10 outstanding AI startups to keep track of in 2021

Here are some impressive figures.

China spends $322 billion on research and development projects; South Korea – $83 billion, and Singapore – $25 billion. Asian nations have been especially impressive in producing more opportunities for innovation, from superfast EV chargers to sophisticated AI software.

Unsurprisingly, there are a lot of exciting AI startups to check out in this part of the world. In this post, we’re taking a look at 10 young companies with impressive technologies to watch this year.

1. iKala

Country: Taiwan

iKala is an exciting startup that helps enterprises with digitization. So many companies are looking to improve their decision-making with analytics, which is exactly what iKala handles with their AI-powered data processing tools. Not only that, but the startup has also developed software to create advertising campaigns based on previous performance.

iKala raised $1.7 billion a few months ago to enter and expand in several Southeast Asian markets. That’s a great sign proving that the company’s product makes a difference for many companies not only in its home country but the entire region.

2. Ruangguru

Country: Indonesia

Ruangguru is an EdTech platform whose customer base has recently exceeded 20 million users. What began as a project to make education accessible is now a thriving startup providing personalized learning experiences with machine learning.

One thing that makes this startup special is the application of AI to personalize learning according to the user’s preferred style and content.

Ruangguru has been getting positive reviews from both educational experts and users. Dorian Martin, a tech writing and education expert from SameDayEssay, said in a review: “Ruangguru stays true to the original mission to bring quality education to the masses in Indonesia. Besides affordable pricing, there are many free resources for the users.”

The commitment to educating low-income families has earned Ruangguru a lot of publicity and appearances in online publications. Also, Ruangguru’s Android app has a rating of 4.7 ratings based on almost 600,000 opinions. Impressive, indeed.

3. Kobe

Country: Singapore

Influencer marketing is booming everywhere, and Kobe helps companies drive sales with this strategy. This platform has over 5,000 social media influencers of many types to match with businesses to help reach any marketing goal.

Kobe uses AI technology to process millions of data points – customer behavioral analytics, demographics, brand preferences, etc. – to find the best influencers for brands. This technology is useful for both B2B and B2C businesses to increase sales that often struggle with choosing the right influencer.

With stats suggesting that fake influencers cost companies about $1.3 billion annually, tools like Kobe might become a go-to place to find quality content providers. Especially given the fact that influencer marketing is booming in Asia.

It’s a good idea to combine your influencer marketing endeavors with using content creation and editing tools like Grammarly, Writeload, and Scribendi.

4. MakinaRocks

MakinaRocks is a unique startup that brings AI to manufacturing. The company makes manufacturing processes more productive and efficient by applying complex analytical software and generating insights into performance. MakinaRocks is a part of the huge market of AI in manufacturing, which is supposed to hit $16.7 billion within the next five years.

MakinaRocks’s app suite works by monitoring the performance of the physical manufacturing hardware and software. It detects various anomalies and predicts equipment failures based on the historical data it collects. That data is also used to create company-wide operational models to apply to all production machinery and minimize disruptions to manufacturing.

5. OneChat

Country: Thailand

The list wouldn’t have been complete without AI chatbots. OneChat is one of the most interesting startups to watch in this area, providing conversational AI chatbots for Facebook. The company collected 10,000+ clients despite being founded just three years ago.

What’s cool about OneChat’s chatbot is automation. The chatbot can reply to Messenger messages and comments, saving tons of time for customer support and helping to generate leads with the email capture feature. Since 40 percent of customers expect businesses to reply within one hour of contacting on social media, chatbots like OneChat should become more widespread among online brands.

6. Affable.ai

Country: Singapore

Affable is a startup that uses AI to help marketers find genuine influencers and calculate their real worth. It’s an all-in-one influencer marketing platform, meaning that a user can discover an influencer, hire them, create and manage campaigns, and measure performance. Right now, Affable has over 3 million influencers across TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, and Facebook—an excellent selection for businesses of all sizes.

The value of startups like Affable is the scalability and efficiency they bring. Traditionally, companies would have to hire an in-house team to analyze trends and verify influencers, but all these tasks are automated with AI. Better still, AI can detect if an influencer has added fake engagement and followers to their profile.

7. Naluri

Country: Malaysia

Naluri stands out on this list thanks to a unique product: a digital treatment program for helping people live a healthier lifestyle. People using Naluri can get personalized advice from professionals like lifestyle coaches, fitness trainers, and psychologists directly on their smartphones.

Naluri also uses machine learning to analyze chat data and develop more relevant and personalized treatment programs for users. The sophisticated algorithm, for example, processes chat data to identify words suggesting psychological distress and help the platform’s coaches better understand the needs of clients.

No wonder Naluri has been successful in securing funding in recent years.

8. Kore.ai

Country: India

Employee onboarding and retention are some of the biggest challenges facing companies today. Kore.ai was created to help by improving employee experience from day one with virtual assistants for remote support and answering common HR-related answers.

Besides employee experience, Kore.ai also includes virtual assistants for customers. For example, you can create chatbot-like assistants to let customers find questions in FAQs instead of contacting your customer support every time.

By using virtual assistant automation by Kore.ai, you can address the needs of both customers and employees. The result: more efficient and satisfied employees, and a reduction in customer support queries.

9. NodeFlux

Country: Indonesia

NodeFlux is Indonesia’s first AI-enabled video analytics platform. It captures real-time data to provide the user with continuous monitoring of traffic, which greatly improves security and traffic management. The applications of this product are numerous and range from smart city surveillance systems to on-shelf product availability monitoring. 

The development of data-based traffic optimization solutions in Jakarta Smart City government initiative is one of the latest and most impressive projects of Nodeflux. The company’s technology is used to monitor road traffic in real-time and create optimization strategies to improve the daily experience of the city’s residents.

10. Prosa.ai

Country: Indonesia

Prosa.ai has made impressive progress despite being founded just a few years ago. The range of services significantly expanded, ranging from customer experience apps like chatbots to SaaS integrations like facial recognition. Besides, Prosa.ai is the first company that developed NLP technology for the Indonesian language.

This startup’s reputation and expertise already secured some pretty impressive projects. In 2019, for example, Prosa.ai started a collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics to create an “anti-hoax” chatbot to battle fake news and disinformation.

The startup received a Series A investment from GDP Venture several months later. Now, Prosa.ai is a busy startup working on solutions to help minimize the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country. In a recent article in The Jakarta Post, the company’s CEO advocated for the application of AI in enforcing health protocols by accessing the use of masks with facial recognition.

Outstanding AI Startups: Final Thoughts

The exciting Asian startup landscape is quickly changing, but these 10 companies have been consistent in delivering impressive results. Each received a lot of investment and secured their future for the years to come. 

But the most important thing is that they’ve been doing amazing work. That’s why they’re poised for huge success this year, as they continue to develop and improve AI solutions that make a positive difference in the lives of individuals, companies, and entire cities.