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Appier acquires Japanese AI startup Emotion Intelligence

Business Next

Taiwan-based AI company Appierannounced that it has acquired Emotion Intelligence (Emin), a Tokyo-based AI solutions provider, for an undisclosed sum, a major move after purchasing Indian marketing automation startup Qgraph last year.

Upon announcing this deal, the startup also introduced an AI solution for e-commerce companies. Renamed AiDeal (formerly known as ZenClerk, developed by Emin), it helps clients track consumer behaviors along the path to purchase and further boost conversion rate.

Founded in 2012, Appier currently has over 300 employees and 14 offices across Asia, in Japan, India, Malaysia, and etc. Recognized by CB Insights as one of the most promising private AI companies in the world, it has raised more than $80M through three rounds of fundraising, backed by SoftBank, LINE, Silicon Valley's Sequoia Capital, and so on.

Appier, eyeing Emin's "soft power" in the market

Appier, as Emin, provides AI solutions to address the pain points for enterprises.

CEO Chih-Han Yu, though believing his team's capability of developing a solution similar to what Emin has to offer, told Business Next that what's more valuable is the experience operating the firm and solving problems for clients as well as the vision derived from it. He described it as "soft power."

Yu also pointed out the simplicity and efficiency of Emin's solution, which he appreciates. "What the company tries to solve are issues that confront all e-commerce businesses," he said, including how to predict if customers will make purchase and drive cost-efficient conversions.

When asked if this acquisition will accelerate Appier's IPO plan in Japan, Yu said he prioritizes product development over the goal to go public, and the decision was made due to the significant value Emin can bring to his company.

Emin's product leverages AI and cursor tracking technologies to analyze consumer behaviors in real time. It categorizes customers into three types: those who are about to place order, still hesitating, and simply looking around, and exclusive coupons will be given to the second type to incentivize faster transaction.

In Japan, the company has served 800 clients, including leading e-commerce platforms Golf Digest Online and LOHACO, and contributed to double-digit growth in their conversion rate.

Emin, going global with Appier

CEO Asami Ota shared with us two main reasons for Emin to join its Taiwanese peer: its product's complementarity with Appier's and the pending plan to go global.

Besides enhancing product competitiveness, Emin sees the cooperation with Appier, a startup with offices across Asia, as an opportunity to expand into global markets.

The Taiwanese firm has been ready to take on global market, Ota believes. "Japanese startups also want to go global but there's language barrier to overcome," she said. Meeting with Appier's staff, she found that almost everyone speaks English and some of them even speak Japanese.

Ota is also impressed by Appier's CEO Yu. "He's a 'powerful' leader with strong negotiation skills, but he is close to the employees when discussing strategies and product directions with them," she observes.

“Appier is the best company for Emin to join to help us continue to bring our customers AI solutions that will ensure they stay competitive and maintain relevance among consumers," she commented on the deal, according to Business Insider.


Bryan Chou

Bryan Chou is a Taiwan-based and born journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Next and Meet. Over the past five years, he has written for a student press, translated numerous magazine pieces, and worked as an intern in two startups. He believes what shapes him into who he is today is not only these experiences but the people he has interacted with and the stories he has learned from them.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.