Niki, a conversational Artificial Intelligence platform, backed by Ratan Tata has had an incredible financial year with a revenue growth of 1000%. Niki has ventured into the space of voice-based commerce in small towns, and reportedly served over 1.5 million users through its app last year, with the average spends increasing considerably.
In light of the recent success, the startup is gearing up to hire 180 employees. Presently, Niki has 70 employees onboard and intends to more than triple its headcount to 250 within the next 15 months. All employees are currently working from home, and are expected to continue working remotely until vaccine rollouts pick pace.
At present, the company offers voice-based commerce options in four languages and intends to add more over the course of the year. The company is working on popularising what it calls the “do it for me” model of the internet economy in small towns, which has resulted in the average user now transacting weekly using the app.
“Our user base increased by 220% in 2020 and will go up further as we expand into more geographies in 2021,” said Niki CEO Sachin Jaiswal. “We are aiming to capture 20% market share of 150 million households by 2022,” added Jaiswal. Niki currently has about 550,000 users and expects a rapid increase in numbers as it expands its regional and language footprint.
Niki’s success has been accelerated by the rapid shift to voice interface for digital transactions in its target market, over and above the rise in wallet share and higher frequency of use as consumers became more comfortable with transacting online, said Jaiswal.
With digital gaining wide acceptance across tier II and tier III cities, there lies tremendous opportunity to not just capture a bigger consumer base but also explore the willingness and capabilities of potential talent in these regions to boost employability in the country, narrowing the city and town divide, especially as remote work has made a strong case for itself. How soon firms, both established and budding startups, tap into this talent pool will shape their ability to attract, engage and retain the cream of the potential labor market.