Excl: Voice-based mobility solutions startup Uniphore may raise up to $3M from Accion

Excl: Voice-based mobility solutions startup Uniphore may raise up to $3M from Accion

Global social investor Accion is looking to invest in Chennai-based voice authentication service provider Uniphore , two sources confirmed to Techcircle.in. The investment would come from Frontier Investments Group, a venture capital fund managed by Accion Technical Advisors India.

"Yes, we are in talks with Accion and we are expecting the investments to close in a month's time,'' said a source at Uniphore. However, the company said in an e-mail that it is not raising money at this point of time.

"Accion is talks with a voice authentication startup, that comes out of the IIT-M. The investor is seeing a strong opportunity in the space. However, it is delayed due to the fragmented market conditions,'' said a person involved in the talks.

There is no active conversation between Uniphore and Accion's Frontier Investments Group, Accion said in a e-mail.

According to its website, Uniphore is supported by Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI), an IIT-Madras incubator facilitating rural-inclusive technology, National Research Development Corporation (NRDC), a government body for nurturing technological ideas and Villgro, a social enterprise incubator that focuses on incubating innovative products and services that positively impacts rural India.

Uniphore was reportedly was planning to raise between $3 million -$7 million in venture capital funding and was in talks for the proposed fundraising. It had also raised Rs 57 lakh as seed capital from an institutional investor.

The company was founded by Umesh Sachdev and Ravi Saraogi in 2008.

Sachdev, co-founder and CEO, Uniphore, has worked in developing theft security products, an application for the visually impaired and a voice-based platform . He was also part of the organising team at Proto.in, a showcase event for the startup ecosystem. Saraogi, COO, Uniphore, is a member of the Mobile Payment Forum of India (MPFI).

The duo worked in the telecommunications and computer networks group at IIT-M for the market-driven product development and integrated communications solutions. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, is in the company's advisory board.

The company's services include data collection, customer acquisition and commercial transactions using mobile phones and customised speech-based VAS applications.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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