KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, June 3, 2019 – Supahands has recently raised an undisclosed sum in its Series A funding led by Patamar Capital, a social venture capital firm focused on Southeast and South Asia, along with Cradle Seed Ventures. Patamar Capital’s investment comes out of its Investing in Women Fund, a fund for women-led businesses which was launched in 2017 in collaboration with the Australian Government’s Investing in Women Initiative. The Malaysian-born tech company’s previous round of fundraising includes investments from 500 Startups, Axiata Digital Innovation Fund as well as Cradle Seed Ventures.
This new capital injection will be used for Supahands’ continued expansion in Asia Pacific (APAC) while cementing its foothold as the forerunner of Artificial Intelligence (AI) enablement in the region.
“Supahands is an integral part of the AI industry’s growth spurt as the solution to data preparation for machine learning, especially in this region that has seen heavy investment in AI. This is a very exciting time for us as we grow 10X internally and externally as well.” said Mark Koh, CEO and Co-Founder of Supahands.
Last year, AI was estimated to have contributed to a massive sum of US$2 trillion to global GDP. By 2030, that amount could reach as much as US$15.7 trillion, making it the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast-changing economy, according to a report by PwC.
While most of AI implementation is taking place in more technologically advanced countries in the West, the number of companies and startups investing or integrating AI into their systems is growing rapidly in APAC. With China’s recent announcement of plans in becoming an AI world leader by 2030, the region is poised to be a global leading hotspot for AI within the next decade. According to a report by Tractica, the AI market in the APAC region is expected to grow to a staggering US$136 billion by 2025.
Machine learning models need huge volumes of high-quality data in order to learn what they’re supposed to do – from driving a car to understanding voice commands. The data preparation process is human-labour intensive and often takes up the bulk of an AI Engineer or Data Scientist’s time. This has led to substantial growth in demand for tools and services to assist with data preparation and labelling. According to a report by Cognilytica, the market for third-party data labelling solutions was at US$150 million in 2018 and is expected to grow to over US$1billion by 2023.
Supahands has made a positive social impact by providing a supplemental income stream to thousands in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. Over the last couple of years, the company recorded a payout of millions of Ringgit (MYR) to its crowdsourced workers – called “SupaAgents” – 64% of whom are females, giving them new opportunities in the digital gig economy. The company is also looking into expanding its pool of SupaAgents with plans of recruitment stretching into other countries in Southeast Asia.
Additionally, Supahands is pleased to announce a female-majority board with two new board members – Shuyin Tang, a Partner at Patamar Capital, and Nor Azah Razali, a Senior Advisor and former Partner and Managing Director at The Boston Consulting Group. To top it off, Supahands’ leadership team is also majority female – an uncommon sight in the tech industry.
“We are excited to welcome Shuyin and Azah as new board members. Having the financial and strategic support from them validates the potential that lies within the market. Supahands has also always valued the importance of building a diverse team and board, with the belief that diversity leads to better decision-making.” said Susian Yeap, COO and co-founder, Supahands.
Besides the newly formed board, Supahands announces new additions to their Board of Advisors – Dr Chan Chee Seng, Associate Professor at University Malaya’s Department of Artificial Intelligence, Bruno Gagliardo, PhD, Global Director of Data Analytics at iflix, Pedro Sttau, Chief of Information at iCar Asia and Izwan Ismail, an Expert Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company. According to Koh, their collective expertise would be of great support to Supahands’ expansion plans and deeper involvement in the AI industry.
Founded in 2014, Supahands believes that there’s a better, more efficient way for businesses to do work, with the combined forces of artificial and human intelligence. They help companies prepare clean and accurate data at scale, with a key focus on clients in the Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning industry. For more information, visit https://www.supahands.com/.
About Patamar Capital
Patamar Capital makes venture capital investments in high-growth companies solving South and Southeast Asia’s most pervasive problems at scale. The firm’s target geographies of India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines display strong growth, yet market inefficiencies remain and are disproportionately found within low-income communities. Investment sectors include financial services, “niche” e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education. Patamar Capital also manages a fund for investing in women-led businesses and is committed to applying a gender lens across its entire portfolio.
About Cradle Seed Ventures
Cradle Seed Ventures is the venture capital arm of Cradle Fund Sdn Bhd, Malaysia’s premier early stage financier and influencer incorporated under the Ministry of Finance Malaysia (MOF) in 2003. The early stage start-up influencer has helped fund over 900 Malaysian tech start-ups.
About Axiata Digital Innovation Fund
Managed by Intres Capital Partners, AXIATA DIGITAL INNOVATION FUND (ADIF) is Malaysia’s first corporate venture fund. It is formed in collaboration between Axiata Group Berhad, Malaysian Venture Capital Management Berhad (MAVCAP) and Johor Corporation.
About 500 Startups
500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund with a network of startup programs headquartered in Silicon Valley and is the #1 most active seed fund in the world. 500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems.