SINGAPORE, September 15, 2016 - ViSenze, the Artificial Intelligence company that develops breakthrough visual technology for e-commerce and digital businesses, announced today that it has successfully completed a USD 10.5 million Series B round. The financing will be used to invest further in the company’s proprietary image recognition technology, expand headcount and grow its international offices.
The funding was led by Rakuten Ventures, the venture capital arm of Internet giant Rakuten and 2 co-lead investors: WI Harper Group - a leader in cross-border investment between United States and China, and Enspire Capital – a venture capital firm that focuses on early stage technology startups in United States and Asia.
Other participating investors include SPH Media Fund, the investment arm of media company - Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), FengHe Fund Management - an Asian alternative asset management firm founded by Alibaba ex-CTO John Wu, Raffles Venture Partners, Phillip Private Equity, and UOB Venture Management.
“ViSenze has achieved impressive market traction with their ground-breaking AI technology in the e-commerce space. With their innovation DNA, they are developing new solutions, bringing simplified shopping experiences on digital content platforms. Their new solutions for video commerce have huge potential too. We are very excited to continue investing in ViSenze and lead their series B round.” said Mr. Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner of Rakuten Ventures.
The solid vote of confidence from investors reflects the significant revenue growth of over 300% year on year that the company has achieved in the last 12 months. ViSenze’s global clients include well-known players like ASOS (leading global fashion marketplace), Myntra (India’s leader in fashion e-commerce), Rakuten Ichiba (Japan’s leading marketplace), Interpark Corporation (a South Korea leading online auction and online shopping mall), Lazada Group (SouthEast Asia’s leading marketplace), Zalora (SouthEast Asia’s fastest growing fashion e-commerce), Essilor (global leader in eyewear) and many more.
Across all deployed sites, ViSenze’s API based solutions are exposed to over 250 million monthly active users today, helping them simplify their shopping experiences in a booming retail ecommerce world worth $1.671 trillion worldwide.
ViSenze’s solutions for ecommerce - such as visually similar product recommendations, out-of-stock alternatives, search by image, and automated product tagging - create an uplift in conversion rates. These solutions are built on cutting-edge AI technology combining deep learning and computer vision, and delivered over distributed architecture which is optimised for scale and performance.
“Online search is a fundamental part of our daily lives, yet the majority of visual shoppers are saying keyword search is inadequate in today's visual web world. So we want to solve this problem by simplifying the way online users look for information or shop for products online,” said Mr. Oliver Tan, Co-Founder and CEO of ViSenze.
“In online shopping, we train our visual shopping AI to look deeply for visual attributes in products and match them to available products that shoppers are searching for. We have generated up to 70% uplift in conversion rates for our retail clients through continuous search quality improvements and innovations developed by our R&D team.” Oliver added.
The company is now preparing to introduce discovery driven shopping solutions to visual content sites. These solutions specifically address the issue of broken links between visual content sites that inspire shopping interest, and the type of products being sought.
“As the world of commerce and content becomes intertwined inextricably, ViSenze’s ability to directly connect content discovery to commerce opportunities is very promising. We see opportunities to leverage their technology to drive new experiences that delight our customers,” said Mr. Chua Boon Ping, CEO of SPH Media Fund.
ViSenze is currently running pilot projects with content owners and online retailers.
Besides expanding the R&D team of machine learning and computer vision scientists, the new funding will enable the company to grow its offices in the United States and India, as well as to open up new offices in the United Kingdom and China.
ViSenze is an Artificial Intelligence company that develops advanced visual search and image recognition solutions to help businesses in e-commerce, retail and content publishing. Built on technology combining machine learning and computer vision, ViSenze recommends visually similar items to online shoppers in milliseconds, either on e-commerce platforms when they browse or search by uploading a picture, or on content publishers platforms like social media and video networks.
Built for scale and performance, ViSenze’s solutions are used by some of the largest e-commerce companies like Rakuten, ASOS, Myntra and Lazada to increase their engagement and conversion rates. Brands use ViSenze to turn images into engagement, and publishers use ViSenze to generate monetization opportunities from their visual media assets.
ViSenze has offices in San Francisco, New Delhi and Singapore. The company is a spin-off from NExT, a leading research centre jointly established between National University of Singapore and Tsinghua University of China. ViSenze is recognised for its innovation and was voted Most Promising Startup at Emerging Enterprise Award 2015. The company is also a MasterCard StartPath supported startup.
About Rakuten Ventures
Rakuten is one of the world's leading Internet companies and Rakuten Ventures is its venture capital arm. Focused on empowering the startup ecosystem to positively affect Internet services globally, Rakuten Ventures manages a US$ 200 million Global Investment Fund and a ¥ 10 billion Japan Fund. Originally launched in 2013, its Global Investment Fund counts Carousell, Visenze, PocketMath, SendAnywhere, Algorithmia, and Epic! among its investment portfolio.
About WI Harper Group
WI Harper Group is a global leader in cross-border investing between the United States and Greater China, founded in 1996 by Chinese venture capital pioneer Peter Liu. WI Harper oversees eight funds and manages $750M in invested capital through dedicated professionals located in Beijing, Taipei, and San Francisco.
About Enspire Capital
Enspire Capital is a venture capital and private equity investment company founded by Singapore technology entrepreneur K.S. Chay, investing in Asia and Silicon Valley. Their offices are located in the Bay Area, Shanghai, Taipei, Singapore and Hong Kong.
About SPH Media Fund
SPH Media Fund is the investment arm of Singapore Press Holdings, Asia’s leading media organisation that publishes and produces newspapers and magazines, both in print and digital formats, as well as other adjacencies in digital, radio, out-of-home advertising, events and exhibitions and retail malls.
About F&H Fund Management
F&H Fund Management is the venture capital arm of FengHe Group, a leading Asian alternative asset management firm, founded by John Wu and Matt Hu in 2010. John Wu is a well-respected technologist, entrepreneur and investor who has funded many successful enterprises, and also held pivotal roles in the development of two global internet giants, Alibaba Group and Yahoo! Inc. Currently, F&H manages over US$390 million in capital.
About Raffles Venture Partners
Raffles Venture Partners is an established fund management company located in Singapore. Founded in 2008 by David Lim and Yap Ning Jee after they left TIF Ventures Pte Ltd (a wholly-owned subsidiary under Singapore Economic Development Board), the firm focuses on fund-of-funds and direct investment. In FoFs, Raffles invests into top tier private equity and venture capital funds in US and Asia. In direct investments, it has a strong track record investing in US and Singapore with exits such as NFocus Neuromedical Inc, Spinal Modulation Inc and DeClout Ltd. Raffles funds' investors include government and financial institutions like Singapore National Research Foundation and DBS Bank as well as successful entrepreneurs, reputable business people and top corporate executives.
About Phillip Private Equity
Phillip Private Equity is a private equity firm with more than S$450 million under management. The firm focuses on providing early stage, expansion stage, mezzanine and pre-IPO funding to outstanding and pioneering companies in Asia and the US. Established since 1993, Phillip Private Equity has more than 20 years track record in managing proprietary and 3rd party funds.
About UOB Venture Management
UOB Venture Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Overseas Bank (UOB), one of Asia's leading international banking and financial groups. Founded in 1935 and listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange since 1970, UOB has more than 500 offices in Southeast Asia and Greater China. The UOB Group has total assets of more than S$ 200 billion.
Marketing Director at ViSenze