Google Acquihires Indian Startup Halli Labs

Jayadevan PK July 12, 2017

Google has acquired Halli Labs, a Bengaluru based stealth company that has said it will work on Machine Learning techniques to solve old problems.

Google executive Caesar Sengupta announced the acquisition on Wednesday. The company was founded by Pankaj Gupta, a data scientist who was the chief technology officer at Stayzilla.

Google has placed India as one of its core markets as is evident from the company’s recent moves in the country (See: YouTube Go, Google’s attempt at video domination crafted in and for India). Acquisitions by internet giants in India have been far and few.

Sengupta heads Google’s Next Billion initiative which caters to the non English speaking population in emerging markets, primarily in India. He runs a team of about 120 people spread across Hyderabad (led by Jay Kota), Zurich and Singapore. The Hyderabad team is about 20-30 people, a source said.

What underscores Google’s appetite for acquisitions in India is that it has hired Seema Rao to head corporate development in Asia, “This will be her full time job and mostly around helping Caesar’s team,” said a person briefed on her role. Rao, formerly of Avendus Capital, was hired nearly 8 months ago. She is the only person on the job now. Google is likely to look at companies that create products for non English speaking population.