Singapore: Saleswhale closes $1.2m seed led by GREE Ventures

Saleswhale founding team at Y Combinator.

Singapore-based Y Combinator (S16) startup Saleswhale, has closed a $1.2 million seed round led by GREE Ventures. Other investors participating in the seed round are Monk’s Hill Ventures, Wavemaker Partners, the company announced Monday.

A select group of angel investors that includes individuals such as Albert Ni (early Dropbox employee), Pieter Walraven (co-founder of Pie, acquired by Google), Juha Paananen (founder of Nonstop Games, acquired by King), Royston Tay (co-founder of Zopim, acquired by Zendesk), and Bowei Lee (CEO & Chairman of LCY Chemical Corp) also participated in this funding round. The firm plans to raise a Series A financing round in the next 12 to 18 months.

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.

According to the company, Saleswhale’s automated sales assistants have already generated over $1.5 million in pipeline, and $130,000 in closed deals for their customers since February 2017.

The company’s CEO and co-founder Gabriel Lim did not disclose the valuation, but said, that it did not have ‘a priced valuation yet, as the round was raised on SAFE notes from all our investors’. 

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.

Currently, it has a team of five staff, all of whom are engineers, with the company looking to expand its product and engineering teams with the latest investment. This will see them hiring more backend, data, machine-learning and natural language processing engineers.

The business mission the startup aims to resolve is high sales employee attrition and enforcing best practices and sales processes for companies. This is grounded in the experience of Lim and Wong with their previous company.

Explaining the rationale behind how he secured the investment, Lim told this portal: “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.”

Highlighting his their current growth and exit strategy, Lim told this portal: “I think the holy grail for every SaaS founder is an IPO on the NYSE. That’s still a long way in the future though, and may or may not happen. But we are gunning for at least a billion dollar outcome. We have only recently launched, but we are currently around growing 7% week on week.”

Nikhil Kapur, the Investment Manager at GREE Ventures, 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.”

Also Read: 

GREE Ventures leads $1m seed round in Indonesian startup Ayopop

Japan’s Ookami closes Series A round from IMJ, GREE Ventures, others

Days of angel groups with dumb money are gone: Nikhil Kapur, GREE Ventures

Snapcart bags $3m from Vickers Venture, Wavemaker, SPH Media Fund

Singapore: Wavemaker, National Research Foundation lead S$650k investment in DataStreamX

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.