Bharti Airtel has acquired a strategic investment in Aqilliz, a blockchain technology startup, the telecom service provider said on February 24.
According to Airtel, Singapore-based Aqilliz has developed Atom, a patented hybrid blockchain platform that mixes differential privacy and federated learning on a distributed digital ledger.
It added that in a quickly expanding digital economy that's turning more decentralised, this allows marketers to create secure and consent-based solutions to communicate with customers.
Airtel plans to use Aqilliz's blockchain technology across its rapidly developing Adtech (Airtel Ads), digital entertainment (Wynk Music and Airtel Xstream), and digital commerce (Airtel Thanks App) services.
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In collaboration with Invest India, Airtel recently announced the 'Airtel India Startup Innovation Challenge'. Early stage Indian businesses were asked to show off their 5G, IoT, cloud communications, digital advertising, and digital entertainment solutions.
Ten winners will be given access to Airtel's digital engineering ecosystem to collaborate on solutions, with a select few being enrolled into the Airtel Startup Accelerator Program.
“We 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,” Adarsh Nair, CEO – Airtel Digital, said.
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“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," Gowthaman Ragothaman, Founding CEO – Aqilliz, said. "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, according to him.
Airtel Startup Accelerator Program invests in early stage start-ups working on technologies that have adjacencies to Airtel’s business offerings. The programme gives start-ups the opportunity to deploy their technologies and applications at a massive scale, which includes more than 340 million retail customers and over one million businesses.
In addition to funding, the programme offers mentorship from Airtel’s leadership team and access to Airtel’s global strategic partners.