Ai Palette, a foodtech startup that uses artificial intelligence to predict trends for F&B companies, announced US $ 4.4 million in Series A funding. The funding round was led by pi Ventures and Exfinity Ventures with participation from Anthill and other prominent Angel Investors and existing investors Agfunder and Decacorn. The funds raised will be deployed to expand platform capabilities and scale up and expand the existing global customer base.
Founded in 2018 by Food & Beverage industry veteran Somsubhra Gan Choudhuri and Machine Learning expert and IIT graduate, Himanshu Upreti, Ai Palette is working to address a key issue in the US $ 10 trillion FMCG industry - that 90% of the new product launches fail, costing companies billions of dollars. This is mostly due to the inability to predict changing consumer needs accurately. This has become more evident since consumer preferences have become nuanced and change more frequently, posing new challenges for businesses. The traditional market research methods are expensive, take months and rely on inputs from a limited set of surveyed people.
Ai Palette enables FMCG companies to create consumer-winning products using Artificial Intelligence. Ai Palette's proprietary technology identifies food trends in real-time, uncovers consumer drivers and motivations, and helps create winning product concepts that meet unmet consumer needs. Ai Palette uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms and Image Recognition tools to understand human conversation and study visual cues to provide contextual insights at an unparalleled scale. Ai Palette's unique NLP algorithm can also understand Asian languages, making it one of its kind.
In addition to trend identification, Ai Palette works with their customers to create new product concepts based on consumer needs and the brand's portfolio. Ai Palette is currently working closely with some of the world's largest food companies, including Danone, Kellogg's, Cargill and Dole. The platform now supports 15 languages and serves a user base across 13 countries.
Somsubhra GanChoudhuri, Chief executive officer and co-founder, Ai Palette, said, "Demand for Ai Palette's solution grew through the pandemic, and this demand is only going to continue as the consumer goods sector accelerates digital transformation and AI adoption. From day one, we designed our technology to be relevant globally, which puts us in a strong position to revolutionize the CPG product development space, where AI can create a US $ 53 billion impact. With backing from our investors, we are looking forward to accelerating product innovation for more FMCG brands in their fastest-growing markets -- wherever that is in the world."
Commenting on the investment, Roopan Aulakh, managing director, pi Ventures, said, "At pi, we back companies that use disruptive technology to solve big and fundamental problems at a global scale. Ai Palette is successfully doing that by using AI to address the product innovation challenges in the FMCG industry. Ai Palette's multilingual platform gives granular level insights on the current as well as future consumer trends. This is powerful intelligence that a company can leverage to launch successful products. We are excited to partner with Som and Himanshu who bring a compelling combination of F&B domain and technology."
Chinnu Senthilkumar, general partner and chief technical officer, Exfinity Venture Partners, said, "Globally, the FMCG companies spend $40-50B yearly in newer product development. This market is increasingly competitive due to the rise of disposable income of consumers, fast-catching millennial food trends, etc. Historically, the failure rate of new products in this industry is as high as 90% due to limited survey data obtained by marketing agencies using traditional methods. In today's context, "Food Pairing" is both Art and "Data" Science. Using both online and offline data footprint, Ai Palette's algorithms enable FMCG companies to do early trend spotting, real-time consumer insights and shorten the product innovation cycle."
The startup had raised seed funding in 2019, led by Decacorn Capital (Singapore-based VC) with participation from the Singapore government's SGInnovate, AgFunder (a Silicon Valley-based agri/food tech-focussed VC) and Entrepreneur First. With this latest infusion, the Singapore and Bengaluru-based startup has raised over US $ 5.5 Million in funding so far.