The decision to back all of these companies was not only the result of each startup’s impressive AI potential, but also the challenges of lockdown restrictions and the inability to travel globally.
Skymind’s senior team was confined to looking for talent in Malaysia where they were based during the pandemic. Fortunately, there was great local talent available, and Skymind acted swiftly to back the top players within the ecosystem.
Commenting on its first series of investments, Shawn Tan, CEO of Skymind said:
“Each firm is headed up by a disruptive and tenacious founder that is set on creating technology with the biggest social impact and getting their ideas to market as swiftly as possible. With our support we can achieve this because Skymind’s approach is totally different.”
“We are a new type investor – one that is more focused on venture building than equity share. Skymind looks mainly at AI innovations that are good for society and not just their business value – and then we work closely with the entrepreneurs to bring their companies to market by supplying them with an entire suite of service support, from financial backing to corporate client introductions and talent acquisition. Companies know they have a true partner in us.”
The Skymind team plans to invest in more companies in 2021, particularly across Europe and specifically in the UK – which is renowned for its historical support for the industry and is widely considered the premier European hub for artificial intelligence.
“It’s important to understand what’s happening on the ground before you back a company. You need to meet the founders, understand the proposition – it’s this hands-on approach that is key – and once lockdown lifts, we expect to expand our investment reach and look globally for talent – something that can only be achieved when business travel is possible again,” said Shawn.
“We know that talent comes from everywhere – and will be hunting for the best in 2021. We are excited by what 2021 will bring and look forward to meeting our next cohort and helping them to build, scale and monetize their ideas.”