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SoftBank Ventures Asia Has Co-led a $27 Mn Round of Funding for a Korean AI Firm

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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The corporate venture capital arm of SoftBank Group specializes in investing in information technology, smart robotics, and artificial intelligence companies; SoftBank Ventures has co-led a $27 million round of funding for an AI startup based in South Korea, Upstage.  

SoftBank Ventures Asia and investment firm Company K Partners headed the series A round with TBT Partners, Premier Partners, Stonebridge Ventures, and Primer Sazze Fund.

In recent years, SoftBank has dominated the IT and startup worlds. The corporation appears to have stakes in nearly every significant startup, with interests ranging from robots to satellites, and artificial intelligence to programmed human upgrades.  

SoftBank has embarked on an aggressive investment drive that ensures its involvement with and backing of a slew of hot companies and keeps the corporation at the top of many news feeds.

Upstage’s core product is AI Pack, a cloud solution that helps standardize and automate important functions in a company such as data annotation. It was founded in October 2020 by Kim Sung-hoon, professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and former AI leader at Naver CLOVA, Lee Hwal-suk, former OCR Visual leader at Naver CLOVA, and Park Eun-Jeong, former Papago translation modeling leader.  

The startup has received requests from over 100 companies interested in adopting its AI technology since its start. To date, the business has made $7.6 million in sales, and its clients come from a variety of industries, including finance, education, and distribution.  

Upstage intends to employ more than 200 AI developers and research engineers with the new cash. It has a branch in Hong Kong and plans to grow to Japan, the Americas, and Southeast Asia in the near future.


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