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AI human developer MINDs Lab aims for November IPO

Creating AI roles for jobs from broadcasters and bank staff, the startup aims for market capitalization up to 180 bn won

By Nov 03, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Taejoon Yoo, CEO of MINDs Lab
Taejoon Yoo, CEO of MINDs Lab

South Korea’s top artificial intelligence (AI) developer MINDs Lab Inc. is aiming to list on the Kosdaq market within this month. While the market capitalization after the IPO is expected to be between 160 billion won ($135.4 million) to 180 billion won, the desired share price range has been set at 26,000 to 30,000 won.

NH Investment & Securities. Co. and Hana Financial Investment Co. will be the lead underwriter and co-manager of the listing, respectively.  

MINDS Lab Chief Executive Taejoon Yoo founded the AI products developer in 2014 in the hope that AI will enable people to enjoy life more. “One day, a question came to me: Will AI take over all human jobs? But I realized instead of that, the technology can enable people to focus on more creative jobs and enjoy increased time for leisure,” he said. 

Focused on big data-based businesses in the beginning stage, MINDs Lab settled down to AI development in 2017. Its first AI role, launched in 2019, was as an insurance company’s customer service assistant.

“The AI has recently started replacing some human customer service personnel,” Yoo said. “It functions efficiently in many ways: AI assistants can work at odd hours and can thus alleviate job stress for humans. Also, their average insurance contract success rate is 57%, which is higher than human representatives' 40%.”  

MINDs Lab customizes AI for businesses by integrating its 40 in-house created AI engines and a "maum orchestra," an application programming interface (API) connector that helps data exchanges between software.

The AI developer said it has secured the world’s top-quality lip-sync technology, which helps people accept AI with less resistance.

The company in March successfully launched an AI human called M1, which can recognize and understand human faces and voices. M1 is being introduced to many industries in Korea such as banking, broadcasting, security and adult day care.

For example, a Shinhan Bank branch in Anyang, Gyeonggi-do, employs a MINDS Lab AI human who greets visitors and assists clients with transactions. MBC uses one as an announcer and KBS Radio employs one as a weather forecaster. 

“Human-based broadcasting was almost impossible due to costly staffing and studio production before. Now, AI saves nearly 90% of the cost and makes the work process easy by simply entering the script into the software,” Yoo said. 

Yoo plans to further upgrade the AI technology through the listing. “We’ll invest 15 billion won, attracted through the low end of the public offering price range, into AI human research and development and high-performance server expansion. Our goal is to achieve market capitalization of 1 trillion won within two years,” he said.

MINDs Lab aims to supply AI to every household while accelerating an AI customization service for individual subscribers to maum orchestra, he added.

The Korean firm is expected to earn more than 9.3 billion won in sales this year, having the highest sales in Korea’s AI industry. Yoo said the company aims for more than 30 billion won in annual sales by 2023 while increasing the proportion of overseas sales to 30% in the future.

It also plans to expand the AI service in both the real world and the metaverse, a three-dimensional (3D) virtual space and augmented reality, following the IPO. “We are considering embedding AI to robots in real life and expanding our businesses through partnerships with metaverse platforms in virtual reality,” Yoo said.
 
Write to A-Young Yoon at youngmoney@hankyung.com

Jihyun Kim edited this article.

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