Artificial intelligence

Softbank-backed AI firm to use new funding to expand workforce

Funding for Taiwan’s Appier hits $162 million as the AI software company looks at workforce and geographic expansion.

AI-powered digital marketing firm Appier has raised $80 million in its fourth funding round which closed today with investments from Temasek’s Pavilion Capital and HOPU-ARM Innovation Fund among others to finance expansion.

“Talent is our number one priority,” said Appier chief executive Chih-Han Yu said in an interview with FinanceAsia. “We are also looking at geographic expansion and will deepen our investment in each market we have entered.”

Launched in 2012, Appier targets customer engagement to improve e-commerce sales. Around 1,000 enterprises use the service, including global grocery chain Carrefour, beauty company Estée Lauder and automaker Audi, to optimise their online marketing campaigns.

The Taipei-headquartered firm has more than 400 employees in 14 offices around Asia-Pacific, including Singapore, Australia, Japan and Indonesia.

Appier operates in the field of marketing technology; a burgeoning industry valued at $121.5 billion and which accounts for more than half of the industry’s global value, according to a 2019 report from accountancy firms BDO and Warc.

The sector’s promising technology and good investment returns have attracted investors, said Yu. While the company does not disclose its financials, “our revenue is growing and our unit economy is very strong,” he added.

In a survey of around 750 brands, the BDO and Warc report found that British and US firms spend 26% of their budgets on marketing technology. 

While Asia-Pacific companies are still warming to the concept, investors’ financial support of Appier signals the potential for growth in the industry.

Appier’s last round of funding in 2017 netted $33 million from Softbank and Line among other investors. The software company used those proceeds to expand its range of offerings. Since 2018, Appier has acquired two startups – Japanese online consumer behaviour predictor Emin and India-based marketing platform QGraph.

“Appier is well-positioned to continue to exceed expectations and outpace the competition,” said Teck Sien Lau, co-chairman of HOPU-ARM Innovation Fund and chief executive of HOPU Investments.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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