HKAI Lab Opens, Takes in First Group of Startups

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HKAI Lab Opens, Takes in First Group of Startups



The Hong Kong AI & Data Laboratory this month began operations and has taken in the first group of artificial intelligence-focused startup companies it’s incubating over the next six months.

HKAI, a joint effort among Alibaba Group, SenseTime and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp., aims to nurture local A.I. and data talent. More broadly, the three hope their efforts will bolster development of technology in Hong Kong and turn the city into a global hub for innovation and creation.

Each of the seven startups in the first intake group receives $100,000 from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund as part of the accelerator program, along with working space and access to A.I. technology, cloud computing and network resources. They’ll get the chance to collaborate with Alibaba, SenseTime and other local and overseas enterprises and investors to speed the commercialization of their projects.

HKAI & Data Lab’s Accelerator Program will offer two intakes every year, with about eight to 10 startups each. Selected startups will be provided with GPU-equipped high-performance computer resources from Alibaba Cloud, support from Alibaba DAMO Academy, a global research program created by Alibaba Group. At the same time, SenseTime will provide a deep-learning platform and A.I. solutions. In addition, they will receive advice from the Lab’s advisory board, which comprises leading A.I. scientists, entrepreneurs and experienced professors. HKSTP will offer the free working space and incubation support of its Incu-Tech program.

“Having an excellent pool of scientific research talent, a diverse and inclusive business environment, as well as supportive government policy, Hong Kong has the potential to become an important hub for promoting innovation and technology,” said Jeff Zhang, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, “The first batch of startups not only have innovative technologies and unique business ideas, they also offer insightful solutions to addressing key issues, including smart mobility and FinTech.”

The first batch of startups in the program are focused on sectors including urban planning, influencer marketing, B2B solutions, FinTech, property inspection and social networking. Below is a list of the companies and brief descriptions of what they do.

1. Arical – Arical empowers architects, urban planners and property developers through an A.I. cloud platform that instantly and automatically generates architectural design proposals from big data. Key Technology: Deep learning, computer vision, Natural Language Processing and knowledge graph.

2. Cloudbreakr – Powered by machine learning, Cloudbreakr analyzes social data across platforms to help brands analyze and optimize influencer marketing performance. Key Technology: Natural Language Processing and vision analysis.

3. Dayta – A B2B A.I. solution provider that aims to create value-added intelligence for businesses, empowering SMEs with machine learning. Key Technology: Search and recommendation technology.

4. Farseer – The company licenses proprietary big data and A.I. solutions in the form of SaaS and API for financial ecosystems, primarily in HK, China and U.S. secondary markets. Key Technology: Natural Language Processing (Chinese) and big data.

5. RaSpect – An A.I.-powered predictive inspection company for architecture with the aim to create a safer and smarter society. Key Technology: robotics, A.I. and IoT.

6. Social Face – An intelligent platform in Hong Kong that provides live photo album services to help event organizers and attendees improve social networking efficiency and quality. Key Technology: Intelligent A.I. reports, instant photo album sharing and smart network recommendation.

7. Squared-S – A B2B FinTech company that provides A.I. driven solutions for investment and risk analysis to financial institutions. Key Technology: Portfolio optimization and risk management.

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