Hike to collaborate with Indian varsities

In a move to pioneer research collaboration with Indian universities and research institutions, Hike, India’s homegrown tech and Internet start-up, has tied up with Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (IIIT-D). Hike aims to partner with more academia to support and foster innovation and research in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Speech, Link Prediction, Deep Learning and Computer Vision. 

With research and innovation being at the core of what Hike does, the company believes that multiple collaborations across academic disciplines can best leverage the bright minds of the country. Building on each other’s work also solves many fundamental challenges of the country. This first-of-its-kind initiative by Hike is also aimed at enabling an ecosystem of research within the country that will help advance technological competence and know-how in the field of AI & ML. This will include new age research-led innovation in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP), Speech, Link Prediction, Deep Learning and Computer Vision. 

Speaking on the development, Anshuman Misra, VP - Operations, Hike, said, “We are extremely excited about the talent and innovation present in this country, through our research collaborations we aim to help nourish this talent further. By facilitating this research opportunity, we want to help enable the Indian academia to connect to early-stage research and support the translation of that research to fuel advancement in the AI & ML ecosystem.” 

He further said, “Hike has created India’s only local, homegrown messaging platform that is working towards helping solve India’s input problem and reduce dependency on the keyboard. This puts us in a unique position to not only improve the communication experience for millions of users, but also provide Indian academics great opportunities to apply their research on hard real-world problems.” 

Commenting on the collaboration, Tanmoy Chakraborty, Director, Laboratory for Computational Social Systems (LCS2), Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, said, “We are extremely proud to be beginning this partnership with Hike. A project of this depth is one of the first in the AI & ML ecosystems, and we hope this encourages more Indian academia to partner with Hike. We believe this will play a huge role in facilitating our students to help create a future shaped by open research.” 

Hike has put AI & ML at the heart of innovation. The company is currently building one of the largest repositories of AI & ML enabled stickers for its recently announced local messaging platform, Hike Sticker Chat. The platform already has over 30,000 stickers across 40 + languages and dialects and aims to have almost 100,000 stickers by the end of the year covering a large chunk of popular local languages and dialects. The company is currently working on a range of White papers, projects, and initiatives. 

Some of Hike’s other initiatives to encourage the AI & ML ecosystem in India include – one of the biggest ML hackathons in the country, White Papers and internship opportunities for students. 

Founded by Kavin Bharti Mittal, Hike is a Delhi-based venture that is backed by SoftBank, Tiger Global, Tencent, Foxconn & Bharti. Till date, it has raised $261 million. In August 2016, Hike raised its Series D round of funding led by Tencent and Foxconn at a valuation of $1.4 billion and achieved the feat of being one of the fastest to attain Unicorn status amongst Indian start-ups in under 4 years. 

Hike Sticker Chat is a Made in India platform for young Indians to express themselves with their close friends. In a country like India with 22+ languages and 700+ dialects, the input is a big problem. Hike Sticker Chat is aiming to solve this with Stickers as the foundation – delivering the ‘right sticker at the right time’ in a conversation. It aims to bring Machine Learning, infinite content creation, and voice input together to re-invent communication for a market like India.


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