ABEJA Secures 4.25 Billion Yen to Accelerate AI Expansion
Investment to Help Spur ABEJA’s International Growth
ABEJA, Inc. (“ABEJA”), an Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and deep learning technology company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, announced that it has raised a 4.25 billion yen (est. USD 38 million) series C investment to accelerate development of its AI platform business.
In this round, the following nine investors participated:
- Innovation Network Corporation of Japan
- NVIDIA Corporation
- PNB-INSPiRE Ethical Fund 1 Investment Business Limited Liability Partnership
- Daikin Industries, Ltd.
- Japan Post Capital Co., Ltd.
- Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd.
- SBI AI & Blockchain LPS (operated by SBI Investment Co., Ltd.)
- TBS Innovation Partners 2 Investment Partnership (operated by Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings, Inc.)
- Topcon Corporation
Since establishment in 2012, ABEJA has developed its expertise in AI/ deep learning technologies. Leveraging its ample experience in the implementation of AI in business, ABEJA has developed ABEJA Platform that enables clients in various industries to easily utilize deep learning to extract business insights from a variety of data.
- The funds will be used to drive ABEJA’s next phase growth, such as:
To accelerate international business expansion, such as in ASEAN countries and the U.S. by building a global-level diversified AI Operating System*1 on ABEJA Platform*2
- To enhance ABEJA Insight, an industry-specific SaaS (Software as a Service) that is currently used by retailers-distributors, manufacturers and infrastructure business operators
- To expand the team, research & development efforts and improve intellectual property management, particularly in the deep learning field
*1: “AI Operating System” refers to an operating system in which the environment for AI, particularly deep learning application and management, is efficiently and globally diversified. An example would be an operating system that allows the result of an inference conducted in a given foreign country to be processed in the data center environment of that country, while omitting an inefficient process of additionally uploading the result in the environment of a data center located in Japan.
*2: “ABEJA Platform” signifies an AI platform that comprehensively provides a pipeline necessary for the continual performance of an AI integration. This platform allows the user to employ the infrastructure and peripheral systems required for processes in five operational cycles in the use of AI and, in particular, deep learning. These processes are: 1) data gathering; 2) storage/ annotation; 3) training; 4) deployment; and 5) inference/ re-training.
Utilizing the funds, ABEJA will pursue long-term growth in the field of AI, particularly deep learning, and contribute to innovation in a wide range of industry and settings around the world.
Comments from the investors:
Jeff Herbst, Vice President of Business Development at NVIDIA and Head of NVIDIA GPU Ventures
“Our additional investment in ABEJA confirms our confidence in the company’s strategy to develop one of the world’s most advanced platforms for deep learning. Harnessing the power of NVIDIA GPUs, ABEJA has already proven their ability to deliver mission critical deep learning solutions to a broad cross section of customers in a variety of industries. We believe their platform will continue to attract new customers and gain traction in Japan and elsewhere.”
Mikihide Katsumata, President and COO, Member of the Board at Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ)
“As a world forerunner, ABEJA provides platform services that support customers’ AI commercialization efforts, helping automate and streamline operations in various industries, including retail and distribution sectors. We wish to see ABEJA perform at an even higher rate of success in the coming years, not only in Japan, but also in the global market.”
Yusuke Matsumoto, Deputy General Manager in Investment Department of SBI Investment Co., Ltd.
“In January 2018, SBI Investment Co., Ltd. (“SBI Investment”) established the SBI AI & Blockchain LPS and initiated investment activities. This fund actively invests in promising startup companies both inside and outside Japan in fields attracting global attention such as AI, blockchain, FinTech, and IoT, robotics, and the sharing economies that are closely related to these technologies. Since its founding, ABEJA has worked on developing AI (and deep learning, in particular), and has created practical knowledge that can be applied to various industries. It was in recognition of ABEJA’s high operational level that SBI Investment decided to invest as well. With this investment opportunity, we intend to promote various initiatives mainly in the FinTech field, in particular, by combining ABEJA’s know-how with the business platform and customer networks held by other fund investors and the SBI Group.”
Masanori Togawa, President and CEO of Daikin Industries, Ltd.
“Having collaborated with ABEJA to improve operations and streamline projects by tapping into deep learning, Daikin Industries, Ltd. (“Daikin”) has been achieving impressive results. Using AI technology brings a potentially significant change to the air conditioning sector’s existing business model. In our view, this is one of the fields in which Daikin should work hard for future growth. We are convinced that the capital contribution in question will enable Daikin and ABEJA to bolster their collaborative relationship and create new value by devising solutions for air conditioning that leverage AI.”
Kazushige Inoue, Representative Partner of TBS Innovation Partners 2 Investment Partnership
“Having experienced a period of change in recent years, the broadcasting industry finds it increasingly necessary to streamline its operations for program production, among other things. Our goal is to build innovative systems for the broadcasting industry by tapping into ABEJA’s technologies, which display industry strength in both video and image recognition.”
Satoshi Hirano, Representative Director, President & CEO of Topcon Corporation
“Engaging in the IT solution business is essential in order for Topcon Corporation to achieve strategic growth in the eye care area; therefore, we will continue to collaborate with ABEJA, Inc., especially through the use of its AI platform. By subscribing to ABEJA’s third-party share allotment, we wish to deepen our collaborative relationship around technology development.”
Tetsuya Senda, President of Japan Post Capital Co., Ltd.
“With the world poised for AI technology advancement, it is our hope that Japan’s technology development will have an important role, and specifically that ABEJA’s AI platform development will contribute significantly to this process. For its part, the Japan Post Group will consider generating innovation by tapping into ABEJA’s technologies.”
Hiroshi Otsuka, President and CEO of Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd.
“Musashi Seimitsu Industry Co., Ltd. (“Musashi Seimitsu”) and ABEJA have engaged in joint development around deep learning-based automation of bevel gear appearance inspections. By taking the opportunity of the capital contribution in question, we will further bolster our partnership with ABEJA. We are convinced that the two companies will succeed in creating a joint creative edge platform that enables manufacturing sites to generate innovation.”
ABEJA is a start-up company that promotes business innovation in varied industries and situations with deep learning technology that enables to automatically extract attributes from big data. Since establishment in 2012, ABEJA has developed deep learning technologies in-house, conducting collaborative research with AI-specialists across Japan. Using ABEJA Platform, ABEJA has worked with Daikin Industries, Musashi Seimitsu, among other manufacturers. Currently, over 100 corporate clients have used ABEJA’s solutions in real business scenes. As of May, 2018, ABEJA has implemented ABEJA Insights to more than 70 corporate enterprises and in 480 stores that include leading Japanese retailers and distributors such as PARCO Co., Ltd. and ICI Ishii-sports Inc. Having established a local subsidiary in Singapore in March 2017, ABEJA continues to expand its operations globally, focusing especially on ASEAN countries.
Company name: ABEJA, Inc.
Representative: Yousuke Okada, Representative Director, CEO & CTO
Headquarters: NBF Platinum Tower, 1-17-3, Shirokane, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Paid-in capital: 5,399,974,043 yen (including capital reserve)