Taiger, an AI solutions startup founded in Madrid but based in Singapore, has raised S$8 million (US$5.9 million) in a Series A round led by Tembusu ICT Fund I and SGInnovate.

Tembusu ICT Fund I is one of the six funds selected by the National Research Foundation of Singapore (NRF) as part of the Early Stage Venture Fund II scheme. SGInnovate is a deep-tech focused collaboration centre, also operating under the NRF.

Taiger will use the newly-raised financing to pump up its sales and R&D efforts and expands its presence worldwide. Currently, it has branches in Singapore, Spain, US, UK, and Switzerland.

“Taiger’s vision is very much aligned with Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiative. We’re honored to be recently awarded the accreditation status by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) and partnering them to contribute to Singapore’s digital transformation,” said Dr. Sinuhe Arroyo, in an official press statement.

Founded in 2009, Taiger specialises in developing “humanistic” virtual assistants. Using natural language processing (NLP), computational semantics, and machine learning processes, its virtual assistants can interpret and process a range of complex user queries.

For example, Taiger’s iConverse is a chatbot that works with major messaging platforms including WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat or Facebook. It can process multilingual queries in English, Spanish and even Singlish (a colloquial form of English in Singapore) expressed in a conversational way.

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The Singapore government has integrated iConverse into its public housing HDB projects. iConverse is being used to answer queries on Build-to-Order (BTO) and season parking programmes.

Taiger also has iMatch, a virtual assistant that can extract, validate and interpret information from documents. Taiger said that a large European bank has automated their corporate client on-boarding process with iMatch, translating into an 85 per cent drop in cost and a reduced processing time from weeks to a matter of minutes.

The investment in Taiger by government-supported institutions is part of a broader effort by the government to boost AI innovations in the country.

At Innovfest Unbound 2017 in May this year, Minister For Communications And Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim unveiled an AI initiative called AI.SG

This programme, to be launched by the National Research Foundation (NRF), will see various government agencies, including those involved in the transport and healthcare sectors, leverage on AI to tackle key challenges facing Singapore’s society.

In addition, an R&D support programme called the NRF Fellowship and Investigatorship schemes will encourage scientists and researchers to pursue deep tech AI research such as cognitive science or computing architectures in Singapore.

Image Credit: Taiger