Sony Invests In Eigen Through Innovation Fund

Japanese technology giant Sony has made a ‘strategic investment’ in doc analysis company Eigen Technologies via its Innovation Fund. In addition, the insurance focused Anthemis Group, has also made an investment in Eigen that should help its expansion in that sector.

The twin investments are not part of an official funding round. The last notable funding took place as a follow-on to a B round last March for $5m, which included ING Ventures as an investor. The main B round was in 2019 for $37m. Not including the two new investments, the NLP-driven doc analysis business has received over $60m, including money from Temasek and Goldman Sachs.

Eigen would not give details of the values of the two new investments, or how they were structured, suggesting that they were perhaps not that large, especially as they were outside a main funding round. That said, they probably have more strategic significance in terms of gaining traction in certain markets, rather than in pure financial terms.

The London-based company, which has offices also in Portugal and the US, said: ‘The new investment from Anthemis will support Eigen’s ongoing expansion into the insurance market through its experience and global ecosystem. FT Partners has listed Anthemis as the most active InsurTech investor across the industry. Eigen is also among the first investments from Anthemis’ latest InsurTech fund.’

While in relation to Sony they said: ‘The Sony Innovation Fund, through its APAC presence, will help enable Eigen to expand its presence in that market and enhance its Asian language capabilities and the development of corporate use cases.’

Commenting on the additional capital, Lewis Liu, Co-founder and CEO of Eigen, said: ‘The new investment from Anthemis and Sony Innovation Fund represents a significant opportunity for Eigen to supercharge our move into the insurance market, as well as expand the development of both our corporate use cases and Asian language capabilities.’

And Gen Tsuchikawa, Chief Investment Manager for Sony Innovation Fund, concluded: ‘Eigen’s unique AI-driven document processing platform has been adopted by the world’s largest insurance companies and financial services organisations. We look forward to working with Eigen to help support the company’s expansion into Asia.’

Is this a big deal?

Well, they won’t say how much money has been stumped up, so it’s hard to judge on that score. But, Eigen seems to be able to get very large businesses to keep backing it, from sovereign wealth funds to global banks, and now one of the world’s iconic technology companies, albeit through their innovation investment fund. So, it’s hard not to see this as an impressive feat.

More broadly it provides Eigen with more runway to grow, and more opportunities to expand their business in important markets. Eigen has never been focused just on legal, and insurance is an area it really wants to expand into – which makes sense, as they have billions of policy documents and are pressing hard to become more efficient to reduce costs. A great place for an NLP doc analysis company to be.

The news comes just 24 hours after that of Kira selling up to Litera. And of course, as mentioned in the main news piece yesterday, Kira CEO, Noah Waisberg, will be taking around 30 or so staff with him to build a new business called Zuva that will focus on serving the corporate market – which is more where Eigen is also focused.