Interview with Swee Kiat Lim, Co Founder of AI Startup Pebblely

Swee Kiat Lim is the Co Founder and CEO of Pebblely, a Singaporean based startup that specializes in AI image generation for products. 

Pebblely can help small business owners streamline product photography without the need of big budgets, creative agencies and designers.  You are able to instantly create photos in any setting for moodboards, mockups, social media posts and advertisements.

Swee Kiat will be speaking at GITEX on the 18th October, Hall 9, AI Stage at 1:30pm covering the topic of Generative AI media for the real world. 

Prior to his conference, we interview Swee Kiat on the development of Pebblely, what future developments might look like and some of the challenges he has faced in the AI startup landscape.


Pebblely is a fantastic tool, particularly for startups without the budgets larger brands might have for product photography. How will you continue to innovate and improve?

We are always keeping an eye on new developments in this space! In particular, video generation has always been a big request from many users and we are seeing video models starting to become very viable for commercial use in this space.

We recently launched a prototype on and will be adding video generation to Pebblely very soon! More generally, we are also starting to engage with more researchers and the open-source community, in order to stay up-to-date on what is just over the horizon.

With the success from Pebblely, we also now have the bandwidth to invest resources in high-potential research directions that will help to push the frontiers of AI generation. 


What have been the biggest challenges launching Pebblely with so many other AI startups launching over the past 12 months?

The pace of progress in this space has simply been overwhelming. When we first launched Pebblely in January 2023, the app felt like magic to many of our users. That was a big reason why we went viral across many different social media platforms. But fast forward 6 months later, with the prevalence of ChatGPT, Midjourney, and other AI applications, consumers are quickly becoming accustomed to the wonders of AI and jaded at what had seemed incredible just months ago.

The open-source community has also played a big role in democratizing access to the latest research. The big challenge is how to stand out as an AI company, amidst the influx of all these new applications. But the rapid progress and democratized access is also an incredible opportunity.

In this constantly shifting space, the playing field is leveled and small bootstrapped teams (like Pebblely!) can build products just as amazing as well-established tech companies.


Do you have any advice for startups within the AI space, or any learnings you would like to share from your experience so far?

The most important thing to remember is that we are first and foremost a business. This means we earn money by solving other people's problems. Specifically in the AI space, it is easy to get distracted by the latest AI research and forget about whether our product actually solves any problems.

At Pebblely, we always try to get a prototype in front of users as soon as possible, to test if it is a viable product, or just a fancy gimmick. As a bootstrapped company, we also tend to be a little more short-sighted, simply because we do not have the runway of other well-funded startups.

This means we cut our losses on projects and features that do not fare well with users, so that we can focus our resources on what people really need. 


What are you looking forward to at GITEX this year?

I am excited to chat with all of the other founders who will be attending GITEX this year! It has been a really exciting year for AI startups and I am looking forward to learning about all the different applications that have emerged.

Beyond startups, I am also looking forward to engaging with professionals and government officials in this space. This wave of AI applications has also catalyzed many related problems and challenges in society and governance. I have a keen interest in the field of AI ethics, which has also become more pertinent with the ubiquity of AI applications today.

In my capacity as a business owner and an academic, I am curious about the strategies and policies that are being considered by governments and think tanks across the world.

Source: Interview