Indonesian B2B artificial intelligence platform KataAi – a tech startup that creates chatbots which speak the Bahasa language – has secured $3.5 million in a series A financing round led by Taiwan-based Trans-Pacific Technology Fund (TPTF) to help it roll out services in new Asian markets.
The round was joined by Indonesia’s Telkom Group’s MDI Ventures, Korean-based Access Ventures, and Convergence Ventures. VPG Asia, Red Sails Investment, and angel investor Eddy Chan also participated in the round.
Upon investment, Barry Lee, a principal of TPTF, has joined Kata.ai’s board of directors.
“Through our due diligence, we learned that the applications for AI in Indonesia’s fast growing economy could be tremendous. Kata.ai’s NLP platform allows businesses to engage with customers efficiently, especially in a chat-based culture,” says Barry Lee.
“The flexibility of Kata.ai’s technology to adopt a new language also allows for quick expansion into different countries. Leveraging TPTF’s international network and technology capabilities, we aim to expand Kata.ai’s business outside of Indonesia,” he added.
With CEO Irzan Raditya at the helm, Kata.ai claims to have generated a 30x revenue growth within a year’s time.
As reported by DEALSTREETASIA in March, Kata.Ai was looking for funding to allow its transformation from the old business model, previously known as YesBoss.
“Kata.ai will allocate the fresh capital to its research and development arm in hopes of capturing more of the Indonesian market while simultaneously extending its offerings. Kata.ai will further develop its Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology with an agenda of making it able to understand and operate in multiple other Southeast Asian languages, in addition to Bahasa Indonesia,” the company said in a statement.
The firm recently partnered with Unilever to create a chatbot in LINE named Jemma, a virtual assistant who liaises with customers on behalf of Unilever. The chatbot has currently befriended 1.4 million LINE users, and claims to have “significantly increased” the brand’s user engagement.
Average chat session lasts around four minutes, and one of the longest chat sessions lasted for two hours.
Kata.ai said there’s a total of 6 million people engaging with the firm’s chatbots within eight months. In line with this success, Kata.ai has also been able to penetrate other sectors with its chatbots. It is currently working to adapt its technology for leading businesses in the telecommunications, consulting, banking, and retail industries.
The firm recently is partnering with Accenture to build a chatbot named Veronika for Telkomsel, an AI-powered virtual assistant designed to help users top up their prepaid phone credit, purchase data packages, book appointments at the nearest GraPari store, and more. Veronika provides Telkomsel customers with convenience, as they can now avoid the hassle of going to a physical store to top up.
A study predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) will be the primary tool used in building brand awareness in five years. In seven years, AI will likely be integrated into most people’s daily tasks, and in ten years, digital assistants may be so pervasive in society that they keep employees productive all day, everyday.
In Indonesia, Kata.ai implements its AI tech into chatbots. According to the startup, the reason for this is that, culturally speaking, Indonesians prefer to chat with a company representative if they have questions or problems about a product or service.
On average, 4.2 messaging apps are installed on any given smartphone in the archipelago, where 97 percent of people use messaging apps multiple times a day.