Category: Startup

SalesPreso’s Max Power Pitch Decks Close $1.5 Million In Venture Funding

Aussie start-up SalesPreso has created the answer to powerpoint that sales teams didn’t know they’ve been waiting for. Its beefed up storytelling and integrated updates mean sales teams can stop labouring over slideshows and focus on closing.

Their latest funding round was led by Sapien Ventures, and raised 1.5 million USD from investors in the financial services and sales sectors, with a view to promoting and marketing the product to a wider audience than ever before.

Data Driven

There are a huge number of differences from powerpoint – perhaps the only similarity is that it is for creating sales decks. This purpose built software promises to be data driven, dynamically importing and interpreting data to present to clients in the most convincing way possible.

Beauty

Fluid animation, clean design, visual emphasis and interactivity are all prioritized in the app, creating a rich sales environment that will make every business look like a million dollars, every time.

Dynamic Storytelling

The app is designed to help sales teams become an ‘artistic director’ of their sales pitch instead of the author, researcher, designer and curator. The app will allow companies to generate a flowing storytelling experience by composing their slides from a central resource center of different points, pitches and data.

Integration

The app finds its data from customer relationship management systems, BI systems, fulfilment systems and pricing systems. This means if the prices change on a product or service referenced in the presentation, it will automatically update to the latest figures instead of the sales team having to find and change every reference manually.

Performance Tracking

The app furthermore helps people track how much time is spent on each slide, what slides manage to convert the most, what elements were interacted with and what was shared or copied from the slide.

Time Saved

The company estimate that the app will save sales teams 21 hours a week on pitch management and preparation, creating optimizing effects not just for the results, but for the process too. This double-hit makes the offer twice as compelling for potential customers.

Customers

Their current customers are mostly in Australia, but include larg-scale companies REA Group real estate, Australia Post, MYOB, and StarTrack.

They have started to attract American clients, most notably Move, the online property listing site of News Corp.

With this new round of funding secured from strategic investors likely to become a new generation of customers, and the focus being put squarely on advertising, you can expect them to start landing bigger international clients very soon.

ViSenze Finds $10.5m On The Table To Help People Shop Direct From Their Environment

ViSenze is a Singapore based start-up looking to change the way we use computer vision. That doesn’t mean Terminator style augmented reality, but rather using your smartphone to change the way you shop.

Their series A funding round raised them a healthy 3.5 Million USD to play with, and the results have been remarkable. Now they’ve bagged an additional $10.5 million, led by Rakuten Ventures, venture capital firm Enspire Capital, and perhaps most excitingly WI Harper Group, which focuses on US-China cross-border investment.

Visual Search Becomes A Reality

Their core product is a visual search and image recognition software that combines computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to finally create a usable image based search function – something Google tired years ago and failed pretty miserably at.

People can use their smartphone to take a picture and find products that match it online.

Retail

The app has immediately offered a new and novel approach to retailers, allowing people to take a picture of an item in a magazine, or even just worn by someone in the street, to enable matching and recommendations of products that are available for sale.

Consumer Facing, Business Focused

They have gone on record as saying their focus is business-to-business. They’re not developing an independent, consumer focused app as yet, instead seeing their product as added value for existing retailers and advertisers. But never say never. They are already using huge volumes of user data to optimize their product – who knows what new opportunities they’re identifying in the process.

Momentum

The company’s RnD department has 30 people already, but the funding will enable them to boost this number to 50. The business end also sounds positive, with a 300% year on year growth reported so far, with CEO Oliver Tan reporting a 20% increase month on month right now.

Motion Picture Search

The company’s most exciting project is integrating their tools into motion picture search. With 25 images a second or more in the typical streaming video, there are some sampling and processing challenges to be overcome, but the potential upside is gargantuan.

The internet is leaning more heavily into video every day, and augmented, unobstrusive, opt-in advertising could be a huge winner for premium streaming services and free sites like YouTube and Vimeo.

Market Penetration

The company currently has their sights set on China. This might seem crazy to some, but certainly not to one of their lead investors, who specialize in getting companies into the Chinese and US markets.

Customers and Competition

There are some big names, some small names, and some local names in the game so far. Heavyweights Rakuten are the lead investors as well as the first customers, while Lazada, Asos in the UK and Myntra in India are all on board already. Indian e-commerce store Flipkart is also in the game.

They have heavyweights like Cortexica and Superfish to contend with, both of which appear to have more funding. But the connections and strategy for the Singapore company mean they’re more globally focused than anyone else right now.

