ViSenze raises US$20 mil in Series C funding
By Digital News Asia February 21, 2019
- Round was co-led by Gobi Partners and Sonae IM
- Over 300 million shoppers use ViSenze today
VISENZE, the artificial intelligence company powering visual commerce, on Feb 20 announced it has raised US$20 million (RM81.65 million) in Series C funding.
Gobi Partners, a venture capital firm focusing on innovative technologies in China, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, and Sonae IM, a European-based corporate venture investor specialising in retail and telco tech as well as cyber-security.
Other participants in the funding round include new investors Tembusu ICT Fund, 31Ventures Global Innovation Fund, and Jonathan Coon’s Impossible Ventures, as well as existing investors Rakuten Ventures, WI Harper Group, Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) Ventures, Raffles Venture Partners, Enspire Capital, and UOB Venture Management.
Founded in 2012, ViSenze is experiencing significant global expansion with over 80 employees, offices in Singapore, China, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, and Japan, as well as global customers including leading retailers Rakuten, ASOS, Urban Outfitters, Zalora, and more.
The new financing will be used by ViSenze to provide advanced, vertically-focused visual commerce technology to retailers, brands, and media companies, as well as enhance its platform solutions through its partnerships with major smartphone manufacturers, making visual shopping possible on native camera lenses.
In addition to its partnerships with smartphone manufacturers including Samsung, LG, Huawei, and more, the company’s platform solutions have linked over 400 million products from over 800 major merchants and retailers on its global affiliate network.
“Visuals have incredible power and influence over buying decisions, therefore having visual search capabilities within mobile devices delivers a modern, smarter way to ensure discovery by consumers,” said ViSenze co-founder and chief executive officer Oliver Tan (pic, right). “The partners participating in this funding round share our mission to simplify the way people search and discover products that inspire them. We look forward to what’s ahead for ViSenze as we continue to develop our capabilities, our network, and our global reach.”
The latest investment follows a period of growth for ViSenze, with the company seeing a steady annual revenue growth rate of over 200% as well as its employee headcount tripling over the last three years.
This growth can be attributed to ViSenze’s work with leading retailers, brands, and media companies across North America, the United Kingdom, EMEA, South America, and APAC.
Through ViSenze’s scalable and reliable visual search capabilities, consumers are provided a more seamless, enjoyable online shopping experience by way of replacing keyword searches with digital imagery.
Today, over 300 million shoppers use ViSenze and over three million image search queries a day occur through ViSenze’s enterprise solutions; Search by Image, Shoppable UGC, View Similar Recommendations, and Shopping Assistant.
ViSenze’s proprietary image recognition technology makes online products more searchable through product features like style and occasion, visual attributes like colours and patterns, and is also used by major brands for visual trend analytics, social insights, price discovery, and competitive strategising.
“The e-commerce markets across the world continue to expand and shoppers are becoming more mobile-centric. As ViSenze helps their clients to capture this group of consumers and adapt to their shopping behavior, the opportunity to scale its business significantly presents itself,” said Gobi Partners managing director Dan Chong.
“ViSenze has emerged as a leading innovator in the visual search and image recognition space, and we are confident that ViSenze will continue creating disruptive innovation to dominate this rapidly growing market.”
“With more retailers and brands offering visual search capabilities as an option for consumers to accelerate the time to purchase and improve the buying experience, we see the technology continuing to shape the future of retail.
“Hence, after having thoroughly analysed this space, we were able to invest in the leading player, which will enable us to take part in this modern shopping era that is heavily driven by visual inspiration,” said Sonae IM chief executive officer Eduardo Piedade.
“We are thrilled to be on this journey with ViSenze as the company embarks on the next phase of growth and development and look forward to contributing to its success."
“When we first invested in ViSenze in 2014, retailers had just started seeing the benefits of powering product recommendations with image data,” said Rakuten Ventures partner Adit Swarup.
“Today, ViSenze not only powers recommendations for the largest brands in the world, but has helped pioneer a paradigm shift in ecommerce; helping consumers find products inside their favourite social media videos and images, as well as initiate a search directly from their camera app. Momentum has never been stronger for AI-driven product innovation in retailing, and we are proud to continue supporting ViSenze as an investor, partner, and client.”
Previously ViSenze raised a US$10.5 million (RM42.87 million) Series B round in 2016. With the current announcement, the company’s total funding amounts to US$34.5 million (RM140.84 million).