Saleswhale, a Singapore-based startup which uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help ventures in automating their sales emails, has raised $2.1 Mn in its fresh funding round. This seed funding was provided by VC firms Monk’s Hill Ventures, Gree Ventures and Wavemaker Partners, accompanying with a number of angel investors.
The angel investors who participated in this round include Dropbox employees Albert Ni, Pieter Walraven, two of first five employees, (who founded, which is now owned by Google, Pie), Juha Paananen (who sold Nonstop Games to King.com), Royston Tay (who sold Zopim to Zendesk) and Bowei Lee, CEO of LCY Chemical Corp.
The Investment Manager at GREE Ventures, Nikhil Kapur, said:
Sales till this date is largely a manual process. While companies are starting to put a structure to the chaotic sales process, humans are still unpredictable and inconsistent. Using machines to now automate the repetitive parts of this process to help sales teams sell better makes a lot of sense, and Saleswhale’s team, product, and vision is best poised to solve this problem.
Saleswhale is an automated sales assistant that helps companies follow up with inbound & stale leads, engage them in a two-way conversation and qualify them before routeing them to human sales representatives.
This automated sales assistant, called Engage, comes with its own name, email address, and converses with prospects in a human-like manner, with the capability to answer questions from potential prospects, and ask questions of its own to qualify them.
The seed money the company received is expected to go towards expansion and hiring efforts. Lim said the company may raise Series A round in around coming 12 months. It will hire more backend, data, machine-learning and natural language processing engineers.
Interestingly, this investment is a first seed deal for Monks’ Hill Ventures, the $80 million fund that is primarily focused on Series A companies, so Saleswhale may already have a major contributor to its next round depending on how things go.
Explaining the rationale behind how he secured the investment, Lim stated:
I guess the compelling reason is that in the near future, machines will take over and automate more and more parts of human labour — and that inefficiencies in sales processes are literally costing companies money in lost revenue. I would suppose that Saleswhale can grow into a huge company by addressing this problem for businesses.
Engage is available for a base rate fee, after which additional cost comes per usuage. There’s a free 14-day trial to allow new users to test the product without that initial commitment, but Saleswhale has removed the free usage option it had in place last year. The company isn’t saying how much revenue it pulls in, but Lim said that base fees account for around 40 percent of income with activity-based fees representing the rest.
Saleswhale was founded in December 2015 by Lim, Venus Wong and Ethan Le. Lim and Wong previously operated a mobile and data analytics consulting company, while Le was an early engineer at Viki, which was acquired by Rakuten for $200 million in September 2013. At present, it has a team of five, all of whom are engineers, with the company looking to expand its product and engineering teams with the latest investment.