Expedock, a Philippine-headquartered AI-based outsourcing services provider for logistics and freight providers, has raised $1.15 million in its pre-seed funding led by Tencent Holdings co-founder Liqing Zeng.
Local venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures, Bain Capital, FourthRealm, PearVC, and angel investors have also participated in the funding round for the startup that uses AI to turn pre-shipment data – such as bills of lading, airway bills, invoices, packing lists, etc. – into structured data.
“Our proprietary document understanding technology uses computer vision and natural language processing to extract data better than anything else in the market for documents without a template,” Expedock CEO King Alandy Dy said.
The startup was founded by Stanford University graduates Dy and Rui Aguiar, who together have experience across tech giants like Facebook, Airbnb, Shopee, Stripe, and Intuit. The third co-founder Jeff Tan brings to the table his network and experience coming from his family’s business as a global forwarder in the Philippines.
Aguiar is a multi-time published AI researcher, working with Andrew Ng, the co-founder of Google Brain. Dy did AI research as a scholar at Stanford University. Tan, on the other hand, was awarded as a Global Trailblazer by the Harvard Social Innovation Collaborative and worked at a freight forwarder based in Manila and Shanghai.
The startup operates in the Philippine logistics industry that is expected to become a $21-billion market by 2023, according to a report by real estate consultancy firm The Lobien Real Group, thanks to the country’s strategic location.
The freight forwarding sector is also expected to continue to dominate the local logistics market, the report added.
“Powered by their AI tech, Expedock is the next-generation data flow infrastructure for the global supply chain to unlock a hundred billion dollar market.”, says Keyan Li, US lead of Decent Capital, one of the investors in the pre-seed funding.
The lead investor, Liqing Zeng, co-founded Tencent Holdings, the owner of WeChat and PUBG, and investor in Reddit, GoJek, and Shopee. He also founded angel investment firm Decent Capital.
The pre-seed funding round comes amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced several startups to fold or hold fundraising activities.
“We were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of offers despite our fundraise happening during the peak of COVID,” Dy told DealStreetAsia.