is described as an “AI brand” from insane roadway Den and, all combined, the two entities have now raised $27 million from investors.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Vue.ai CEO and co-founder Ashwini Asokan — who started insane roadway Den with her husband Anand Chandrasekaran — explained that Vue.ai is a “retail vertical” of insane roadway Den that launched in 2016, and that the company may add “another vertical in a year or two.”

Vue.ai is solely focused on working with online retailers, predominantly in the fashion space, and it does so in a number of ways. That includes expected areas such as automating product tagging and personalized recommendations (based on that tag library), as well as visual search using photos as input and tailored product discovery.

Areas in which Vue.ai also plays that surprised me, at least, include generating human being models who wear clothing items — thus saving considerable moment, cash and effort on photo shoots — and an ai stylist that doesn’t take human being form but does learn an user’s style and helps them uniform themselves accordingly.

Tagging and visuals may appear boring, but these are hugely important areas for retailers who have enormous amounts of SKUs, items for sale, on their site. Making sure the right person finds the right item is critical to making a sale, and Vue.ai’s goal is to automate as much of that heavy-lifting as feasible. Even tagging is essential because it needs to be done consistently if it is to work properly.

Ashwini Asokan, CEO and co-founder of Vue.ai

More than just working correctly, Vue.ai aims to assist online retailers, who often run a tight ship in terms of profitability, save cash and get brand-new product online and in front of consumer eyes quickly.

“These are solutions that optimize the bottom line for retail companies,” said Asokan, who spent over a decade working in the U.S. before returning home to India in 2015. “We are digitizing products 10X faster than you did before… you cannot afford to lose productivity and efficiency, online retail is not somewhere you can lose cash.”

“We want to be that data brain mapping digital products,” she added.

Vue.ai is now pushing into brand-new areas, which include advertising and development of videos and marketing content.

“The future of retail is entertainment and the experience economy is the tiny commence of that generation,” Asokan said, reflecting on the trend of social media buying through platforms like Instagram and the rise of live-streaming e-commerce in China.

“The electricity that powers all of these complicated retail interactions is content; we need to understand content and every customer style profile and merchandise,” she added.

Some of Vue.ai’s public customers include Macy’s and Diesel in the U.S., Latin American e-commerce tight Mercadolibre and Indian conglomerate Tata .

Vue.ai is headquartered in Redwood City with an office in Chennai, India. Asokan said it is planning to extend that presence with brand-new locations in Seattle, for tech hires, and Japan and Spain to assist provide closer help for customers. The company doesn’t disclose raw numbers, but it said that annual revenue grew by four hundred percent in 2018, which was its third year since incorporation.

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TechCrunch
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