Strategic alliance drives the future of retail by adopting technologies that bring intelligent avatars using AI, AR and VR for concierge services to retail outlets
HONG KONG & PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 9, 2018–
ObEN Inc., an artificial intelligence (AI) company that is building a decentralized AI platform for intelligent avatars, today announced that it has raised $10 million from K11, founded by entrepreneur Adrian Cheng. This strategic funding continues the growth of ObEN’s AI technology which enables users to quickly create a Personal AI, an intelligent 3D avatar that is authenticated and registered on the blockchain. This brings ObEN’s total funding to date to more than $23.7 million.
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The flagship Shanghai K11 Art Mall (Photo: Business Wire)
The funding from K11 will drive product development, deployment on the blockchain, and will help ObEN integrate their technology in retail, real estate and hospitality applications.
“ObEN is at the forefront of creating intelligent avatars that enhance the consumer experience,” says Nikhil Jain, co-founder and CEO of ObEN. “With this strategic investment from K11, we are able to reach millions of new customers and create experiences that will shape the future of retail.”
K11, the brainchild of entrepreneur and business innovator Adrian Cheng, is a pioneering multi-faceted brand rooted in culture and interconnected by three core values: art, nature and people. Its ecosystem features the world’s first museum-retail concept, K11 Art Mall. Its Hong Kong and Shanghai flagships opened in 2009 and 2013 respectively. ObEN marks the first AI technology investment from the company.
Motivated by the belief that the future of retail lives in the worlds of AI, AR and VR, the strategic alliance offers opportunities for intelligent avatars, personal concierge services and new virtual shopping experiences. ObEN’s Personal AI (PAI) quickly creates a 3D avatar that looks, sounds and behaves like the user, and can do things on their behalf. Furthermore, ObEN’s PAI is being deployed on the blockchain, which provides an unprecedented level of security.
With a PAI concierge, customers are offered up to the moment information, retail guides and endless shopping tips to help keep each outing as fulfilling as possible. In addition, through projects like AI Stars, a joint venture between ObEN and S.M. Entertainment, celebrities will be able to create unique cross cultural experiences for consumers and retail outlets alike.
“ObEN’s Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI) platform simplifies the implementation of artificial intelligence technologies for real life applications,” said Adrian Cheng, founder of K11. “K11 is committed to localizing the PAI platform and bringing an immersive AI experience for visitors at all K11 projects.”
ObEN’s Personal AI technology will be available in early 2018. Learn more at projectpai.com.
ObEN is an artificial intelligence (AI) company that is building a decentralized AI platform for intelligent avatars, enabling never before possible social and virtual interactions. The company’s technology allows users to create intelligent 3D avatars that look, sound, and behave like them. Deployed on the blockchain, ObEN’s Personal AI (PAI) technology enables users to create, use, and manage their own PAI on a secure, decentralized platform. Founded in 2014, ObEN is a Tencent, Softbank Ventures Korea and HTC Vive X portfolio company and is located at Idealab in Pasadena, California. To learn more about ObEN, please visit oben.com.
About K11 and K11 Investment
K11 was founded in 2008 by entrepreneur and business innovator Adrian Cheng. The pioneering multi-faceted brand is rooted in culture and interconnected by three core values: art, nature and people. Its ecosystem of business, cultural, technological and charitable enterprises is a manifestation of the founder’s constant search for ways to disrupt stagnant industries, and foster cross-cultural dialogues. It spans a wide array of touchpoints: the world’s first museum-retail concept K11 Art Malls; its state-of-the-art office spaces, K11 Ateliers; its open education platform, K11 Kulture Academy; the curated K11 Design Stores; the Terrarium-inspired transformative retail space K11 Natural; and K11 Art Foundation, China’s first private not-for-profit to incubate Chinese artists and curators. By 2023 the brand will have gained a footprint in nine cities in Greater China.
K11 is the investment arm of New World Development – a Hong Kong-based conglomerate of which Cheng is Executive Vice-chairman and General Manager. Its businesses range from real estate and retail, to hospitality. Among K11’s growing portfolio is DayDayCook, China’s most successful online cooking channel, with over 200 million monthly views. DayDayCook’s first experiential studio opened in Shanghai K11 Art Mall in December 2017.