Ola Electric founder's AI startup Crutrim becomes India's first AI unicorn

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AI startup Crutrim, founded by serial entrepreneur Bhavish Aggarwal, has achieved unicorn status after raising $50 million in funding from investors including Matrix Partners India. Just a month after launching a major language model, it has become the first Indian AI startup to achieve a billion-dollar valuation, the firm said in a blog post. Crutrim, which translates to “artificial” in Sanskrit, is also developing data centers and will eventually aim to build servers and supercomputers for the AI ​​ecosystem.

Following the launch of OpenAI's ChatGPT more than a year ago, a host of Indian startups and academic groups are racing to build large language models in Indian languages, called Indic LLMs. Countries are hoping to create their own competitive AI systems rather than relying on technology from the US or China. In Europe, investors are pouring cash into France's Mistral AI, which was valued at $2 billion after being founded last year. The United Arab Emirates promotes its Falcon model, which is supported by the Abu Dhabi Government Research Institute.

India, with 1.4 billion people, is focusing on building smaller, more cost-efficient AI systems. Generative AI startup Sarvam, which built its system using available open-source models, launched its first open-source Hindi LLM OpenHathi last month. The announcement comes days after it raised $41 million in investment from Lightspeed Venture Partners, billionaire Vinod Khosla and others.

“India has to create its own AI,” Aggarwal, founder of Indian ride-hailing startup Ola, said in the statement. “We are fully committed to building the country's first full AI computing stack.”

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