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Canadian AI firm Proto invests $1M in Taiwan for voice technology in low-resourced languages


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Proto, the leader for inclusive multilingual contact centre automation, expands its Taiwan machine learning development team for expansion of its proLocal™ natural language processing (NLP) engine into voice understanding for low-resourced languages, such as Cebuano, Kinyarwanda, and Nyanja. 

The $1M investment was announced jointly by Canada’s AI firm Proto and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ottawa, Canada. It follows several new initiatives by the Taiwanese government that will support AI companies and incentivise AI adoption in Taiwan, including $300M USD per year in funding per the government’s AI Taiwan Action Plan.

As a leader in hardware innovation and open data publication, Taiwan is well positioned to make significant strides in AI, and the new initiatives have spurred domestic and international research partnerships. Taiwan is a key player in the supply chain for advanced chips, making AI research and application a natural next step in the region. Proto’s investment will allow it to support 5 jobs, and work closely with the Taiwan government on strategic expansion into emerging markets in particular need of Proto’s novel supervisory technology (SupTech) solution, such as deployments in the Philippines and Rwanda.

This deeper integration with Taiwan is a return to Proto’s roots. CEO Curtis Matlock founded Proto at National Taiwan University, where he studied Chinese on the Huayu Enrichment Scholarship. The company since established its HQ in Canada and went to become a leading vendor of local language chatbots for businesses and governments in Africa and Asia, with the announcement of its Series A round earlier this year

Proto’s proprietary proLocal™ NLP engine enables customers and citizens to receive immediate support in low-resourced languages — major written and spoken languages across the Global South which lack the data volume required for effective machine learning models. The new investment in Taiwan will enable Proto to further develop voice capability for these languages, leveraging the large data pipelines it has built across several emerging markets. 

Proto CEO Curtis Matlock said: “Proto was founded, in part, on Taiwanese ingenuity within the machine learning industry. As such, our Canadian company and its global mission is best served by deeper integration with Taiwan’s unique talent base. Conversational AI solutions like Proto’s thrive on cross-cultural collaboration, and countries such as Taiwan continue to play an important role in our expansion."
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada Representative Ho-jen Tseng said: “Taiwan has two major advantages in the development of artificial intelligence: excellent talents and a complete industrial chain, including semiconductors, information communications, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals and other industries that have accumulated technological advantages and are fully integrated with the global supply chain. The application of artificial intelligence technology in medical care, smart cities, digital government services, smart manufacturing, and precision agriculture has become a future trend. We welcome Proto to expand investment in Taiwan and make Taiwan an operation centre for the Asia-Pacific region."

About Proto

Proto is the leader for multilingual contact centre automation in emerging markets. Proto’s AI Customer Experience (AICX) platform is powered by proprietary natural language processing (NLP) for under-resourced and local languages. Proto's novel deep-learning techniques and regulatory partnerships maximise customer experience, protection, and lifetime value.

About the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) is an organization promoting trade and cooperation between Taiwan and partnering countries. It also fosters the exchange of academic knowledge, information, and cultural awareness and provides consular services such as passports and other documentation to travellers and Taiwanese citizens.

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