Airtel will acquire stake in Bengaluru based tech startup Vahan and partner with them in building significant scale to achieve their vision of enabling jobs for the next billion internet users.
Founded in 2016 and backed by YCombinator and Khosla Ventures, Vahan leverages advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) to match job seekers with employers inside messaging apps such as WhatsApp. It is focused on finding blue collar jobs for millions of young Indians in delivery, driving, retail, BFSI, BPO and hospitality sectors with companies such as Zomato, Swiggy and Dunzo as clients.
The company also announced the launch of its Startup Accelerator Program to support growth of early stage Indian tech startups. With the advent of its Start-up Accelerator Program, Airtel aims to support the creation of a vibrant start-up ecosystem that contributes to “Digital India”. Vahan is the first to join Airtel Startup Accelerator.
Airtel’s Startup Accelerator will help early startups get access to Airtel’s online and offline distribution network, deep market understanding and ecosystem of global strategic partners. In addition, Airtel has also developed strong in-house capabilities around machine learning and artificial intelligence which could be leveraged to aid the growth of startups. Furthermore, startups also get access to advisory services from Airtel’s executive team.
Adarsh Nair, Chief Product Officer, Bharti Airtel said, “Today, early stage startups in India have some very exciting ideas but face multiple challenges in scaling up. With Airtel’s scale and digital capabilities around distribution and payments, we have the potential to drive accelerated growth of emerging startups that are solving hard problems. The team at Vahan is doing some incredible work to bring jobs to millions of people through AI based technology. We are excited to partner with them on this vision.”
Madhav Krishna, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Vahan said, “Airtel will be a key partner for us as we look to solve a hard problem for Bharat. Most blue-collar job seekers are unaware of the opportunities that exist in the market, especially new-age on-demand jobs. Airtel’s distribution channels will help us reach the very depths of the country and in turn, help millions of Indians take control of their economic destiny. We are incredibly excited about this partnership.”