9/5/2019 – A Singapore based creative AI firm, Pencil, has successfully raised US$1.1M in seed funding, led by Singapore/US-based VC Wavemaker Partners.
The round was joined by the government-owned SGInnovate and talent investor Entrepreneur First. While NUS Associate Professor Min-Yen Kan and Googler formed angel network Xoogler Angles joined the round as investor-advisor.
Pencil was founded in 2018 by Will Hanschell, formerly a partner and management consultant of creative agency Iris Worldwide, and Sumukh Avadhani an ex-Googler specialized in deep learning and computer vision.
Paul Santos, managing partner of Wavemaker Partners said: “The number one pain point of marketing teams is increasing their ROI. Almost every solution in the market proposes doing so through greater targeting or better customer profiling. But these approaches are fundamentally limited by the amount of content, be it visuals or text, that one can humanly produce.
“Pencil takes a new and complementary approach, allowing teams to generate and distribute personalized content at scale using AI. We are happy to support Will and Sumukh in their vision to put this technology into the hands of the world’s best e-commerce, brand and agency teams by 2020.”
The creative firm will be using the fresh funds to expand engineering and customer success team, grow proprietary datasets and extend patent-pending technology.
Pencil also announced the launch of their first product called Studio. A generative creative platform serving advertisers and marketers. Powered by artificial intelligence, Studio can be used to generate personalized advertisements, both visual and textual, at scale.
Backed by computational power, Studio will first mass generate content which is then picked out by the built-in artificial intelligence technology.
Hanschell commented, “We believe that AI will be as fundamental to creativity in the future as the pencil was in the past. Our goal is to bring the scale and speed of automation to creativity, without killing it. We’re working towards a world where humans and machines collaborate on ideas of all kinds, together pushing the boundaries of what creativity even means.
Pencil’s 2018 client list includes Sephora SEA, POND’S (Unilever) and Mindshare (WPP).