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韩国AI创企Skelter Labs获1000万美元融资

Securities Lending据悉,韩国AI初创企业Skelter Labs在获得新加坡风险投资公司Golden Gate Ventures的投资后,正计划向东南亚市场扩张。这轮融资数额为1000万美元,是该创企自成立后的第三次融资。

Skelter Labs是由谷歌韩国的前工程网站总监Ted Cho于2015年所创建的。它起初开发利用人工智能的应用和服务,但随后转向完全专注于人工智能技术,并将其授权给与之合作的公司和企业。现在,它正在日本和东南亚部分地区寻找机会——东南亚地区人口超过6亿——特别是越南、泰国和马来西亚。

今年早些时候,这家初创公司获得了900万美元的种子轮融资,投资者包括韩国信息巨头Kakao的人工智能部门KakaoBrain,Stonebridge Ventures和Lotte Homeshopping——电视和互联网购物企业,由零售业巨头乐天拥有。

更具体地说,来自首尔的Skelter Labs研究视觉和语音、对话和文本识别的人工智能,同时它在包括制造、客户运营、设备互动和消费者营销方面寻求更多消费者。

这家初创公司没有透露具体的客户,但它曾表示,其愿景是将机器学习技术引入日常生活和日程安排。可能的例子包括“智能虚拟助理技术,可以广泛应用于各种领域,包括智能音箱、智能手机、家用电器、汽车和可穿戴设备。”

Golden Gate是东南亚地区经营时间最长的科技风险投资公司之一。这项交易是其最近宣布的第三只基金的一部分,该基金规模为1亿美元。

在一份声明中,Skelter Labs CEO Cho赞扬了该风投在东南亚的强大影响,他说这可能会为该公司打开大门。Golden Gate投资组合中可能特别感兴趣的初创企业包括移动列表公司Carousell、汽车门户Carro、时尚商业网站Grana和在线家具销售商Hipvan。

Korean AI startup Skelter Labs  is expanding to Southeast Asia after it pulled in undisclosed funding from Singapore-based VC firm Golden Gate Ventures.

Skelter Labs was founded in 2015 by founded by Ted Cho, the former engineering site director at Google  Korea. It started out developing apps and services that made use of AI but then it pivoted to focus fully on AI tech, which it licenses out to companies and corporations that it works with. Now it is eying opportunities in  Japan and parts of Southeast Asia — which has a cumulative population of over 600 million — with Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia specifically mentioned.

The startup raised a $9 million seed round earlier this year, and Golden Gate has added an additional check to that round which came from KakaoBrain — the AI unit of Korean messaging giant Kakao  — Kakao Ventures, Stonebridge Ventures and Lotte Homeshopping, the TV and internet shopping business owned by multi-billion dollar retail giant Lotte.

More specifically, Seoul-based Skelter Labs works on AI in the context of vision and speech, conversation, and context recognition, while it goes after customers in areas that include manufacturing, customer operations, device interaction, and consumer marketing.

The startup doesn’t disclose customers, but it previously told TechCrunch that its vision is to bring its machine learning technology to daily life and schedules. Possible examples of that might be could include “intelligent virtual assistant technology that can be widely applied to various areas including smart speakers, smartphones, home appliances, automobiles and wearable devices.”

Golden Gate is one of Southeast Asia’s longest running tech VC firms. This deal is part of its recently announced third fund, which is $100 million in size.

In a statement, Skelter Labs CEO Cho paid tribute to the VC’s strong footprint in Southeast Asia that he said could open doors for the company. Startups in Golden Gate’s portfolio that might be of particular interest could include mobile listings startup Carousell,  auto portal Carro, fashion commerce site Grana and online furnishings seller Hipvan.

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