#Asia 5 Asian artificial intelligence startups that caught our eye

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Speech recognition, faster decision-making or shopping — these artificial intelligence solutions can help you do all this and more

artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been an intriguing topic for decades, proving to be inspiration to many a sci-fi films. Last few years have seen the technology become mainstream, catching the fancy of startups and investors alike.

Startups today are trying to use AI to help do simple daily tasks to solving complex business problems. Here is a list of five Asian startups in the space that you should know about.

1. Mobvoi

Founded by ex-Googlers Zhifei Li and Mike Lei in 2012, Mobvoi is a Chinese AI company with independently developed technologies in Chinese language speech recognition, natural language processing and vertical mobile search. The mission of the company is to define next generation of human-machine interaction through consumer products.

The company hit the headlines last year when Google made an undisclosed investment in Mobvoi taking its total investment to US$75 million to date. Mobvoi has developed a Chinese language speech recognition and search app, a smartwatch operating system, and a smartwatch called Ticwatch.

Also Read: Artificial Intelligence is neither artificial nor intelligent

2. Arya.ai

This startup was established in 2013 by IIT Bombay researchers Vinay Kumar Sankarapu and Deekshith Marla, with the mission of making machines intelligent to assist humans in faster and effective decision-making in their professions.

Arya.ai provides advanced AI tools offered as modules in language, vision, speech and reasoning for developers to build their own AI computing systems.

In December last year, the India-based startup secured US$750,000 in pre-Series A round of funding from YourNest Angel Fund and members of VentureNursery, an angels-backed accelerator.

3. Appier

Taiwan-based Appier is best known for its range of cross-screen solutions. Cross-screen, in this case, refers to the different devices used to display advertisements — from smartphones to laptops to tablets. For example, Appier can help brands identify devices that share the same owner, and re-market products to those consumers, even if they are on a different gadget.

It also uses AI and machine learning to optimise advertising campaigns for brands. It has the ability to foretell what users will do on different devices at different hours of the day.

Last year, Appier raised US$23 million from UOB Venture Management (UOBVM), Sequoia India, JAFCO Asia, TransLink Capital and MediaTek Ventures.

Also Read: Will Artificial Intelligence take your job or make you rich?

4. Niki.ai

Backed by Unilazer Ventures, this Indian startup has developed a fully automated AI-powered chat bot that will guide you, along with recommendations, to reach the right service and then goes the last mile to make that transaction for you.

Niki understands human language in the context of products and services that a consumer would like to purchase, guides her along with recommendations to find the right service and completes the purchase with in-chat payment.

It performs end-to-end transactions on recharge, cab booking and bill payments at present, but Niki plans to add more services including bus booking, food ordering, movie ticketing, among others.

5. Mad Street Den

Founded by husband-wife duo Ashwini Asokan and Anand Chandrasekaran in 2014, Mad Street Den is a cloud-based computer vision and AI platform powering object recognition, gaze tracking, emotion-expression detection, head and facial gestures and 3D facial reconstruction.

The India-based startup has introduced MADstack — the artificial intelligence platform that helps you find the closest match to what you want on an e-commerce site after you input the picture.

In early 2015, Mad Street Den raised US$1.5 million in seed funding from Exfinity Fund and GrowX Ventures.

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