TAIWAN-BASED artificial intelligence (AI) company iKala on Wednesday announced it has raised U$17 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by Wistron Digital Technology, which focuses on digital technology industries, Big Data analytics and software application-related investments. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Taiwanese electronics giant Wistron Corp.
Previous investors Singapore-listed Hotung Investment and Pacific Venture Partners also joined the round.
iKala provides AI-driven digital transformation and data-driven marketing solutions, to help enterprises increase their customer acquisition capabilities.
The fresh funding will propel iKala’s research and development investments, and finance its innovation in AI and digital technologies.
It also comes as the company is expanding into new markets such as Indonesia and Malaysia, while boosting its presence in its existing markets of Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.
The latest round takes iKala’s total funding to US$30.3 million, following its Series A round early last year.
It also marks lead investor Wistron Digital’s entry into South-east Asia.
iKala co-founder and chief executive Sega Cheng said the startup has been expanding into new markets and developing cutting-edge technology in the region’s digital transformation and commerce space.
“With this funding, we look forward to exploring new opportunities in AI commerce beyond our existing markets,” Mr Cheng said.
Wistron vice-chairman and present of new business Robert Hwang said the iKala’s AI and software capabilities will add value to the Taiwan-listed original design manufacturer’s hardware industry presence. Wistron has “heavily invested” in digital transformation, he added.
iKala board member Chien Lee-Feng noted Taiwan’s “excellent” reputation for having some of the best high-tech hardware and software talents in the region.
“With Wistron as a strategic partner, iKala can become a major driving force for transforming Taiwan into an AI industry and talent hub in Asia,” asid Dr Chien, who was Google Taiwan managing director before joining the startup earlier this year.
Shares of mainboard-listed venture capital firm Hotung Investment were trading flat at S$1.44 as at 4.06pm on Wednesday.