Private Hong Kong based investment firm Horizons Ventures, an arm of Li Ka-shing, the wealthiest man in Hong Kong, has completed an “early-stage investment after it funded AI startup” Fano Labs.
The company, which is financed by Hong Kong-based AI accelerator Zeroth.ai, advances speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) technologies that emphasize Chinese languages processing and analysis.
Horizons has invested in some of the world’s most advanced companies, including Facebook, Spotify, Impossible Foods, Improbable, Zoom, Blockstream, Soul Machines and ChromaDex. Now, they want to finance Fano Labs, which recently graduated AI accelerator program Zeroth.
“We are a team of scientists and engineers. Our world-class technical expertise in speech and NLP technologies would empower us to revolutionize the way call centers operate. Our bond with HKU, one of the oldest universities in the region, brings us deep intellectual and academic resources. We aim to be the hub of AI in Asia,” said CEO of Fano Labs, Dr. Wen.
Horizons Ventures’ Phil Chen alleged that Horizons has a heritage of investing in industry-shaping speech and NLP technologies starting from Siri, Viv, and now Fano Labs. “We love deep-tech companies that apply this AI power to improve critical human communications problems. Fano Labs’ solution for multiple dialects allows for this rewind of the Tower of Babel story.”
This is indeed a great opportunity for Fano Labs to deploy its solution. Its AI system can evaluate all types of phone calls in languages such as Cantonese, Sichuanese, English and Mandarin, and will create easy work for the managers of these call centers with business intelligence, letting them to conduct better quality control over the calls.
Reports are showing that by 2020, China’s call centers will have the capability to answer about two million calls, compared to 580,000 back in 2012. It also estimated funds in China’s call center industry will reach 262 billion yuan ($39.6 billion USD) by 2020.
As a result of this increase in calls, user interactions will also become more multifaceted, so the companies will look for tactical investments in artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and advanced analytics solutions to deliver improved customer and operational efficiency.