The round is led by existing investor Rakuten Ventures, Rakuten’s investment arm. It was also co-led by WI Harper Group, which specializes in cross-border investments between the US and China, and early-stage venture capital firm Enspire Capital.
Oliver Tan, ViSenze co-founder and CEO points out how rare it is these days to raise series B, as not a lot of players in Singapore writes these checks.
Oliver attributes investor interest to the startup’s tech and the traction it has achieved in the last couple of years.
It’s one thing to have cool technology, but you also have to show it translates to a product that solves problems and that clients are willing to pay money for.
What does ViSenze do?
ViSenze builds visual search and image recognition software, specializing in ecommerce and retail applications. Its tech combines computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to provide image-based search and item recommendations.
The company’s tech is used by ecommerce providers in several markets like Rakuten, Lazada, British fashion marketplace Asos, Indian fashion e-tailer Myntra and Flipkart.
The company says its revenue has grown more than 300% year on year. Oliver declines to provide specifics, but states that search volume increased tenfold in the last year compared to the previous one.
Funding money put to use
The funding will enable ViSenze to build up its research and development team, in order to increase its scale and capacity to deal with global search volumes.
ViSenze is working toward new applications of its technology, including visual recognition search on video – which is in prototype stage for now.
The team will open more international offices. Headquartered in Singapore, it also has an office in San Francisco. It wants to add London, India, and China to that list. “China is a very different market, our strategy is more driven by partnerships, but our long term goal is to build market presence through local tie-up.”
A version of this appeared in Tech in Asia on September 15. Read the full version here.