SG’s Vickers Venture leads $20m funding in US-based AI platform Chooch

Human interaction with artificial intelligence | Photo: Bloomberg

Vickers Venture Partners, a Singapore-based venture capital firm, has led the $20-million Series A funding in Chooch AI, an autonomous artificial intelligence (AI) training platform for visual recognition, according to an announcement.

US-based Chooch AI said the funding round was also participated by 212, Streamlined Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group, Waterman Ventures, and several others. The startup will use the fresh funds to build out its engineering and data scientist teams and create a global sales force.

Vickers Venture is a return investor in Chooch AI, having led the startup’s $2.8 million seed funding in April 2019.

The San Francisco-based startup provides technology for real-time facial recognition and object recognition to media, advertising, banking, medical and security industries.

Unlike single-purpose computer vision systems, Chooch AI said it can rapidly ingest and process visual data from any spectrum, generating AI models in hours that can detect objects, actions, processes, coordinates, states, and more.

One of its clients is SIPA USA, a photo agency from the US. SIPA uses Chooch to tag photos in real time on the Oscar red carpet, sporting events, and fashion runways. The technology goes beyond recognising faces in real time – it is also able to pick up fashion details that potentially add value to these images.

“AI startups and established players in artificial intelligence often focus on vertical applications. Chooch has a bigger vision, a horizontal AI platform that provides flexible solutions for the common demands of many companies, regardless of industry,” said Vickers Venture Partners founder and chairman Finian Tan.

In March, the Singapore-based venture capital firm raised $200 million for its $500 million sixth fund to invest in deep tech startups in Asia and globally.

The vehicle is one of Southeast Asia’s largest VC funds to date and is backed by Korea Venture Investment Corporation, pension funds from Switzerland, Germany and the US, and global family offices.

The venture firm has given itself 13 months to raise the remaining $300 million but acknowledged it is difficult to tell whether it can still do so within the timeframe as VC funds around the world are experiencing the chills of a fundraising winter made more severe by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.