SoftBank Ventures Korea Invests in Artificial Intelligence Company ObEN

SoftBank Ventures Korea furthers its AI vision by investing in ObEN:
a company that builds virtual identities to represent consumers in the
digital world

SEOUL, South Korea & PASADENA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#AI–Today, SoftBank Ventures Korea announced that its SB Next Media
Innovation Fund has invested in ObEN,
Inc. (ObEN), an artificial intelligence (AI) company. This funding
continues ObEN’s recent momentum and follows the company’s $7.7 million
Series A round in November 2016.

ObEN is an AI company that builds virtual identity technology for
consumers. Using ObEN, consumers can quickly create a photo-real avatar
using just a selfie and short voice recording. ObEN’s proprietary AI
technology then brings the avatar to life, allowing it to learn about
its human counterpart, from his or her mannerisms to basic daily

“In our search for the leading companies in the VR and AR space, we were
most excited by what we saw from ObEN, specifically around the unique
applications of artificial intelligence they’ve introduced,” said J.P.
Lee, partner and managing director of SoftBank Ventures Korea and
managing director of SB Next Media Innovation Fund. “They bring
best-in-class speech, computer vision and natural language processing
technology as well as a masterful team dedicated to the vision of
creating personal AI for every consumer. ObEN is a pioneer in the
evolution of AI and we are thrilled to announce our investment in the

The funding from SB Next Media Innovation Fund will drive market
research and outreach, and SoftBank Ventures Korea’s global network will
help ObEN connect with major players in the space domestically and

“We see this strategic investment as a major stepping stone and are
excited to use SB Next Media Innovation Fund’s support to expand our
presence internationally,” said Nikhil Jain, cofounder and CEO of ObEN,
Inc. “ObEN is positioned to define artificial intelligence and its
applications for consumers and the validation from a powerhouse like
SoftBank Ventures Korea will only serve to fuel our mission. We consider
ourselves fortunate to have access to their expertise, which will help
accelerate our vision of enhancing the appeal of AR, VR and IoT consumer
experiences across the world.”

Launched in December 2016, SB Next Media Innovation Fund is focused on
investing in media content, platform and technologies that can be
applied to the content business, including virtual reality and augmented
reality. It was established to help companies like ObEN reach global
markets and, together, SB Next Media Innovation Fund and ObEN will help
bring captivating experiences to consumers worldwide.

About SoftBank Ventures Korea

Established in 2000, SoftBank Ventures Korea has formed more than 12
funds and has invested approximately 377 million USD, equivalent, across
210 startup companies (2016 2H). SBVK is a venture capital subsidiary of
SOFTBANK Group, one of the largest technology and telecommunications
corporations in the world, focused on mobile communications, broadband
infrastructure, fixed-line telecommunications, and internet culture.
SBVK is committed to investing in and supporting companies and
entrepreneurs with disruptive technologies and innovative ideas to
change the world.

About ObEN

ObEN, an artificial intelligence (AI) company, creates smart avatars for
every consumer and celebrity, providing them with a personal AI to
represent them in the digital world. ObEN’s proprietary AI technology
quickly combines a person’s voice and image to create a 3D virtual self
that looks like, sounds like and performs skills to match the user’s
mannerisms, behavior and habits, enabling never before possible social
and virtual interactions. Founded in 2014, ObEN is an HTC VIVE X
portfolio company and is located in Pasadena, California at leading
technology incubator Idealab. To learn more about ObEN, please visit

ObEN is a trademark of ObEN, Inc.


Inner Circle Labs for ObEN
Brittany Votto, 415-684-9406