Vahan Inc., a Bengaluru-based AI startup, which was a part of the latest batch of Y Combinator, has raised a fresh round of undisclosed funding from Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, and Pioneer Fund.
The startup aims to use these funds to hire talent across engineering, products, sales, marketing, and operations.
The Bengaluru-based startup has an AI-driven virtual assistant which is integrated with WhatsApp. It helps companies automate workforce engagement and offers blue-collar workers access to job opportunities, knowledge, and information to improve employability along with services such as loans and insurance.
Madhav Krishna, Founder and CEO of Vahan, told YourStory,
“They access our product simply by chatting with our AI-driven virtual assistant on messaging apps like WhatsApp. No separate app download is required. Being available on WhatsApp helps reduce the barrier to entry, and maximises user adoption and engagement.”
With an intention to make education more accessible to underprivileged communities, Madhav Krishna built a product that facilitated vocational training to corresponding institutes in January 2016. Realising that most institutes were not interested in improving the quality of their training programmes, and looked to cut costs and increased margins, Madhav pivoted to a virtual assistant.
Vahan's expertise lies in high volume recruitment of delivery personnel for companies in the on-demand and ecommerce spaces. To apply for a job, a candidate simply needs to send a Hi to the company’s WhatsApp number.
The virtual assistant qualifies the candidate, answers their questions, and even schedules an interview. The team has built Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology to understand what the users type, especially to monitor a mix of two languages like English and Hindi.
For this, the team built a separate consumer product that was able to act as a mousetrap for generating millions of Hinglish chat messages per month as a solution to this problem. The virtual assistant can be aligned to fit employers' communication, recruitment, and training needs. A web-based dashboard lets employers track data for business intelligence.