Rapid 3D Printing Firm Carbon Scores $81 Million For International Expansion

Carbon, formerly known as Carbon 3D, of Redwood City California have just successfully added a cool $81 million in venture funding to its Series C round. With the money coming from heavy hitters like BMW, GE and Nikon, adding to money from venture capitalists like GV and Sequoia Capital, the company are starting to raise some serious eyebrows.

Growing Parts and Prototypes

When you look at their product offer, it’s not surprising. Unlike traditional 3D printing, which just prints things in 2D over and over again, Carbon uses a combination of light and oxygen to effectively ‘grow’ objects out of a liquid pool of resins and elastomers.

The approach is revolutionary enough that Carbon managed to get it printed up in the research journal Science. Beyond just being new and different, however, the new method offers real advantages. Principally: speed.

Faster

The continuous liquid interface production, or CLIP, housed in their M1 machines (which use cloud-based design software), can produce prototypes or parts faster than any other current method. CEO and Co-Founder Joe DeSimone claims 25 to 100 times faster. They can even be used for creating small parts at volume.

Smoother

Because of the unique way the parts are grown, they come out smooth, with no need to be machined, milled or polished like typical layer-printed parts have to be. This means they’re printed ready to go, with no need for further processing.

Lattice

Growing the parts also allows for complex shapes and lattices, which can provide a much greater degree of structural integrity accompanied by a huge weight saving, ideal for drones, automobiles and other technologically advanced items that need to carry a load.

Ten Times The Growth

Right now the company is in its acorn stage, but this new funding is designed to speed up its mighty oak-tree potential.
The company has 50 machines leased out right now. By the end of this year they want to make that 100. By the end of next year, they’re aiming for 500.

The Final Countdown

Carbon has said this will likely be the last round of venture funding they seek. Having raised 222 million, they are already valued at one billion dollars, making them a pretty safe investment for companies that will also be part of the company’s future customer base.

Clients And Competition

Legacy Effects in Hollywood, BMW and Ford Motor Co., as well as Sculpteo and The Technology House have all made use of Carbon’s services so far. They are already partnering in a diverse range of industries, from aerospace to apparel, consumer electronics to medical devices.

The company is not without competition. Statasys, who tried and failed to get a consumer marketing going for desktop 3D printing, has just confirmed they are doubling down on industrial applications for the future. That said, Carbon’s unique approach is still a golden goose, unless someone else can reinvent 3D printing all over again.

Canva Raises $15 Million in Funds, Leaving Last Round Funds Untouched

While raising capital can be a challenge for some, Canva, the Australian based graphic design startup seems to have elevated fund raising to an art form with its latest round of funding at $15 Million (U.S.). Canva’s latest influx originates from Blackbird Ventures and Felicis Ventures and brings the company’s value to an unprecedented $345 Million (U.S.), doubling its valuation.

Canva’s previous round of funding at $15 Million remains untouched. The company is pleased with its investors as well as the networks to which they have connected and with the latest influx of capital is poised for growth and success in the workplace.

The Canva media tools suite allow users of all levels to produce professional graphic designs and features a FREE consumer version as well as a PAID service. A collaboration designed for an seamless workplace which requires a strong visual design presence. The design tools allow template creation which can be edited as needed by all departments within an organization – the perfect complement at visual literacy expands into virtually every profession globally.

Canva is currently offered for desktop applications, iPad, and IPhone in 11 languages. An Android version is coming as are nine new language versions.

Canva’s growth has been rapid since its founding in 2012. The company currently has a staff of more than 120 people from Sydney, San Francisco, and Manila and customers across the globe including the United States, Australia, India, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

PayU (Naspers) Announces Purchase of Citrus Pay

PayU, Naspers’ payment service provider, whose headquarters is in the Netherlands, announces the acquisition of Citrus Pay, the Indian payment gateway. Closing at $130 million (U.S.), it is one of the largest Merger and Acquisitions in the Indian internet arena and certainly in Indian financial tech history. To date, the largest M&A in India’s financial tech market was Snapdeal’s acquisition of Freecharge at $400 million in 2015.

PayU, in India, allows sites to present various payment opportunities – credit, debit, and internet banking – to its customers. In addition, the Reserve Bank of India had granted PayU a semi-closed wallet license, allowing users to link their wallets to their accounts and pay accepted sites. PayU also permits the use of multiple currencies.

Up until the acquisition, Citrus Pay was the competition, threatening PayU plan’s for the Indian market. With the merger, Citrus Pay’s CEO Amrish Rau, will become the head of PayU India, while Jitendra Gupta, co-founder will manage LazyPay, and Shailaz Nag, co-founder, will cultivate new bank alliances. Leaving the company is PayU co-founder, Nitin Gupta.
Sequoia Capital, Ascent Capital and Beenos Asia were investors in Citrus Pay’s raising of $32.5 million in three round of funding.

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