AI startup Emotibot raises $45 million in Series B+

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Shanghai-based artificial intelligence (AI) startup Emotibot has closed its $45 million Series B+, aiming to improve the emotion-sensing capabilities of robots in human-machine interaction.

Why it matters: The company lists social media and gaming giant Tencent, video streaming firm iQiyi, and robot maker UBTech as its partners.

  • Emotibot also works with China Merchants Bank, China Minsheng Bank, and China Mobile, according to its website.
  • The company provides its computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, as well as visual and voice emotion-recognition services to the financial, e-commerce, call center, and smart device industries.

Details: Emotibot’s latest round was led by V Fund Management, Linfeng Capital, and an undisclosed strategic investor. Puhua Capital, Keywise Capital, and VC Keywise Capital also participated.

  • Emotibot said it will use the latest investment for continued NLP research and to develop its Bot Factory service, a platform that allows companies to create their own chatbots.
  • Huawei has built an employee service platform using Bot Factory, which allows its staff to query issues including reimbursements and IT problems.

Context: Emotibot focuses on building chatbots that are able to identify emotional responses in humans, which the company believes is the next step in the evolution of artificial intelligence.

  • Founded in 2015 by former Microsoft director Kenny Chien, Emotibot raised $30 million in its Series B last year.
  • In 2017, the State Council, China’s cabinet, laid out plans to become a world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030.
  • Emotibot is one of a slew of companies hoping to profit from the country’s national ambitions.