Before joining Appier in September, Hsu built a communications team for Google Taiwan and Hong Kong from ground up, for more than seven years. Previously she led marketing communications at TomTom Asia, Dopod (now HTC) and BenQ.
Now as CMO of Appier—the first such role for the ad-tech startup—Hsu oversees marketing, public relations and internal communications.
Appier has also today closed US$23 million in Series B funding from UOB Venture Management (UOBVM), Sequoia, JAFCO Asia, TransLink Capital, and MediaTek Ventures. In total, Appier has raised US$30 million since it was founded in 2012.
The startup will use the funding to fuel its next phase of expansion in Japan and "strengthen the research and development team behind its cross-screen AI technology".
“We are living in a post-mobile era, the era of cross-screen,” said ChihHan Yu (游直翰), CEO and co-founder of Appier, who added that the startup clocked over 300 per cent growth in the past year. “It’s almost impossible for advertisers to anticipate and manually program each campaign to reach consumers with the ad they are most likely to respond to at various points of the day. Artificial intelligence is the best approach to resolve this complexity."
Appier prefers to call itself an "artificial-intelligence empowered cross-screen technology company". Its fact sheet of core services
claims the AI comes into play in determining how multiple devices actually represent a single user and deciding when and where to buy ads. The company isn't the only one active in this area. For example, Lotame makes some similar claims
, particularly about identifying users.
Still, the funding the company has managed to secure must be seen as an endorsement.
"Appier has assembled a team of very accomplished AI scientists, for solving a very important and challenging set of problems in the cross-screen internet era," Shailendra Singh, managing director of Sequoia Capital India Advisors, said in a release. "Their stellar growth across multiple countries, borne out of results delivered for 500 advertisers, gives us high conviction that Appier can continue to scale rapidly." Appier was the first Taiwan-based startup picked by Sequoia Capital for investment.
According to Yu, "making cross-screen easy" with AI is actually a great technical challenge. "I’ve worked in AI for over 15 years, and have worked on self-driving cars, robotic dogs, and complex multi-agent robots to help polio survivors walk," he said. "But to be honest I’ve found building cross-screen AI is harder than building robots, which is one reason I’ve found it so rewarding."