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Though the artificial intelligence (AI) scene in Singapore is still at quite an emerging stage, I’ve observed some notable projects and startups in recent months. With an investor’s perspective, I’m trying to gain a more holistic understanding of AI startups based in Singapore.

Here are my broad observations:

  1. Ambiguity around the definition of AI is similar to what the fintech industry went through during the nascent stages of its development and transformation. As a result, companies pick and choose how they want to position themselves. For example, one such company chooses to be called a fintech company even though they offer AI solutions.
  2. Fintech companies are high adopters of AI (and usually have it in their stage 2 or 3 development plans). At LATTICE80, where only fintech startups gather, increasing numbers of them are trying or considering to integrate AI into their products and services. Since the finance industry has been accumulating refined data of customers and transactions and experiencing AI-like technology via quant trading, they are quite open to it.
  3. Many Big Data or Analytics companies are positioning themselves as AI companies. Some of them are trying to adapt to AI components, while others are just positioning themselves as AI companies. Of course, these phenomena represent how much AI is trending at present. Investors should look into startups calling themselves “AI related” or “AI focused”.
  4. Many AI startups are adopting an “AI-as-a-Service” model to avoid limiting themselves to any one industry or sector, unclear where customer demand will come from over the short to mid term.
  5. Lack of talent for AI has become a reality. It is not easy to find the right engineers with relevant experience for AI projects. I think that more than 3-5 years will be needed to meet the growing demand from the industry.

Below are some that have attracted my interest.

AI startups based in Singapore (in no particular order below):

Taiger

  • Founders’ name: Sinuhe Arroyo
  • Funding info: US$5.8 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Applied artificial intelligence (AI) solutions
  • Goals: To push Singapore’s AI capabilities forward in line with the country’s “Smart Nation” initiative

JobTech

  • Founders’ name: Charlotte Lim
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Big Data analytics
  • Goals: To provide complete and accurate (duplicate job posts are detected and sifted out by JobTech’s proprietary natural language and text analytics technology) visibility of online jobs market around the world.

Active.ai

  • Founders’ name: Ravi Shankar
  • Funding info: US$3.5 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Artificial intelligence (AI) for Conversational banking services
  • Goals: Help banks redefine their digital strategy for the future, bringing in automation and insightful customer engagement.

Nugit

  • Founders’ name: Dave Sanderson
  • Funding info: US$5.2 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Business intelligence
  • Goals: Transforms business data into decision ready reports which are easy for people to understand and share.

Vi Dimensions

  • Founders’ name: Raymond Looi
  • Funding info: US$1.5 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Big Data and Machine Learning in surveillance
  • Goals: A better way to mine thousands of surveillance cameras for information autonomously in real-time.

Discuss here: Is Artificial Intelligence an existential risk to humanity?

Visenze

  • Founders’ name: Oliver Tan
  • Funding info: US$14 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Artificial Intelligence in visual search and image recognition.
  • Goals: Simplify the visual web through artificial intelligence.

CashShield

  • Founders’ name: Wee Chian (Justin) Lie
  • Funding info: US$5.5 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Fraud Detection, Security, Payments
  • Goals: Enterprise risk management company that helps companies manage their risks from fraudulent payments and hostile accounts.

Tookitaki

  • Founders’ name: Abhishek Chaterjee
  • Funding info: US$1.23 million
  • Key business idea/sector: Machine Learning, Finance, FinTech
  • Goals: Tookitaki provides a ML platform to build and optimise work flows for Financial Institutions primarily in the AML and Operations space.

BluePool

  • Founders’ name: Samir Rath
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: Machine Intelligence, Capital Markets
  • Goals: Revenue generating Signals for the Capital Markets Industry.

Jumper.AI

  • Founders’ name: Yash Kotak & Nyha Shree
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: Social Media Marketing, Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology
  • Goals: Commerce enabler that helps entrepreneurs to sell their products instantly on social media with comments.

Advance AI

  • Founders’ name: Xiaoguang Wang (founder), Jefferson Chen (CEO), Chun Dong Chau (Chief Scientific Officer)
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: Consumer credit, credit scoring, anti-fraud
  • Solutions: Face & Voice Recognition, Identity checks, call data analysis capabilities
  • Goals: Seamless (secure) consumer credit loans by banks to individuals

Tuple Technologies

  • Founders’ name: Santhosh Nagaiah (Co-founder & CMO), Anmol Mohan (Co-founder and CEO), Neha Singh (Co-founder & COO), Raymond Lim (Co-founder & CCO)
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: consumer behaviour AI for e-commerce amongst others.
  • Solutions: Predictive AI (vs. Descriptive AI)
  • Goals: Data and Analytics AI company with predictive analysis on consumer behavior (e-commerce).

Sentient.io

  • Founders’ name: Christopher Yeo
  • Funding info: Undisclosed
  • Key business idea/sector: Digital Assistants, Financial Compliance, Smart Farming
  • Goals: AI as a service (Aaas) and serve sophisticated solutions across diverse industries.

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