Pakistani AI Startup Raises Seed Capital at $4 Million Valuation, But How Relevant Is it?

Developers of Dante have acquired seed funding at a $4 million valuation. Dante’s parent company, baseH, has developed one of the world’s first AI-driven content writing software and previewed the solution stack at an event in Karachi this past weekend. The event was attended by media, executive management of banks, heads of financial institutions, brokerage firms and software companies.

Speaking at the event, Federal Information Minister Khalid Maqbool expressed the critical transformation taking place across industries, businesses and operations, an inevitable consequence of the fourth industries wave driven by technology companies. Coining the term, ‘data is the new oil’, the minister expressed the importance of data in growing economies.

Dante converts raw data into meaningful information, creating insightful narratives for investors and users to make timely, sensible and informed decisions. baseH will continue to work closely with media houses and financial advisories to create a transformational change with predictive analytics, and expand into the healthcare and law sectors.

The startup has attracted the strong backing of the Elahi Group of Companies which, for the financial industry, is a big confidence booster. Danish Elahi explains, “We tested Dante’s Pakistan Stock Exchange analysis by sending it’s generated report, a few minutes after the closing of the exchange, to a group of brokers and analysts. We were blown away with the results and the response we received. Dante is already delivering on what the world will be moving towards.” And that’s what makes the Elahi Group so confident with their investment.

The group has already started working with media houses and financial analyst houses before expanding into other sectors.

The Role of AI in Media and Financial Services

Today’s fast-paced media has a number of challenges and we feel that a solution like Dante is apt to solve most of them. The founders demonstrate how Dante scours the web, picking up keywords and matching them with trends in order to acquire all the data it needs to be able to create a story. Beyond the data, keywords and trends, Dante’s algorithms empower it to assess the sentiment of a particular event, who the influencers are thereby intelligently predicting where and how the trend will grow. Based on all this information, the solution can then generate an unbiased content item that is based on facts that can be cited and referred back to.

While ERP solutions by the big box solutions have been able to aggregate this data from social media and the web since the past decade, the ability to convert it into a meaningful informative news piece has been missing.

Challenge 1: Breaking News First

With the number of publishers, every website, blog and news media outlet competes to break a news piece first. It helps if the news is accurate and factually correct. Having the information available to make timely and informed decisions, the same applies to brokers. People need accurate information quickly so that an informed decision can be made. We firmly believe that Dante will help news outlets scour all the metadata available online and deliver news faster, more efficiently and more aligned to reflect basic facts that are otherwise sporadically published. Nothing creates more anxiety than not having the full story in one go. Sure, bots have crawled through the web since the beginning of internet time, but this is a far cry from the aimless crawling through keywords and metatags.

Imagine the scope this can have for emergency services, coordination of disease outbreaks or effective traffic management.

Challenge 2: Getting the Complete Picture

As a financial analyst or journalist, you need to know what the complete story is. This includes integrating what an opinion-maker or expert may have stated about a specific topic. Doing this manually is just not a feasible task anymore.

Challenge 3: Understanding Trends and Predictions

A trend takes a long time to develop and you often have to know the factors that resulted in an event, how other incidents and metadata correlates and influences an end result. Only then can a human really assess the direction things are heading in. Predictive analysis is possible once you have all the data infront of you.

Challenge 4: Unbiased Reporting

The source of Dante’s content remains the web: news agencies, bloggers, influencers and everyday users of the web. At the end of the day, Dante is automating the generation of an article based on the fact and sentiment that already exists, thereby eliminating personal bias in its reporting to a great extent. Unbiased reporting is what enables humans to then formulate their own opinions and keep a healthy discourse going.

Challenge 5: Visual vs Editorial

What we appreciated about Dante’s offering was the generation of editorial content which converts to video. Keeping with the trend that visual content is consumed more than editorial, Dante will play a key role in automating a complete, otherwise resource intensive content supply chain. Having translations in multiple languages would be on the cards.

Will this process replace the news anchor? Hardly. Again, in the interest of speed, efficiency and integrity of the report, Dante makes sense. For opinion pieces and in-depth journalism, skilled anchors and journalists will still be needed.

The Way Forward

Dante has already accumulated a great deal of praise as the potential disruptor for intelligent report creation and ‘robo-journalism’ in pockets everywhere from Wall Street to China, it will be interesting to see where it goes from here. Will being a Pakistan-based company allow baseH to receive the recognition it’s development and products deserve? Considering they landed second place in the 2018 industry awards, yet have one of the highest valuations a Pakistani company has raised, makes you wonder if they will be able to do more if they set up in another country. Perhaps baseH will hopefully be able to run a sentimeter analysis on its own future in Pakistan.

What excites us about the solution stack is it integrates into any environment and platform, allowing the AI reader to potentially generate a lot of revenue. That and the fact that the team has a great balance of technology, finance and sales that is strongly aligned with the DNA of the promise tomorrow holds.

The team behind Dante has definitely solved a number of challenges today’s businesses face. It will be interesting to see just how quickly the world’s first AI-driven content writer plots its own destiny because it is, to say the least, extremely relevant.

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