SoftBank-backed Taiwanese AI firm Appier bags $80m for global expansion

Appier office. Credit: Appier Group

Appier, a Taiwanese artificial intelligence firm backed by SoftBank Group Corp, has raised $80 million in a Series D funding round to accelerate its global expansion.

In an announcement Tuesday, Appier said the funding round was backed by TGVest Capital, HOPU-Arm Innovation Fund, Pavilion Capital, Insignia Ventures Partners, JAFCO Investment and UMC Capital. The financing brings its total funding to date to $162 million.

The latest capital injection will be used to hire global talent, and strengthen and scale its current AI product suite, the company said.

Appier, founded in 2012 by Chia Yung Su, Chih Han Yu, and Winnie Lee, offers an AI product aimed at helping enterprises process enormous amounts of data to identify patterns and make intelligent decisions.

“The latest investment… will help us to scale faster towards our ultimate goal of revolutionising the way enterprises adopt and leverage AI to grow, remain competitive, and manage continuous business transformation,” said Yu, who is also the company’s CEO.

Commenting on the latest investment, Teck Sien Lau, co-chairman of HOPU-Arm Innovation Fund and CEO of HOPU Investment, said Appier is “well-positioned to continue to exceed expectations and outpace the competition.”

The Taiwanese startup, which was selected as one of the top 50 companies leading AI innovation by Fortune magazine, raised $33 million in its Series C funding round in 2017 from SoftBank Group Corp, LINE Corporation, NAVER Corporation, Singapore-based EDBI, and Hong Kong-based AMTD Group.

With a topped up war chest, Appier went on to acquire Indian content marketing firm Graph for an undisclosed amount last year. The acquisition assisted Appier to build its new automated content market platform Aiqua, which was also unveiled in 2018.

In October, Appier acquired Japanese AI solutions provider Emotion Intelligence (Emin) in an all-cash deal. The company had said the addition of Emin, which uses AI to identify which customers will make a purchase and those who definitely will not, will strengthen its AI-powered product suite.

Headquartered in Taipei, Appier now has more than 400 people across 14 offices.

Temasek’s Pavilion Capital, which backed Appier’s latest funding round, also participated in an $80-million Series C funding round for Singapore-based AI and big data company Advance.AI in September. The company uses AI technology to assist banks and other businesses in e-KYC, fraud detection, and credit scoring.

Last week, Quilt.AI, another Singapore-based AI firm, raised $9 million in Series A funding led by the Nadathur Group. The firm intends to spend the money to fast track efforts to build capacity in training models on more than 100 billion images and over 200 languages and improve video recognition.

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.