One ‘pretty ordinary’ night, 4 friends met over their 'usual' round of beer. Little did they know that this seemingly casual meetup was going to change their lives forever. And change the lives of millions in the future. This was the night the idea of a digital chat-based artificial intelligence powered shopping assistant was born. They decided to name her Niki.
Udaipur has seen the rise and grandeur of great empires for centuries, and hence this city of magnificent palaces and shimmering lakes was the perfect setting for the birth of something extraordinary. It may be a cliche, but the initial development of Niki started in a small room in a house whose owners didn't have any use of that space.
The fantastic four got together, recruited a team of avengers, cued the music and got down to work. After weeks of sweat and toil it was time for the world to get introduced to the awesomeness. Full of both nervousness and excitement, fear and expectation, they showed their creation to people around. The bad reviews taught them. The good reviews spurred them on.
When you are speeding a bike towards an abyss, there comes a point where, if you go any further, you won’t be able to avoid the drop. Your options are to either break hard right then or go on at full throttle and develop wings while going down. Niki had come to that point. And they choose to go on at full throttle, and land gracefully at the valley - Bangalore!
These days in India, a startup without funding is just like a bonfire out of dry wood on a dark night. If there is no wood, what will you burn? And if you don’t burn, you would not be able to find your way in the dark. In other words, even the best weapons need ammunition. And that ammunition came in the form of funding by Mr. Ronnie Screwvala!
You may have the weapons. You may even have the ammunition. But you still need a ‘spark’ to start the fire. Pretty aptly, Niki was officially launched at TechSparks 2015 to a resounding welcome. Niki had made it to the Tech30 list. She was no longer in stealth mode now. She was, well and truly, out in the wild.
If you are being hailed as the ‘next big thing’, wherever you go the paparazzi network will follow. Niki was being covered in many major networks.The active users counter kept ticking upwards and onwards. But the floodgates were opened by the front page coverage of Niki on Economic Times!
Be it lord of the rings, Harry Potter or even star wars, every epic journey with a larger-than-life goal has a wise old man with grey hair who shows the correct way. For Niki, that wise old man with innumerable tricks up his sleeves is Mr. Ratan Tata. He is excited about the idea, and has backed Niki to be an ‘Anmol Ratan’ of the startup world!