South Korea’s ‘Google’, Naver, acquires an artificial intelligence startup, Company AI

Search engine giant Naver announced its acquisition of ‘Company AI’, an artificial intelligence startup on July 5.. The acquisition followed Company AI’s participation in D2 Startup Factory (D2SF), a technology startup accelerator run by Naver. It was the first time in Naver’s history where it invested in a seed-stage startup participating in Naver’s own accelerator.

Naver was launched in June 1999, and today is the fifth-most-used search engine in the world. It claims to be the landing page for more than 25 million Korean users alone.

Company AI, Naver’s recent acquisition, was founded in 2016 and has focused on R&D in AI-related technologies. Since it joined Naver D2SF’s acceleration program in November 2016, it was provided with a working space and the full force of Navers’ infrastructure. Moreover, Naver D2SF facilitated Company AI’s technology improvement by arranging meetings between Company AI and Clova, an AI platform jointly developed by Naver and its messaging app subsidiary, Line.

Core technologies of Company AI lie in the realm of deep learning algorithms, optimization technology, mechanical reading, natural language understanding, and conversational modeling. Exceptionally, the technology developed by this research-based startup has low reliance on language, thus, making it easier to apply it to other multilingual services.

In the future, Company AI plans to fully utilize its technological achievements and experiences in advancing the development of Clova. And, while the alliance of Clova and Company AI will inevitably be strengthened, the startup will continue to maintain its independent entity so that it can freely carry on with its own research initiatives.

Yang Sang Hwan, leader of Naver D2SF said, “we are very proud to see Company AI joining Naver as they have been under our roof since the very beginning. We expect to have great synergy. With this acquisition finally falling through, Naver D2SF will expand investments and support for technology startups”

Kang Ji-hoon, CEO of Company AI said, “Since I already acknowledged the excellence of Naver’s corporate culture and enthusiasm during the time of acceleration, we did not hesitate to join Naver. We will try our best to make achievements in our research and collaborate with Clova.”

Naver will continue to actively invest in and acquire domestic and overseas AI companies to further promote AI ecosystem around Clova.

This article, entitled “South Korea’s ‘Google’, Naver, acquires an artificial intelligence startup, Company AI”, was written in Korean by Hye-in Seo of Platum, edited by AllTechAsia.

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