Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Hong Kong AI lab takes in first group of start-ups

Steve Rogerson
October 24, 2018

The Hong Kong AI & Data Laboratory began operations this month and has taken in the first group of artificial intelligence-focused start-up companies it will incubate over the next six months.
HKAI, a joint effort among Alibaba Group, SenseTime and Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks (HKSTP), aims to nurture local AI 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 start-ups in the first intake group receives $100,000 from the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund as part of the accelerator programme, along with working space and access to AI 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 commercialisation of their projects.
The programme will offer two intakes every year, with about eight to ten start-ups each. Selected start-ups will be provided with GPU-equipped high-performance computer resources from Alibaba Cloud, and support from Alibaba Damo Academy, a global research programme created by Alibaba Group. At the same time, SenseTime will provide a deep-learning platform and AI products. In addition, they will receive advice from the lab’s advisory board, which comprises AI scientists, entrepreneurs and professors. HKSTP will offer the free working space and incubation support of its Incu-Tech programme.
“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 start-ups 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 start-ups in the programme are focused on sectors including urban planning, influencer marketing, B2B, fintech, property inspection and social networking. They are:

  1. Arical: Arical empowers architects, urban planners and property developers through an AI cloud platform that instantly and automatically generates architectural design proposals from big data. Key technologies include deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing and knowledge graph.
  2. Cloudbreakr: Powered by machine learning, Cloudbreakr analyses social data across platforms to help brands analyse and optimise influencer marketing performance. Key technologies include natural language processing and vision analysis.
  3. Dayta: A B2B AI provider that aims to create value-added intelligence for businesses, empowering SMEs with machine learning. It uses search and recommendation technologies.
  4. Farseer: The company licenses proprietary big data and AI in the form of SaaS and API for financial ecosystems, primarily in HK, China and US secondary markets. Technologies include Chinese natural language processing and big data.
  5. RaSpect: An AI-powered predictive inspection company for architecture with the aim to create a safer and smarter society using robotics, AI and IoT.
  6. Social Face: An intelligent platform in Hong Kong that provides live photo album services to help event organisers and attendees improve social networking efficiency and quality. Key technologies include intelligent AI reports, instant photo album sharing and smart network recommendation.
  7. Squared-S: A B2B fintech company that provides AI driven services for investment and risk analysis to financial institutions. Technologies include portfolio optimisation and risk management.