Pragun Jindal Khaitan, MD of JAL, bets big on Artificial Intelligence (AI) based startup

Mumbai: Artificial intelligence (AI) is the latest buzzword in the start-up space in India. The AI-based start-up movement in India is at ascent stage. Now,  Pragun Jindal Khaitan, MD of Jindal Aluminium Ltd (JAL), the largest aluminium extruder in India, has spelt out plans to invest in Artificial intelligence (AI) focused start-ups. Following the growing demand on AI based technology, JAL is to set to fund start-ups focussed on developing technologies that automate and improve the efficiency of manufacturing operations.

 JAL is interested in AI based start-ups that are focussed primarily on two themes: streamlining the manufacturing operations or in helping to improve B2B customer relations; start-ups which can enhance corporate services like HR and auditing/fraud detection. The idea is to invest into a gamut of varied technologies that improve on areas that overlap with JAL’s activities. Through this initiative, JAL aims at deriving synergies by adopting the technologies it invests in, and implementing it across its manufacturing units.

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The emergence of technology based start-ups is attributed to the dynamism and the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in India, which offers exciting opportunities for entrepreneurs as well as for investors. There is tremendous scope for deriving benefits from the technology developed by start-ups for the manufacturers in India. JAL is looking to invest upto INR 30 crores, if it deems it an unique investment opportunity.

According to Pragun Jindal, Managing Director, Jindal Aluminium Ltd (JAL), “I think the biggest driving force for conglomerates such as ours to fund start-ups, is the opportunity to be in tune with the latest developments and technologies in India and globally as well.  Ultimately, each conglomerate began its journey as a start-up. Also I strongly believe that manufacturing companies will have to embrace the digital age.  The ones that do not incorporate ‘smart manufacturing’ into their operations, will eventually be competed out of the market.  For us, this is an excellent way to kick start this process. We are evaluating every opportunity that comes to us. However, we have not found anything that has been compelling so far. We are, however, actively searching and will take any opportunity if the nature of the work aligns with ours.”

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