Automated processes made possible by artificial intelligence are becoming pervasive in our workplace. Enterprise AI adoption, which is defined as the application of machine learning, computer vision, or natural language processing (NLP) in business functions, has been rising, particularly across emerging economies in the Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and North Africa. The adoption rate reached 57% in 2021, up from 45% in 2020, according to a report by consulting firm McKinsey & Company.
Although the industry remains nascent in Southeast Asia, it will uplift the local and regional economies, yielding 10% to 18% in GDP growth by 2030, according to consulting firm Kearney.
Despite the potential, Teguh Eko Budiarto, co-founder and CEO of Indonesian startup Prosa.ai, said that one key challenge hindering the broader deployment of AI is that businesses do not know how to deal with or process their mountains of data.
“Businesses and institutions have a lot of data, but they do not know how to extract insights out of the data. For example, call centers have a massive amount of recordings and operational data, but they just pile it up and don’t know how to process it,” said Budiarto.
After working as the managing director for Tokyo-based Brastel Telecom for more than seven years, Budiarto identified a gap in Indonesia’s AI industry where individuals and businesses face difficulties building their own algorithms to process text and speech data.
The demand for accurate and affordable NLP technology motivated Budiarto to start his own AI startup, Prosa.ai. Founded in 2018, Prosa.ai is a deep tech developer of NLP building blocks, platforms, and solutions in the context of the Bahasa Indonesia language.
So far, the company has launched an array of products that includes chatbots, text and speech processing, voice biometric technology that allows businesses to authenticate customers’ identities, and data analytics of text and speech data. The firm built an NLP API that enables businesses to integrate text analytics solutions into their systems. This generates most of Prosa.ai’s revenue, according to Budiarto.
The company has been expanding its services to consumers since 2021. It enables individual customers to purchase text-to-speech transcription software on its website, with rates starting at IDR 50,000 (USD 3.50) per month. Budiarto added that the firm is set to launch speech-to-text transcription software for its individual customers in the beginning of 2022.
Prosa.ai’s offerings gained significant traction this year. The company’s business volume was up 50% compared to the previous year, according to Budiarto. “We’re putting a lot of effort into product development now, but our net loss is not that significant. We try to balance the growth between the team and the business. Even though we are not profitable right now, we will be profitable soon,” Budiarto explained.
While Budiarto is sanguine regarding Prosa.ai’s growth, the AI development sector is becoming more crowded. Many local competitors create, refine, and apply NLP APIs, including Kata.ai, BJTech, Bahasa Kita, and Bahasa.ai. International tech conglomerates like Google have their own offerings.
“We did a benchmark study [involving the products of] our competitors, both local and global. The results show that our NLP engine has the highest accuracy rate in Bahasa Indonesia, so we are confident about our NLP engine,” Budiarto said.
Unfazed by the competition, Budiarto said that Prosa.ai aims to grow its business by 300% this year. “In 2022, we are going to strengthen our sales and marketing team to boost our business. Our product is becoming more mature, and the NLP engine is getting more robust, so we can expand to more use cases in information extraction and conversational AI next year,” he said.
The firm will begin raising its Series B funds in 2022, aiming to close by the middle of the year. It previously bagged an undisclosed amount in a Series A funding round from GDP Venture in 2019. Budiarto did not disclose Prosa.ai’s target amount for its Series B round.
Prosa.ai was the winner of the second Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Indonesia Demo Day, which was held on December 21.