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Li Ka-shing-backed Fano Labs considers new financing amid inbound inquiries – founder

Fano Labs, a Hong Kong-headquartered AI language technologies developer, will consider another round of financing in mid-2023 on the back of inbound investor inquiries, said founder and CEO Dr. Miles Wen.

The potential deal may be a Series B round and would offer a minority stake though a new share issuance, he said without providing the size.

Fano Labs is receptive to approaches from financial advisors for the fundraising with the referral for investors, said Wen, adding that it prefers investors who can help expand its client pool.

Established in 2015, Fano Labs has raised over USD 20m to date, according to Wen. It raised between USD 5m and USD 10m in its latest financing round in October 2022, he said.

The latest fundraising was supported by Hong Kong-based Gobi Partners’ AEF Greater Bay Area Fund as well as New Vision Capital, as announced. Earlier backers include Li Ka-shing's private investment firm Horizons Ventures, Saltagen Ventures, and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP).

The company’s founding management team owns the largest stake with an around 50% shareholding, said Wen.

The possible Series B proceeds will be used to set up and make local hires for a new office in Singapore, which it aims to establish around the middle of this year, said Wen. It is also exploring potential forays into Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, he said.

Fano Labs’ revenue in 2022 saw a 3x year-on-year (YOY) growth, according to Wen. It targets to double the revenue size by the end of 2023, he added.

The company counts Cathay Pacific [HKG: 0293] and China Mobile [HKG: 0941] among its roster of 40-50 banking and corporate clients, said Wen.

Spun-out of the University of Hong Kong, Fano Labs uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze human voices. It develops automatic speech recognition, speaker diarization, speaker verification, and natural language processing technologies to assist multilingual enterprises with customer services, compliance, risk management, and business insights.

The company has 65 employees across its offices in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou, Wen said.