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Japanese AI startup Cogent Labs nets USD 13 million to expand in Asia

The company is working on an education service and enterprise search engine based on natural language processing.

Cogent Labs, an AI solutions provider based in Tokyo, announced that it has raised JPY 1.4 billion (USD 13 million) in a Series C funding round, bringing its total funding to JPY 4.2 billion (USD 39 million).

Aizawa-4 Limited Partnership, I Holdings, Comture Corporation, and Japan Co-Invest II Limited Partnership were the investors in the round.

The company will use the new funds to accelerate its overseas expansion in Asian markets by localizing its existing services. It has already started its entry into South Korea and is currently cooperating with local business partners there, according to a statement.

Interests in AI and NLP

Cogent will also enhance its natural language processing (NLP) capabilities as it looks to develop an education service and an enterprise search engine based on the technology.

The company offers four services, namely Tegaki, Kaidoku, Time-Series Forecasting (TSF), and consulting.

Tegaki is an AI optical character recognition service that scans handwritten documents so they can be saved as data, improving operational efficiency and reducing costs. Kaidoku, on the other hand, is Cogent’s NLP platform that can analyze and organize information, including text, trends, and causal relationships.

TSF can simultaneously process and analyze time-series data from markets and make forecasts based on the results. The technology is part of the stock trade volume prediction service that Cogent is providing Japanese investment bank Daiwa Securities.

For its AI consulting service, Cogent interviews clients to understand their businesses, and then proposes and develops solutions tailored to their needs. It uses what it calls AI Creator System, developed with Asahi Group Holdings, to produce product package designs using deep learning models.

In 2017, the company raised nearly USD 12 million in a Series A round led by SBI Investment and Toppan Forms. It was followed by an USD 11 million Series B raise last year from Samsung Venture Investment, Kiwoom Investment, K2 Investment Partners, and Ncore Ventures.