Brazn secures US$3.65mil in seed funding over two rounds
By Digital News Asia May 28, 2019
- Investment came from Tin Men Fund 1, Brazn’s first and only venture investor
- This round will fund scaling of 3 solutions; next round will involve agriculture solution, Agrios
BRAZN Pte Ltd, headquartered in Singapore since 2016 with offices and businesses in Thailand and Malaysia, on May 27 inked a US$3.65 million (RM15.27 million) seed investment by Tin Men Fund I, a South-East Asia-focused, operationally intensive, B2B venture capital firm.
Tin Men is Brazn’s first and only venture investor, and the investment covers the current round, for the scaling up of its secure facilities solution, Buildos, and smart retail solution, Retailr, as well as the next round forward when the company plans to launch its agriculture solution, Agrios, in earnest.
Brazn started in July 2016 after founder and chief executive officer, Adrian Lee, decided he had had enough of building marketing tech components for advertising clients of WPP’s Grey Group where he had spent five years as CEO for Grey Digital Indonesia and Group CTO concurrently.
Lee wanted to get back to developing technology that addresses business problems with real ground impact. Lee, together with long-time collaborators, technologist Ong Su Hui, and user-experience specialist Ariff Razak, teamed up to explore the possibilities enabled by IoT and successfully built what they termed as an “IOT Operating System” – an open platform that is able to ingest various data protocols sent from any sensor device, digest and process these real-time data into actionable alerts and visualizations, and be integrated with existing business systems like POS, ERP, etc.
Launched in early 2017, the core platform worked well but found itself lacking in actual traction, as it depended on there being an existing ecosystem of partners who could use the platform to create point solutions.
Tin Men provided some early inputs even before becoming a shareholder, which Brazn leveraged on to bring to life three complete use cases – in smart security for sensitive facilities, retail IoT for real-time in-store analytics, and to improve soft crop agriculture.
In 2018, Brazn launched all three solutions, named Buildos, Retailr and Agrios respectively, and had, within a year, scored multiple successful pilots in Malaysia and Thailand. Examples include Loxley Public Company Limited (a conglomerate that runs one of Thailand’s largest IT systems integration businesses), Mochit Bus Terminal, two extensive convenience store operators in Malaysia and Thailand, Sunsweet in Chiangmai, and others.
Tin Men, having advised as well as connected Brazn to some of its customers over an extended due diligence phase, decided to invest after seeing the amount of interest and traction unlocked by Lee and his team, and their openness to working together to solve the hurdles they had faced earlier.
“We have built up an enormous amount of reciprocal trust with Adrian and the Brazn team. We are ecstatic that the strategic decisions and roadmap that Brazn and Tin Men have worked on together for over a year have begun unlocking the tremendous potential of the company. This not only validates our firm’s philosophy of forging genuine, long-term partnerships with founders, but also creates value for our investors now and into the future,” says Tin Men co-founder Jeremy Tan.
On Brazn’s differentiation from a growing competitive landscape, Lee says, “The retail IoT space is filled with either point solutions that work in isolation, or large implementations that are not practical in today’s fast-moving world that needs on-demand SaaS solutions. Brazn brings deep domain knowledge, big data and business visualizations in one platform, that holistically addresses the real-world operational needs of retailers of every size.”
He adds, “Similarly, in the facilities space, we are not just another security platform provider or a video management provider. What we focus on is a layer of data intelligence that will change the game in terms of how facilities and properties are being managed that affects not only security but also energy savings, customer convenience and full automation.”