An Australian AI startup run by Google Australia’s former MD just raised $8.8 million

COO and Daisee co-founder Frederick Charette (left) with the team and CEO Richard Kimber (right). supplied

Daisee, an Australian artificial intelligence (AI) startup that finds commercial software applications for university research, has raised AU$8.8 million in a Series A funding.

The business was co-founded in August last year by COO Frederick Charette and CEO Richard Kimber, whose CV includes Google’s first Australian MD, ANZ Bank exec and CEO of Australian foreign exchange group OFX, as well as chairing tech startup Unlockd Media.

Daisee went official last month after six months in beta mode. There are now 22 employees, with offices in Sydney and Melbourne.

The company’s software is based on AI platform Maestro, developed by Deakin University, which launched its own $20 million Applied Artificial Intelligence Institute (known as A2I2) for research into AI systems late last year. Deakin is an investor in Daisee.

Daisee is using AI research from Deakin, the University of NSW, and other to create software applications for companies, developing apps for both structured and unstructured data.

The $8.8 million raise was led by Sydney-based Alium Capital, whose startup investment portfolio includes the likes of Credible, Unlockd, Nitro, Healthengine, Stockpot, Hit100 and Glamazon.

Kimber says the funds will go towards hiring more software engineers and data scientists for Daisee’s AI programs, which are “a unique proposition in the market”.

“Australia is at a tipping point on AI, and many companies are beginning to appreciate the competitive advantage to be gained from investing in real AI solutions,” he said.

“This investment demonstrates how well placed Daisee is to service that increasing demand in the market. With the very best academic research at our disposal, combined with the team’s commercial and technical acumen, we can help companies drive efficiencies to gain and maintain a competitive advantage.”

Kimber said his company’s research shows Australia is at risk of falling behind internationally, with the global average for enlisting AI solutions at 54% while only a third of local companies are using AI.