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Business News/ Companies / News/  Azim Premji's family office bets on Artificial Intelligence ventures for $10 billion Premji Invest fund, says report
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Azim Premji's family office bets on Artificial Intelligence ventures for $10 billion Premji Invest fund, says report

Tech tycoon Azim Premji's family office is betting on Artificial Intelligence to prop up its $10 billion worth Premji Invest fund, and will thus increase investments in the sector, Bloomberg reported.

File image: Premji Invest is Azim Premji's (pictured) investment arm.Premium
File image: Premji Invest is Azim Premji's (pictured) investment arm.

Premji Invest, the family office of Azim Premji that manages over $10 billion for the tech mogul, is set to bolster its investments in artificial intelligence (AI) companies, Bloomberg reported citing a senior executive at the firm.

The fund's focus would be on refining its proprietary AI investment tools, TK Kurien, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at Premji Invest told the publication.

Pioneering AI Investment in India

In his first interview since 2017, Kurien told Bloomberg that Premji Invest is "among the first large Indian asset managers to use AI tools in private equity", adding that they are now working on "an AI quant model for public markets bets too".

Kurien added that the asset manager will "invest more" in the AI space following “exponential returns".

Global Trend in AI Investment

Premji Invest initiated its AI journey three years ago, employing 14 AI engineers and supporting emerging technology ventures, according to Kurien. He added that AI is helping the asset manager parse through over 10,000 companies on 600 parametres to "identify investment opportunities".

"The firm expects the entire exercise to also give it a bird’s eye view of emerging technologies and trends that could help it stay ahead of peers," Kurien said.

Notably, across the globe, investment firms such as BlackRock Inc. and SoftBank Group Corp, have also increasingly turned to AI for real-time market analysis.

Ventures Supported by Premji Invest

AI sector firms backed by Premji Invest include Cohesity Inc. (data-management software company), Holistic AI (London-based enterprise software business), Ikigai, and Pixis.

Kurien intends to broaden access to few of its AI tools for open-source developers, while also exploring applications in streamlining legal processes and enhancing government services. This will "help India’s overburdened courts resolve cases faster and to also aid governments’ efforts to offer services more effectively," he said.

Sector Focus and Investment Strategy

Kurien outlined technology and financial services as the primary sectors for investment, alongside consumer and healthcare in India's private market space; and healthcare and technology in the United States.

With a 120-member team spanning from Menlo Park (California) to Bengaluru (India), Kurien is "scouting for investment targets in the US with the latest technologies that can be brought to India", the report said.

Premji Invest maintains a patient capital approach, prioritising long-term value creation over short-term gains. The firm's assets, diversified across private investments, publicly traded equities, and other funds, have experienced significant growth over the years, underlining its commitment to sustainable investment practices.

"Premji Invest’s assets are allocated as private investments, publicly traded equities and investments into other funds. We are patient capital without an exit time frame," said Kurien.

Established by Wipro founder Azim Premji in 2006, Premji Invest allocates 5 percent of its returns to support philanthropic initiatives in India, as per Kurien. It has seen 4x surge in assets under management (AUM) over the past eight years, as per the report.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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Published: 29 Apr 2024, 02:33 PM IST
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