Supahands, a Malaysia-based startup that provides machine learning companies with training data at scale by connecting them to the human-machine system, announced that it has secured an undisclosed amount of Series A funding led by social venture capital firm Patamar Capital along with Cradle Seed Ventures.
Supahands said that this new capital injection will be used for its continued expansion in Asia Pacific (APAC) and enablement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the region.
“Supahands has taken an integral part of the AI industry’s growth spurt as the solution to data preparation for machine learning, especially in this region that has seen heavy investment in AI. This is a very exciting time for us as we grow 10X internally and externally as well,” said Mark Koh, CEO, and Co-Founder of Supahands.
There’s a need for huge volumes of high-quality data for machine learning models in order for them to learn what they’re supposed to do – from driving a car to understanding voice commands. The data preparation process is human-labour intensive and often takes up the bulk of an AI Engineer or Data Scientist’s time, which is where Supahands comes in with tools and services to assist with data preparation and labelling.
According to a report by Cognilytica, the market for third-party data labelling solutions was at US$150 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to over US$1billion by 2023. With what Supahands has to offer, the company also managed to make an impact by providing a supplemental income stream to thousands in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Along with the funding news, Supahands also announces the addition of two new board members – Shuyin Tang, a Partner at Patamar Capital, and Nor Azah Razali, a Senior Advisor and former Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. This makes Supahands’ leadership team is majority female.
Besides the newly formed board, Supahands announces new additions to their Board of Advisors – Dr Chan Chee Seng, Associate Professor at University Malaya’s Department of Artificial Intelligence, Bruno Gagliardo, PhD, Global Director of Data Analytics at iflix, Pedro Sttau, Chief of Information at iCar Asia and Izwan Ismail, an Expert Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company. According to COO and Co-founder Susian Koh, their collective expertise would be of great support to Supahands’ expansion plans and deeper involvement in the AI industry.
This investment by Patamar Capital into Supahands came out right after the investment in Women Fund, a fund for women-led businesses launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Australian Government’s Investing in Women Initiative.
The Malaysian-born tech company’s previous round of fundraising includes investments from 500 Startups, Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, as well as Cradle Seed Ventures.