Research firm CB Insights recently selected the “AI 100,” a list of the 100 most promising artificial intelligence startups globally at the A-ha! conference held in San Francisco Dec. 12. Appier featured on this prestigious list, sourced from 2,000-plus applications, for the second time. It is one of the few Taiwan-based AI companies on the list.
(Editor's note: another AI startup Deep Sentinel made it on to AI 100 list this year. Deep Sentinel was founded by American serial entrepreneur David Selinger and Taiwanese founder Winston Chen. The company is based in Pleasanton, California with a R&D office in Taiwan.)
Last August, Appier announced it had received Series C investment of US$33 million from a consortium including Japan’s SoftBank and Line, Korea’s Naver, Singapore’s EDBI, and Hong Kong’s AMTD Group. Appier has now received overall investment of US$82 million.
Appier is a technology company which aims to provide artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to help enterprises solve their most challenging business problems. Founded in 2012, Appier serves around 1,000 global brands and agencies from offices in 14 markets across Asia: Taipei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Osaka, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Hong Kong, Mumbai, New Delhi, Jakarta, Seoul, and Bangkok.
Appier co-founder and CEO Chih-Han Yu said in a report that the company's Series C would be used to grow its engineering and research and development teams in countries outside of Taiwan, notably Singapore.
Appier – Happier through Artificial Intelligence Applications
Appier’s founders, Chih-Han Yu, Winnie Lee, and Joe Su named the company “Appier” inspired by their mission to make people’s lives better and happier through artificial intelligence apps. It was the first Taiwan-based company to have received investments from Sequoia Capital, an early-stage investor in some of the world’s most successful tech startups, including Instagram and PayPal and Yahoo!.
Dr Hsuan-tien Lin, Chief Data Scientist, Appier, a former associate professor at National Taiwan University and co-author of the Amazon bestseller Learning From Data, first joined the team in February 2016. Dr Lin, who led the AI development on Aixon, Appier's enterprise solution, said in a statement that the focus of AI research at Appier is making goals easier to accomplish. "We should design AI components to make something easy to use," he said.
Lin wrote in a recent blog post that AI has already begun to make sense out of business data, providing insights and predictions to enhance marketing and improve business performance.
At Appier, the AI-based Aixon platform helps businesses predict consumer behavior, and the use cases are growing. Vendors will be able to showcase successes that reflect both quantitative and qualitative benefits for AI technology, while more businesses will become comfortable adopting AI systems and relying on their recommendations as they experience positive results for themselves.
Appier’s CrossX Programmatic Platform
Appier’s CrossX Programmatic Platform uses AI to identify and buy the best audience for your advertising campaign using AI algorithms that predict the cross-screen (hence the name CrossX) behavior of users minute by minute. The platform draws on the extensive knowledge of user behavior and device ownership CrossX AI has compiled to decide what audiences to target, at what time of day, and on what screen.
The CrossX Programmatic Platform combines audience targeting, inventory, and bidding and optimization infrastructure.
For instance, a game company can use Appier's CrossX programmatic platform to better approach high value users who are most likely to download or make in-app purchases. One of the functions of ’CrossX application install’ is to specify and reach the most valuable audience that will most likely download and subsequently use the game.
Another function called ‘Revenue Optimization’ means optimizing your campaign to target users who are most likely to charge and register in the game application in a bid to do sales promotions while playing the game.
Appier’s Aixon Platform
Another exciting area that the company has been exploring is Aixon, a data intelligence platform that allows marketers at a variety of enterprises to discover new customers, enrich their understanding of their customer base, and make predictions using AI.
Launched last July in Japan, Applier's Aixon platform ─ powered by proprietary deep learning and machine learning technologies ─ offers a unique solution that bridges the gap between your data and decision-making. The technology empowers every business to use AI to turn data into insights, starting with marketers who want to make sense of the mountain of CRM, site and app data and turn it into audience engagement, growth, and monetization.
According to a blog post from the company's website, some examples of ways that enterprises can use Aixon include:
1.A news publisher looking to increase their online subscriptions by identifying likely subscribers online.
2.A marketer analyzing data to discover what topics their users are interested in and integrating these insights into their CRM system to optimize their content strategy.
3.An e-commerce merchant driving more online sales or conversions by analyzing site data to predict which users are most likely to make online purchases.
4.A mobile app developer identifying users at risk of uninstalling their app so they can plan and implement re-engagement measures.
5.An online publisher increasing the value of their inventory by providing more granular analyses of site audiences to potential advertisers.
Just last year, LIFULL Co., Japan's largest real estate and housing information services, announced that it would be implementing Aixon, Appier's AI-based data intelligence platform, to enhance its online marketing and new business development.
Appier's Aixon sifts through large volumes of data and attribute mobile device behavior across different devices to a single user, and as a result, the platform produces marketing intelligence which can be used for ad targeting, marketing and customer relationship management (CRM), as well as data intelligence for business insights and predictions.
“Most of the customers have the same problem – fragmented data without a holistic view of the customer. They have data silos, with no efficient way to put it together, or don’t know how to find the necessary data,” said Magic Tu, vice-president of product management at Appier in an interview.
Tu pointed out that aggregating datasets is not the hardest part. "This is the hardest part – to derive meaningful insights in order to serve innovative use cases," Tu added.
"How do we provide unique and meaningful insights to businesses? Say, for example, to better understand if possible correlations exist between two disparate data sets. Even with great data and tools, we still want to develop a unique perspective on data that are meaningful to us. We want to explore how organizations can convert data into meaningful business decisions. And that's a big challenge," said Tu.
Appier has grown fast since its establishment in 2012. It now has over 200 employees spread across 14 offices in Asia, almost one in every major city. Appier is constantly on the lookout for AI talent and has set up a scholarship for students of AI (in Chinese) with multiple Taiwanese universities in hopes of nurturing future AI engineers and specialists.