GGV Capital anchors $6m funding in Singapore AI firm Wiz.ai

Photo: REUTERS/Beawiharta

Wiz.ai, the Singapore-based AI company that has developed a conversational talkbot platform, has secured $6 million in its pre-Series A funding round led by global venture investor GGV Capital, according to an announcement.

The Singapore startup said the funding round, which was also participated by Wavemaker Partners, ZWC Partner, Insignia Ventures, and Orion Fund managed by K3 Ventures, will help finance the expansion of its product offerings and its teams in Southeast Asia.

Established in 2019, Wiz.ai said it has deployed its proprietary conversational AI-based talkbot platform into large corporations throughout Southeast Asia. It has offices in Singapore, China, and Jakarta housing a team of scientists, researchers, linguists, and dialogue designers.

The AI chatbot technology, which provides personalised inbound and outbound calls in English and other languages, like Bahasa, encourages customers to convey more in conversations. At the same time, the back-end sifts through the data in real-time and stores insights from the conversations.

“Through improved AI chatbot technologies, conversational AI will revolutionize call centre functions and improve customer engagements cost-effectively,” said Jennifer Zhang, Wiz.ai’s co-founder and CEO.

Zhang is also the co-founder of PlusYoou, a US-China startup community in Southern California. Prior to Wiz.ai, she was in venture capital for 7 years, managing two funds in Beijing and Los Angeles.

The startup said it has secured a marquee client base of regional MNCs operating in various sectors, including healthcare, insurance, banking, telecommunications, e-commerce, and payments.

Paul Santos, managing partner at Wavemaker Partners, said Wiz.ai’s talkbot is not just an automated mouth. It also has the capabilities to listen and understand to address the needs of customers.

“We listened to their demos, and they blew us away with how human-like they (talkbots) were,” Santos said.

The investment comes as research and advisory firm Gartner Inc said 25 per cent of customer service and support operations will integrate chatbot technology across engagement channels this year, up from less than 2 per cent in 2017.

The 2018 Gartner report added that organisations saw a reduction of up to 70 per cent in call, chat, email inquiries after implementing a chatbot. They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 percent saving per voice engagement.

Recently, Next100, a $10-million early-stage-focused fund initiated by Vietnam technology company NextTech Group of Technopreneurs, invested $500,000 in Chatbot Vietnam JSC, which owns Bot Ban Hang, a platform that connects advertisers and sellers, according to an announcement.

Established in 2017, Chatbot Vietnam JSC is one of the first Vietnam’s chatbot platforms, providing solutions for businesses and online businesses on OTT platforms like Messenger, Zalo, Whatsapp.

GGV Capital, the lead investor in Wiz.ai’s latest funding round, has been actively investing in Southeast Asia and India. It was an early investor in Southeast Asia’s largest consumer internet company Grab that today commands a valuation of over $14 billion.

Its portfolio also includes house-sharing platform Airbnb, China’s ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing, messaging app Slack and Beijing Bytedance, owner of popular short video app Tik Tok.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.