Singapore-based creative AI company Pencil announced that it has secured US$1.1 million (S$ 1.5 million) seed funding led by Singapore and US-based VC Wavemaker Partners along with SGInnovate and Entrepreneur First.
It also launched its first enterprise product called Studio, a creative platform for advertisers.
Investor-advisors for this seed round include NUS Associate Professor Min-Yen Kan and members of Xoogler Angels, a leading angel network of Google executives in Southeast Asia.
The money will be used on Studio and company expansion.
The company said that the funding will be used to hiring engineering and customer success talent, grow proprietary datasets, and extend patent-pending technology.
Studio seeks to take advantage of recent advancements in AI to enable creative and media teams to generate personalised advertising content, both language and visuals with more speed and scale.
Pencil said that Studio’s technology works by first using computational power to experiment, then AI pattern detection proceeds to spot the best ideas. This approach ensures divergence and surprise in creative outputs, while at the same time also applying historical learnings to improve campaign performance, provides predictive feedback to users that suggests whether generated content is likely to be effective, differentiated, and “on brand”.
Generating AI content using Studio is collaborative, with the human user firmly in control. It lets creatives brief the platform and then review generated content, providing feedback in the form of approvals or edits which in turn train and refine the AI.
Pencil claims that its mission is to address the problem with advertising today, in which many creative teams get overwhelmed by the volume of content that modern digital advertising requires, resulting in the inability to focus on ideas which reach consumers creatively and effectively.
“The number one pain point of marketing teams is increasing their ROI. Almost every solution in the market proposes doing so through greater targeting or better customer profiling. But these approaches are fundamentally limited by the amount of content, be it visuals or text, that one can humanly produce. Pencil takes a new and complementary approach, allowing teams to generate and distribute personalised content at scale using AI,” said Paul Santos, Managing Partner of Wavemaker Partners.