AI democratisation startup Daisee raises $8.8m; CEO talks ‘taking a leaf’ out of Google’s book


Daisee CEO Richard Kimber (Front row, second from left)

Artificial intelligence startup Daisee has raised $8.8 million in a Series A funding round led by Alium Capital. Speaking with Dynamic Business, co-founder and CEO Richard Kimber explained the investment would support Daisee’s efforts to ‘democratise’ AI and combat Australia’s ‘brain drain’.

Launched in August 2017, Daisee leverages AI research from within Australia’s university ecosystem to create software applications for companies across a variety of industries. Kimber, Google’s former regional manager in Southeast Asia, explained that more than two thirds of Australian organisations have yet to adopt AI solutions, impeding their ability to compete globally.

“We’re helping companies accelerate the deployment of AI in their operations”, he said. “Our key value proposition is speed, by which I mean we’re able to build applications for companies much faster than they would be able to manage themselves. Due to a willingness to democratise the availability of AI, we’ve also been able to compete with large vendors on price point.”

“Another clear point of difference from our competitors has been our relationship with leading universities, driving innovation in the area of AI. They’ve given us access to fundamental research into AI, including the deep mathematics behind it, and our role has been to translate it for commercial use.

“If you look at Google, they had a very tight relationship with Stanford University and leveraged their research to get started. So, we’ve taken a leaf out of Google’s book and we’re working with a number of universities, each of which have their own specific area of competence. For example, UNSW is very deep in robotics while Macquarie University is very strong when it comes to natural language processing.”

In addition to extracting ‘great insights’ from universities, Kimber said Daisee actively seeks to work with their academics and graduates. He explained, “Our ambition is to keep the best scientists in Australia and stop the brain drain by providing them with a place where they can readily work in specialised area like AI.”

Commenting on the significance of securing Alium Capital as an investor, Kimber said the VC firm understands the AI space and can unlock value for Daisee through its extensive network.

“They’re a sophisticated investor, so securing their support – following a lot of due diligence – has been great validation of our team, technology and market opportunity,” he said. “Plus, the funding gives us the horsepower and firepower we need to hit that sweet spot where we have enough traction and market penetration.”

As to how Daisee will use its Series A funding, Kimber said the company will recruit new software engineers and data scientists while continuing to build out its technology stack. He added, “We currently have 22 employees across offices in Sydney and Melbourne and we’re looking to grow to 40 staff over the year.”