Pragun Jindal Khaitan, MD of Jindal Aluminium Ltd (JAL), the largest aluminium extruder in India, has recently announced his plan to invest in AI focused start-ups. JAL has always been at the cutting edge of technology since its inception in the year 1968. Over the past two years, the positive upsurge in start-ups focussed on AI based technology has encouraged JAL to fund start-ups focused on developing technologies that automate and improve the efficiency of manufacturing operations.
Today the emergence of technology based start-ups is the result of the dynamism and the entrepreneurial spirit that exists in India, making it an excellent opportunity 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 even upto INR 30 crores, if it deems it an unique investment opportunity.
JAL is interested in AI based start-ups that are focussed mainly on two areas – streamlining the manufacturing operations or in helping to improve B2B customer relations; alongwith 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 will also derive synergies by adopting the technologies it invests in, and implementing it across its manufacturing units.
According to Pragun Jindal, Managing Director, Jindal Aluminium Ltd (JAL), “Based on what I have seen so far, there are some excellent ideas and developments in the start-up world which are focused on manufacturing. 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.”