AI and ML are acronyms that baffle some, but excite many others, particularly those interested in data. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans. Machine Learning (ML), is a type of artificial intelligence that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed. Startups in both areas made their debut in Zeroth.AI, Asia’s first AI startup accelerator.
Kicked off by the funder and program lead, Tak Lo, the accelerator hosted its first investor demo day last Friday. Their investment approach was to invest US$20,000 in exchange for 6% equity in each of the 10 startups that pitched at the demo day.
It was one of the most crowded demo days we have attended recently, with well over 80 attendees. The precise and high quality pitches of these 10 startups came from Australia (Object AI), Singapore (impress.ai), India (Matelab), Taiwan (Botimize, DT42), Vietnam (Sero), and of course, Hong Kong (Designjar, Clare.ai, aniWEAR).
At Oddup, we have rated our top picks of the batch.
Founded in 2016 by Raymond Yip and Jonah Lau, Designjar is an end-to-end digital marketing platform for businesses in Asia. It takes a data-driven approach to deliver advertisement designs proven to increase click-through rates. By leveraging on AI, the platform predicts the effectiveness of each advertisement, automatically swapping out underperforming ones to minimize unnecessary spending. As of the demo day, it is estimated that the company is raising US$500,000 for their seed funding.
Market: Although this type of marketing and advertising support is not new in Asia, most of them are still largely manual especially when at the design stage. Marketing data analytic platforms only provide data summaries and miss out on the design phase. We believe there is market demand for an end-to-end solution, where startups or corporates can rely on one single platform, instead of jumping between different service providers. The loop of “advertisement creative agent -> graphic designer -> market -> data analysis provider -> advertisement creative agent” then can be avoided.
Founder: One of the founders, Raymond Yip is a serial entrepreneur. We are not concluding that a serial entrepreneur will have a better chance of success, but a founder with previous and relevant experience and network would. Raymond was previously the co-founder and ex-CEO of a HK/Taiwan based ecommerce DIY platform, Shopline. We believe his experience and knowledge in terms of what these ecommerce platform owners need would help him better develop Designjart. We believe there could also be future collaboration between Designjar and Shopline, leveraging off each other for more all-rounded products for Shopline and a higher client base for Designjar.
Synergy with Zeroth.ai: Based on what we understand, Designjar has refined its business model and product with the help of the program’s mentor and support. In the beginning, the startup focused only on graphic design and then it changed its model to a one stop, end-to-end platform which we believe is more promising.
Founded in 2016 by YuHsuan Chao and Po-Chen Chu, botimize is an analytics platform that uses machine learning and natural language processing to let developers track, test, and optimize bots. With botimize, developers can track performance of their bots and use botimize’s service to deploy version tests on Messenger.
Market: We see strong potential and pent-up demand for the service. As we mentioned in our blog post” what’s in store in 2017 #1 – artificial intelligence (ai): chatbot & virtual assistants”, AI chatbots may be the key focus in Asia and even across the globe. As a service and test platform provider, we believe there will be a much larger client base for botimize in the next few years. More importantly, the focus is not only from the startup world, but also the corporates. This means that corporates would have incentives to hire and use botimize (as a third-party evaluator) to text and improve chatbots which were formerly either built by an in-house tech team or outsourced tech vendor.
Synergy with Zeroth.ai: As an AI and ML focused accelerator, it is very likely that there will be more AI chatbot startups in Zeroth.ai’s future batch. One of the startup in this batch, Clare.ai, is also an AI chatbot startup. With its stake in botimize, we believe there would incentive for the accelerator to link up botimize with these startups. These startups could be potential clients for botimize. If not, it can still help botimize improve their product.