SALESWHALE, a Singapore-based startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help marketers and salespeople engage and qualify leads at scale, has raised US$5.3 million in Series A equity funding.
The investment was led by Monk’s Hill Ventures — a Singapore-based venture capital firm that also participated in Saleswhale’s seed round in 2017 — with participation from existing backers GREE Ventures who led the seed round, Wavemaker Partners and Y Combinator, a seed startup accelerator and incubator of tech unicorns including Airbnb and Dropbox.
Founded in 2015, Saleswhale’s AI Assistant works with sales and marketing teams to identify and qualify genuine buyers at scale, by automating the lead engagement and qualification processes. The AI Assistant uses AI personas to initiate contact, engage, and follow up with thousands of leads in a human and natural way via email. When a lead is ready for a sales conversation, the AI sales assistant hands them off to a human salesperson.
Most of the funds raised will be used to double down on the product by rapidly expanding Saleswhale’s product and engineering team, said Gabriel Lim, CEO of Saleswhale.
It aims to grow its current team of engineers from 13 to 33 engineers and expand its entire team, which includes its customer success and sales and marketing teams, from 28 to 70 employees within the next 18 months.
While most of these hires will come from Singapore, Mr Lim told The Business Times that the company is also looking to open a US office by Q4 2019, as most of its global enterprise clients are based in there.
Funds will also be used to improve integrations with enterprise systems of records like Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, and other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation tools that enterprises are using.
This means Saleswhale will be able to work directly with Salesforce, automatically pull out leads, reach out to these leads, gather data and automatically push this data back into Salesforce without human intervention, explained Mr Lim.
Mr Lim told BT the firm has helped over a hundred Fortune 500 and mid-market businesses uncover sales opportunities from initial leads and generated close to US$60 million in sales pipelines, sales opportunities directly influenced by Saleswhale, from qualified leads in 2018 alone.
Current clients of Saleswhale include Randstad, General Assembly, Unit4 and ON24.
Rena Tan, regional marketing director of Randstad Southeast Asia said, “With Saleswhale, we are able to generate 2.5 times more qualified leads and meetings for our client solutions team – making it the best tool in closing the gap between sales and marketing.”
Said Lim Kuo-Yi, co-founder and managing partner of Monk’s Hill Ventures: “Marketing dollars are too often lost when leads are not effectively qualified or followed up on. Good and genuine leads fall through the cracks in the hand-off from marketing to sales. The Saleswhale AI Sales Assistant platform closes this gap, stems the leakage and leads to real top-line impact for enterprises.”
Mr Lim will be joining the board of Saleswhale.
Amendment note: Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Monk’s Hill Ventures led Saleswhale's seed funding round. In fact, GREE Ventures led the seed funding round. The article above has been revised to reflect this.