An artificial intelligence startup making AI accessible to smaller companies has raised A$2.75 million (US$2m) in a pre-series A round.
Pi.Exchange describes itself as an AI-as-a-Service provider and is targeting the banking and retail to professional services sectors with its product.
Investors included AI-dedicated VC Boab AI, Artesian, Nextrans and Vision Creator, alongside additional support from the venture’s first backer Himat Trust.
Earlier this year Pi.Exchange was one of the first ventures in Boab AI’s Scaleup program, receiving a minimum of $300,000 in capital as part of a tailored six-month program.
The latest funding is earmarked for increasing the Victoria-based startup’s team of 30 by 30% in ano enhance its self-serve AI-as-a-Service offering through deep usability testing and increased market visibility.
Founder and CEO Quan Pham said that will position the business to seize opportunities from SMBs and enterprises in banking, telco, retail, logistics and professional services in the ASEAN and wider APAC regions.
Pham said that historically the significant investment required in time, resources and specialised talent needed to build AI capability put it beyond the reach of many companies.
“Pi.Exchange’s AI and Analytics Engine reduces these barriers to entry for developing AI and ML applications end-to-end, by reducing the need for data scientists and upfront investment into the AI/ML infrastructure,” he said.
Netxtrans VC partner Chris Seungho Chae said the startup solved two key issues companies face.
“AI and ML professionals are scarce, while existing AutoML services are still expensive to adopt,” he said.
“Pi.Exchange is the only solution which democratises this technology by making AutoML available to all enterprises of all sizes, even those without a dedicated AI and ML team.”
Himat Trust director Hemant Bhatt said he expects the new cash will help the startup continue to punch above its weight and become an international champion in AI-driven data analytics.
“As the first and ongoing investor in Pi.Exchange, we are excited about the prospects as the world continues to accelerate its adoption of advanced AI analytics as an integral part of their businesses,” he said.
“This fundraising round is a testament to what Quan and his able team at Pi.Exchange has built for our growing client base.”
Boab AI managing director Andrew Lai said he’d been “deeply impressed” by Pham and his team for developing both their comprehensive product solution and the market traction they’d generated in a short period of time.