Airtel acquires strategic stake in blockchain technology startup Aqilliz
Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), India’s premier communications solutions provider, announced that it has acquired a strategic stake in Aqilliz – a Blockchain as a Service Company under the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program, subject to applicable statutory approvals.
Singapore-based Aqilliz has developed a patented hybrid blockchain platform, Atom that integrates differential privacy and federated learning on a distributed digital ledger. This allows brands to create secure and consent-based solutions to engage with customers in a rapidly evolving digital economy that’s becoming increasingly decentralised.
Airtel aims to deploy Aqilliz’s advanced blockchain technologies at scale across its fast growing Adtech (Airtel Ads), Digital Entertainment (Wynk Music & Airtel Xstream) and Digital Marketplace (Airtel Thanks App) offerings.
Adarsh Nair, CEO – Airtel Digital, said: “We, at Airtel, are deeply researching new technologies that drive the future of a digitally connected India. This relentless focus on innovation is also enabling us to unlock new growth engines within Airtel. Blockchain technology is maturing and we see its application across areas such as Adtech, Creator Economy, and Loyalty Programs. We are thrilled to have Aqilliz join our Startup Accelerator Program and be part of Airtel’s digital innovation factory.”
Gowthaman Ragothaman, Founding CEO – Aqilliz added: “We are extremely excited to be a part of Airtel’s digital innovation play and bring this first of its kind blockchain technology to India. Legacy customer engagement, ad tech and marketing technologies are built for centralised databases. The future of the digital economy is already pivoting to managing value exchanges between brands, platforms and the consumer. Aqilliz’s patented technology will enable Airtel to capture and carry this value exchange in the form of consent and provenance across the digital supply chain. We look forward to working closely with the team at Airtel.”
Airtel Startup Accelerator Program invests in early stage start-ups working on technologies that have adjacencies to Airtel’s business offerings. The Program gives Startups the opportunity to deploy their technologies and applications at a massive scale, which includes 340M+ retail customers and over 1M+ business. In addition to funding, the Program offers mentorship from Airtel’s leadership team and access to Airtel’s global strategic partners.
Recently, Airtel launched the ‘Airtel India Startup Innovation Challenge’ in partnership with Invest India. Early stage Indian startups were invited to demonstrate solutions for 5G, IoT, Cloud Communications, Digital Advertising and Digital Entertainment. 10 winners will get the opportunity to access Airtel’s digital engineering ecosystem to co-create solutions and select few will be inducted into the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.
Headquartered in India, Airtel is a global communications solutions provider with over 480 Mn customers in 16 countries across South Asia and Africa. The company ranks amongst the top three mobile operators globally and its networks cover over two billion people. Airtel is India’s largest integrated communications solutions provider and the second largest mobile operator in Africa. Airtel’s retail portfolio includes high speed 4G/4.5G mobile broadband, Airtel Xstream Fiber that promises speeds up to 1 Gbps with convergence across linear and on-demand entertainment, streaming services spanning music and video, digital payments and financial services. For enterprise customers, Airtel offers a gamut of solutions that includes secure connectivity, cloud and data centre services, cyber security, IoT, Ad Tech and cloud based communication. For more details visit www.airtel.com