Startup raises $24.2m to help more Singapore companies use the cloud

Singapore - Sansan, a cloud startup that digitises business cards for collaborative use within companies, has raised S$24.2 million in Series C funding - S$4.2 million of which will be invested in Singapore to help more businesses here use the cloud to boost productivity.

BT understands that Sansan will then strengthen its business card management service with an emphasis on "mobile", as more companies use smartphones to build their sales strategies; and expand its user base beyond SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to include large businesses.

Chika Terada, chief executive of Sansan, said: "Singapore is the highest-ranked country (globally) for smartphone penetration, and the growing proliferation of software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and cloud- based technology adopted by businesses here makes it a hard-to-ignore opportunity." Sansan's platform - Web and mobile - allows sales teams to measure the "reality of their business function" by looking at the breadth of their database and exploring the business opportunities that exist within them.

Salespersons can also add notes to business contacts to classify their prospects - the type of business they are in or elements they are interested in - and refer back for future leads.

Mr Terada added: "Our goal is to make teams work better and generate more sales by simply digitising and scanning their business cards."

With the added capital, total funding for Sansan, which founded in Japan in 2007 and based in Singapore since October 2015, now stands at over S$53 million.

Investors in the latest round include Silicon Valley's DCM Ventures and Salesforce Ventures (the venture arm of enterprise cloud company Salesforce), and Japan's Nissay Capital (the venture arm of Nippon Life Insurance Company). Today, Sansan serves over 4,000 corporate clients globally, including the Japanese government, Brother Industries, Intel, SAP and Seven & i Holdings; and in Singapore, creative agency Frontage Asia, marketer software company MediaMath and ICT solutions provider Dataspeech.

Said Soo Chuan Lin, an associate at Dataspeech: "Exchanging business cards is definitely a must-do for business occasions in Singapore; human relationships are the lynchpin of a strong business. That's the reason the business card culture is still alive."

He added: "This is where Sansan aims to change the way businesses work: by providing better management of this valuable resource (business cards), and enabling businesses to fully leverage these important personal connections."

According to research firm IDC, the cloud computing market in Singapore is projected to grow to some US$1 billion (S$1.44 billion) by 2017.

This article was first published on January 11, 2016.
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