In a remarkable achievement for India’s burgeoning tech industry, Krutrim, an AI startup founded by Bhavish Aggarwal, who also established the renowned ride-hailing service Ola, has reached a valuation of $1 billion.

This financial milestone was confirmed following a recent funding round, catapulting Krutrim to the status of a ‘unicorn’ – a term used to describe startups valued at over $1 billion.

Launched just last year, Krutrim has set a record pace in its journey to unicorn status, becoming not only the fastest Indian startup to achieve this feat but also the first in the country’s AI sector to do so, according to a press release issued by the company.

The $50 million funding round that propelled Krutrim to its unicorn valuation was led by Matrix Partners India. This venture capital firm has shown continued confidence in Aggarwal’s vision, having previously invested in his other ventures: Ola and its electric vehicle counterpart, Ola Electric.

This development was foreshadowed in a report by TechCrunch last year, which hinted at Aggarwal’s negotiations to secure a $50 million investment for his new AI endeavor.

Krutrim, deriving its name from the Sanskrit word for ‘artificial’, is working on a language model trained not only in English but also in various Indian languages. The startup has announced its project to launch a voice-enabled conversational AI assistant.

This initial offering to consumers is expected next month. The subsequent phase involves rolling out Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to cater to the needs of developers and enterprises.

Krutrim has also revealed plans on its website to develop in-house capabilities for manufacturing AI-optimized chips.

Krutrim marks the third entrepreneurial venture of Bhavish Aggarwal. His first venture, Ola, has significantly impacted the transportation sector, emerging as a leader in the ride-hailing market in India.

Further diversifying his portfolio, Aggarwal ventured into the electric vehicle (EV) sector with Ola Electric. This enterprise has quickly risen to prominence, leading the two-wheeler EV market in India. Demonstrating its rapid growth and market confidence, Ola Electric has recently taken a major leap forward by filing the paperwork for a $662 million initial public offering (IPO).

Aggarwal said in a statement: “India has to build its own AI, and at कृत्रिम, we are fully committed to building the country’s first complete AI computing stack. We are thrilled to announce the successful closure of our first funding round, which not only validates the potential of कृत्रिम ’s innovative AI solutions but also underscores the confidence investors have in our ability to drive meaningful change out of India for the world.”