Chennai-based startup Sarvam AI has successfully raised $41 million in a Series A funding round, marking a significant milestone as the largest fundraise for an artificial intelligence (AI) startup in India. The funding was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, and the investment will be directed towards the development of generative AI models. The round included a $12 million seed capital, co-led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia India and Southeast Asia), a detail not previously disclosed.

Sarvam AI, founded in July, is focused on training AI models tailored to support a variety of Indian languages and voice-first interfaces. The startup’s co-founder, Vivek Raghavan, stated that the upcoming weeks will see the announcement of their first model specifically designed for Indian languages. The overarching goal is to make generative AI pertinent to India, emphasizing the creation of domain-specific models that can add significant value to the country.

The immediate areas of concentration for Sarvam AI include training AI models for diverse Indian languages and voice-first interfaces. The startup also plans to collaborate with Indian enterprises to co-build domain-specific AI models using their data. Raghavan highlighted that the focus is on the development of smarter, smaller, and equally efficient models for performing tasks, particularly in domain-specific contexts.

Sarvam AI’s co-founders, Vivek Raghavan and Pratyush Kumar, bring substantial expertise to the venture. Raghavan has previously advised the Indian government on projects such as the Unique Identification Authority of India, Unified Payments Interface, and Goods and Services Tax portal. Kumar, a co-founder and researcher, has been associated with IBM and Microsoft and is also part of the faculty at IIT Madras.

The funding round was backed by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Peak XV Partners, and Khosla Ventures, with support from Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla. The startup’s unique approach, combining model innovation and application development, positions it to build population-scale solutions for India. The Sarvam AI team, consisting of 18 professionals, includes individuals with doctorates and expertise in deep learning AI models. The startup plans to expand its operations to Bengaluru and remains committed to addressing population-scale challenges in India through AI applications.

That’s incredible news about Sarvam AI securing $41 million in funding. It’s amazing to see the growth of AI startups in India. Sarvam AI’s focus on developing generative AI models tailored to support Indian languages and voice-first interfaces is truly commendable. I’m excited to see how their domain-specific models will add value to the country. The expertise of Sarvam AI’s co-founders, Vivek Raghavan and Pratyush Kumar, is definitely a strong asset for the venture. It’s great to see such innovative advancements happening in the AI field! sending my best wishes to Sarvam AI team.

~ Dr Shishir said Gupta founder & CEO of StartupLanes 

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