[Taipei, September 26, 2022] Aiello Inc.(Aiello), a leading Natural Language Processing and Voice AI startup, announced it has raised US$5.8M in a Series Pre-A+ funding round led by two major institutional investors, JAFCO Asia and Wistron Corporation. The existing investor Cornerstone Ventures also participated in the round. Aiello has raised a total of over US$10 million in funding since its inception four years ago.
The company’s flagship product, Aiello Voice Assistant (AVA), is the most advanced NLU-based solution dedicated to hospitality. This year, the number of AVA equipped guest rooms is expected to increase an impressive 2.5x compared to 2021. Over the past six months, Aiello has won multiple international hotel contracts in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, and several leading hotel brands recently signed corporate level service contracts with the company. The new funds will be used to further accelerate customer acquisition, expand the solution to international markets, and launch new products.
“Our data shows that AVA has reduced front desk workloads in hotels where it is deployed by approximately 30%. For a hotel with 200 rooms, that represents more than 300 hours of labor time in 6 months”, says Vic Shen, founder, and CEO of Aiello.
“According to our findings, our Aiello Voice Assistant also helps hotels increase their social media exposure by up to 10 times, largely thanks to guests sharing their experiences.” At the same time, AVA drives additional revenue for hotels, increases the proportion of direct bookings, and encourages hotel guest loyalty. It analyzes the needs and usage behaviors of guests during their stay and extracts data which can be used to improve hotel management.
Founded in January 2019, with a founding team from Google, Qualcomm, and HTC, Aiello’s expertise relies on its in-house Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) models. Currently the startup’s AI-solutions process more than 900,000 speech, and text interactions per month in Chinese, English, Thai, and Japanese.
Aiello closed its Pre-A round last year (2021) by co-lead investor Chunghwa PCHome Fund No.1 (a joint venture-capital fund established by Chunghwa Telecom Group (TWS 2412) and PCHOME Online Inc. (TWS 8044)) managed by Cornerstone Ventures, Zylux Acoustic Corporation, and ColoplNext, a CVC from well-known Japanese listed gaming company Colopl. Notably, this was ColoplNext’s first investment into an AI start-up based in Taiwan.
“We are excited to have JAFCO Asia and Wistron to join as Aiello investors”, Vic says. “We believe JAFCO and Wistron’s strong network and knowledge can bring Aiello to great heights. The new funds will be used to accelerate business in international markets, especially in Japan and Thailand, where we see a good traction. We also plan to boost Research & Development and launch a new product, a ‘Conversation Intelligence Platform’ that aim at improving corporate sales and meeting efficiency. This platform, which focuses on AI-driven Voice & Audio analysis and collaboration, is expected to be launched by the end of this year.”
JAFCO Asia is a group of JAFCO Group Co., Ltd. (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 8595), Japan’s leading venture capital firm. John Lin, Managing Director of JAFCO Asia Taiwan, remarks, “Aiello is one of the few AI companies in Asia with a scalable business model. In the post-pandemic era, the labor shortage and digital transformation of enterprises are visible trends. We expect that the demand for artificial intelligence and intelligent voice in enterprises will be higher and higher, and Aiello is bound to play an important role. “
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