Neethu Mariam Joy, KSUM’s first woman GenAI founder, selected for Antler Entrepreneur in Residence Program


Kochi: Neethu Mariam Joy, the first woman GenAI founder from Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), has been selected for the prestigious Antler Entrepreneur in Residence Program, augmenting her company’s aim to build next-generation e-commerce solutions. 

Neethu is the founder of ‘Mila’, a GenAI startup providing an online shopping experience that enhances personalised shopping, customer satisfaction and engagement.

The Singapore-headquartered Antler residency, which runs in 27 locations across six continents, is an intense and in-person talent accelerator programme that provides a platform to go from an idea to a global venture-backed startup in weeks.

This year, the residence programme attracted 9,200 applicants including solo founders and early teams. Of these, around 7,700 applications were reviewed. Eventually, 110 founders were chosen to join the residency and build their companies. 

“This is a tremendous boost for me as well as for the entire ecosystem,” said Neethu, noting that the selectivity rate was high at 1.4 per cent. Neethu said her fascination for AI began during her doctoral studies at IIT-Madras. “It continued through my postdoctoral studies at King’s College London, where my research focused on ASR (automatic speech recognition).” 

Neethu subsequently worked as an AI scientist for two international companies for three-and-a-half years altogether. She left her job to found an AI startup in March 2023. Initially focused on enterprise search, Mila later pivoted to e-commerce. The KSUM-incubating company, which seeks to transform how customers interact with online platforms, went on to get Startup India seed fund in September 2023.

Antler, as a day-zero investor, empowers exceptional founders to build startups and great companies from scratch. The programme offers a global community of co-founders, access to talent, expert advisors, expansion support and capital worldwide, enabling founders to build and scale their companies faster.

KSUM is the Kerala government’s nodal agency established in 2006 for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.

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