KDB, IMM Investment, Envester, and Noh & Partners participated in the investment round as new investors. Existing investors POSCO Technology Investment, L&S Venture Investment, and KDB Capital also participated, including some old shares. Deep Brain AI was recognized for its corporate value of about 200 billion won.
Deep Brain AI is a company that has global technology for interactive artificial intelligence using deep learning-based video synthesis and voice synthesis source technology.
Deep Brain AI has recently attracted attention from the industry by introducing an AI human solution that creates virtual humans capable of real-time two-way communication through deep learning artificial intelligence technology. This investment also demonstrated companies' marketability and technological innovation in various fields by implementing AI bank employees, AI tutor, AI announcer, and AI commerce as actual services using AI human technology.
Deep Brain AI plans to actively utilize this investment in the R&D field to advance AI human technology and plans to strengthen corporate competitiveness by spurring the massive recruitment of developers.
Deep Brain AI will also actively seek additional overseas investors during the second half of this year. Currently, it has local branches in Beijing, Shanghai, and California in the U.S. to form active business relations with various foreign companies, and recently signed AI announcer technology supply contracts with Qinghai TV and Beijing Broadcasting Station in China.
We have successfully completed the Series B investment round based on AI technology recognized not only in Korea but also in the world, said Jang Se-young, CEO of Deepbrain AI. "We will actively focus on expanding our business and developing new technologies."
Deepbrain AI (formerly Moneybrain), a conversational AI startup based in Seoul, South Korea, has raised $44 million in a series B round led by Korea Development Bank at a post-money valuation of $180 million. The capital will be used to expand the company’s customer base and operations globally, CEO Eric Jang said in a statement, with a particular emphasis on the U.S.
Deepbrain provides a range of AI-powered customer service products, but its focus is on “synthetic humans,” or human-like avatars that respond to natural language questions. Because the pandemic makes online meetups a regular occurrence, the concept of “virtual people” is gaining steam. Startups including Soul Machines, Brud, Wave, Samsung-backed STAR Labs, the AI Foundation, and Deepbrain aim to will a sort of “metaverse” into existence by pursuing AI techniques that can mimic the experience of speaking with a human being (for example, a support agent).
Founded in 2016, Deepbrain offers video and speech synthesis and chatbot solutions to 22 enterprise customers including MBN, Metro News, and LG HelloVision as well as KB Kookmin Bank and education service provider Kyowon. Using a combination of AI technologies, Deepbrain creates what it calls “AI humans,” or avatars that can respond to questions in a person’s voice.
To create an “AI human,” Deepbrain captures video of a human model in a studio and trains a machine learning system. The model is given a script to read, enabling the system to generate an avatar of the model with synchronized, true-to-life lip, mouth, and head movements.
Jang points out that Deepbrain’s technology can improve virtual experiences while minimizing the need for costly video production. For example, the company is working with an education provider to build “AI human” tutors that will give lectures and answer students’ questions. Separately, Deepbrain says it’s collaborating with a financial organization to create “AI bankers” that can direct customers to the right human bank personnel, potentially reducing employees’ workloads.
DeepBrain’s annual recurring revenue was $2.5 million in 2020. This year, it expects that number to double to $5 million.
“[Our investors] understand the opportunity we have to enhance the customer experience and lead the growing contactless industry brought on by the pandemic,” Jang said in a press release. “This new investment is validation of our technology, strong business opportunity, and customer traction in key customer service-driven industries.”
Some experts have expressed concern that tools like these could be used to create deepfakes, or AI-generated videos that take a person in an existing video and replace them with someone else’s likeness. The fear is that these fakes might be used to do things like sway opinion during an election or implicate a person in a crime. Deepfakes have already been abused to generate pornographic material of actors and defraud a major energy producer.
Deepbrain doesn’t make clear what protections it has in place to prevent abuse. We’ve reached out to the company for comment.
Beyond Korea Development Bank, Deepbrain counts as investors IDG Capital China, CH & Partners, Donghun Investment, L&S Venture Capital, and Posco Tech Investment. The series B brings the 100-employee company’s total raised to $52 million to date.
The 'social distancing' times brought forth by COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way our society functions, and the emergence of contact-free industries poses high expected value for future growth, as do technology-driven fields in this age of digital transformation. In other words, companies with high technology potential and a clear vision for growth are especially well-positioned for opportunities to quickly increase corporate value in this new stage.
Such is the case for one Born2Global Centre member MoneyBrain, an AI-based English education platform with composite videos, that officially launched an interactive AI kiosk earlier this month. Although kiosks may be commonly found around us nowadays, many still feel uneasy with their complicated procedures and limited functions. Moneybrain set out to rectify the situation with their AI kiosks that are garnering much attention in various fields, such as finance, education, broadcasting, commerce, medical care, law, and public institutions by implementing sophisticated information and consultation services that address the limits of traditional kiosks.
MoneyBrain's AI kiosks mimic real human interaction through AI technology that combines speech and image synthesis, natural language processing, speech recognition, and advanced deep learning-This makes for natural counseling and guidance as if engaging in an actual conversation. In March, MoneyBrain's kiosk-type AI counselor was supplied to the financial sector for the first time via an AI experience zone that combines KB Kookmin Bank's financial services and artificial intelligence technology.
MoneyBrain is also in continued discussions for strategic alliances on AI-hosting with Veritone, a NASDAQ-listed company, in the field of 'AI Human' that implements interactive AI features. They are also in talks with US e-commerce sellers in suggesting AI-commerce to automate the production of their promotional videos.
This year, more than 300 South Korean firms were showcased in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021, according to the organizer Consumer Technology Association. This is the second highest number after the United States, which has sent more than 560 participants.
The world’s largest tech expo, traditionally held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, took place online this year from January 11 to 14 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
There was also a noticeable presence of the South Korean entrepreneurial scene, with more than 100 startups and SMEs displaying their innovations and services. A dedicated K-Startup pavilion had been virtually set up by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, ranging in 11 different technology categories, including 5G and IoT (Internet of Things), advertising, entertainment, contents, automobiles, blockchain, health, homecare, video entertainment, product design and manufacturing, robots and machine intelligence, and sports.
Born2Global Centre has been at the forefront of supporting innovative technology, such as the ones displayed by the six member startups featured on the global stage: Designovel, Littleone, MONEYBRAIN, Nota, ONESOFTDIGM, and THE CODER.
An overview of the Born2Global Centre member startups in CES 2021: Designovel is a data-based fashion technology company; Littleone develops IoT-based baby/infant products and healthcare platforms; MONEYBRAIN offers an AI-based English education service that utilizes composite videos; Nota develops AI-model compression technologies based on deep learning; ONESOFTDIGM provides individualized health management services that make use of big data; THE CODER develops IoT platforms through digital coding.