Idein, Announces Newest Round of Investment Funding
Sony Corporation of America - 08/19/2019
TOKYO, Aug. 19, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Idein Inc. CEO Koichi Nakamura today announced that the company has secured a total of $7.8 million investment in its latest round of funding, which was led by Japan-based venture capital firm Global Brain.
Joining the round were new investors Hakuodo DY Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV(Innovation Growth Ventures), and Sony Financial Ventures. Also participating was DG Daiwa Ventures, who had previously invested in Idein.
Idein has been developing Actcast, an IoT platform service which links events and data in the physical world to the Web with deep learning inference on edge devices. Idein's solution could be applied to businesses in a wide range of fields, including security, industrial IoT, and retail marketing. A beta version of Actcast was released in July 31st, 2019.
Idein plans to use the raised capital to continue its work on the development of Actcast by acquiring new talent, improving the business environment and strengthening its financial base.
Comments from Investors
Global Brain, Naoki Kamimaeda, Partner / AI & Cyber Security and Europe Office Representative
We have been the lead investor in Idein for the past two years, since its initial institutional round. It is very rare to find Deep Tech startups, like Idein, that are not only highly technical but also have had a clear product concept since inception.
Expectations from large overseas companies for Actcast are high, and we are pleased that Idein is making steady progress towards the global core platform in the AIoT era.
Global Brain is a venture capital founded in Japan that sees itself as a challenger in the overseas market. We want to do our best to support Idein's challenges as it grows into a global company. We welcome major Japanese companies such as Hakuhodo DY Ventures, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, and Sony Financial Ventures as new investors in this round. Together with existing investors such as DG Lab and Aisin Seiki, we would like to raise Idein as a global AI startup that originated in Japan.
Hakuhodo DY Ventures Ltd., Akihiko Tokuhisa, President & CEO
We expect that the optimizing compiler technology developed by Idein will accelerate the social implementation of AI technology. We look forward to working with Idein to realize new futures that will enrich people's lives by marrying Idein's technology and the Hakuhodo DY Group's sei-katsu-sha insights and creativity to depict the possibilities of new information contact points arising from edge computing technology innovation.
Sony Innovation Fund by IGV(Innovation Growth Ventures, established by Sony Corporation and Daiwa Capital Holdings Co., Ltd.), Gen Tsuchikawa, Representative Director
Idein is a startup company with an exceptional engineering team. They have advanced software technology and are able to provide unique solutions for various challenges in the B2B IoT field. Idein has overcome significant hurdles in terms of cost, efficiency, and functions to be in a place of advancement in this edge computing field. We expect Idein to have further growth and provide breakthrough experiences for both their customers and partners.
Sony Financial Ventures Inc., Junji Nakamura, Director, member of Board
Idein is an excellent company trying to realize their vision of, "Making it possible to handle the real-world events with software." Its engineers are sincerely delighted by the work they provide and cognizant of their social responsibilities and contribution. We at Sony Financial Group would like to create excitement with the power of technology, and we feel great joy in working with Idein.
DG Daiwa Ventures Inc., Masahito Okuma, Representative Director
We believe that edge computing is a significantly crucial elemental technology as IoT is rapidly progressing in various situations, such as smart cities and connected cars. We appreciate that Idein's technology and Actcast are essential to the spread of edge computing. We have been involved since the company's first raise and will continue to provide support to accelerate Idein's business through partnerships with DG Lab's sponsors and our Limited Partners.
Actcast is a platform service in which users can obtain physical world information with deep learning inference on edge devices and link them to the Web to construct advanced IoT solutions for businesses in a wide range of fields, including security, industrial IoT, and retail marketing.
The rapid growth of devices and data connected to the Internet, the emergence of computationally intensive applications, such as deep learning, and increased privacy concerns, have created an ever-increasing demand for edge computing performed on end devices, rather than servers.
Actcast also addresses two of the major technical challenges for building an edge computing system: executing high-load computations on small and inexpensive devices and managing both devices and software remotely.
Actcast solves these problems and allows users to build and operate edge computing systems quickly, efficiently and inexpensively. Users can construct systems that handle real-world information using deep learning inference much more quickly and inexpensively than before using Idein's technology.
Focus on Developer Experience
Actcast supports the Raspberry Pi  series, a small and inexpensive computer that is favored by many developers, as its first device. Raspberry Pi has a significant hardware and software ecosystem, user community, and fit for various projects.
Actcast's software development kit (SDK) enables users to develop software for edge devices that utilizes deep learning models on Raspberry Pi, without extra hardware. Since our SDK does not depend on technology that changes mathematical models, such as model compression, users can use models trained with existing deep learning frameworks such as Tensorflow  and Chainer  with the same accuracy. (Note: SDK and developer consoles are only available in advance for companies that have joined Actcast Partners as of today.)
You can view a demo here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyR183n0ZXA
In the modern software industry, it is essential to make improvements while operating the system. This is especially difficult with edge-computing systems, as the device and software are placed in the field. Actcast solves this problem by enabling, for example, the remote installation of software to edge devices.
Idein aims to launch a marketplace for applications for edge devices at the time of official release scheduled this year. At that point, users will be able to sell their applications developed using Actcast's SDK as vendors. Apps sold in the marketplace will be sold on a per device and per day basis.
Users who develop solutions for end-users can focus on building services and businesses that uses real-world data using existing applications. Anyone developing an app for edge devices can do business that scales in proportion to the number of devices and days used.
There are currently 24 companies participating in Actcast's partner program, as of August 15th, 2019. Companies that participate in this program receive benefits, such as early access to the SDK or functions of the service, provision of information on development milestones, and participation in workshops.
Please refer to this document for program details and how to join:
We will continue to expand the program and seek collaboration with partners and companies.
 Raspberry Pi is a single board computer, developed by Raspberry Pi Foundation, that is popular worldwide and has sold over 25 million units (as of March 2018)
 TensorFlow is a deep learning framework developed by Google and published as open source
 Chainer is a deep learning framework developed by Preferred Networks and published as open source.
SOURCE Sony Innovation Fund; Idein Inc.