Aiello Inc.(Aiello), a Taiwan-based natural language processing (NLP) and voice artificial intelligence (AI) startup, announced Tuesday it has raised $5.8 million in a Series Pre-A+ funding round led by two major institutional investors, JAFCO Asia and Wistron Corporation.

The existing investor Cornerstone Ventures also participated in the round, Aiello said in a statement.

The firm has raised a total of over $10 million in funding since its inception four years ago.

According to the statement, the new funds will be used to further accelerate customer acquisition, expand the solution to international markets, and launch new products.

“We believe JAFCO and Wistron’s strong network and knowledge can bring Aiello to great heights, The new funds will be used to accelerate business in international markets, especially in Japan and Thailand, where we see a good traction,

“We also plan to boost Research & Development and launch a new product, a ‘Conversation Intelligence Platform’ that aim at improving corporate sales and meeting efficiency. This platform, which focuses on AI-driven Voice & Audio analysis and collaboration, is expected to be launched by the end of this year,” said Vic Shen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aiello.

Founded in January 2019, with a founding team from Google, Qualcomm, and HTC, Aiello’s expertise relies on its in-house NLP and machine learning (ML) models.

Currently the startup’s AI-solutions process more than 900,000 speech, and text interactions per month in Chinese, English, Thai, and Japanese.

The company’s flagship product, Aiello Voice Assistant (AVA), is the most advanced natural language understanding (NLU)-based solution dedicated to hospitality.

This year, the number of AVA equipped guest rooms is expected to increase an impressive 2.5 times compared to 2021.

Over the past six months, Aiello has won multiple international hotel contracts in Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, and several leading hotel brands recently signed corporate level service contracts with the company.

“Our data shows that AVA has reduced front desk workloads in hotels where it is deployed by approximately 30%. For a hotel with 200 rooms, that represents more than 300 hours of labor time in 6 months,” said Shen.

“According to our findings, our AI voice assistant also helps hotels increase their social media exposure by up to 10 times, largely thanks to guests sharing their experiences,” he added.

According to the statement, AVA also drives additional revenue for hotels, increases the proportion of direct bookings, and encourages hotel guest loyalty. It analyzes the needs and usage behaviors of guests during their stay and extracts data which can be used to improve hotel management.

Aiello closed its Pre-A round last year by co-lead investor Chunghwa PCHome Fund No.1, a joint venture-capital fund established by Chunghwa Telecom Group , and PCHOME Online Inc. managed by Cornerstone Ventures, Zylux Acoustic Corporation, and ColoplNext, a CVC from well-known Japanese listed gaming company Colopl.

This was ColoplNext’s first investment into an AI start-up based in Taiwan.

“Aiello is one of the few AI companies in Asia with a scalable business model. In the post-pandemic era, the labor shortage and digital transformation of enterprises are visible trends,

“We expect that the demand for artificial intelligence and intelligent voice in enterprises will be higher and higher, and Aiello is bound to play an important role,” said John Lin, Managing Director of JAFCO Asia Taiwan.

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