Sansan raises Series E in expansion to Southeast Asia market

The company has a business card-based contact management solution for companies.

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Sansan raises Series E in expansion to Southeast Asia market

Japanese cloud services Sansan announced Series E funding of US$26.43 million led by Japan Post Capital, T. Rowe Price, SBI Investment, and DCM Ventures. This new investment takes the company’s funding to date to over US$100 million.

Providing a business card-based contact management solution for companies, Sansan aims to help businesses build a complete contact database of their network by scanning business cards with the Sansan Scanner Set or a mobile phone.

“Our primary function is the scanning and digitization of business cards. We do this better than anyone else, and contractually guarantee to a 99.9% accuracy, thanks to our powerful proprietary Optical character recognition (OCR) software, in turn, backed up by crowd-sourced human input of every single card,” Kei Tomioka, Co-Founder, and Director of Sansan told KrASIA.

All the data that is input into the customer’s database is accessible via Sansan’s web or mobile apps. According to Tomioka, not only the apps display and organise the data, but they also incorporate CMS and CRM functionality, which includes internal updates, networking and instant messaging. “We aim to be considered as an indispensable corporate resource; a must-have part of a company’s infrastructure. We feel that in Japan, we are well on the way to achieving this status,” he added.

Kei Tomioka, Co-Founder and Director of Sansan

The company claims to have more than seven thousand corporate customers and now project to replicate the success in Southeast Asia, starting with Singapore where Sansan’s office is located. “Singapore, similar to Japan, has an existing culture of exchanging business cards. Combining this with the high density of offices and is status as the gateway to the remaining markets in Southeast Asia, Singapore is the ideal testbed for us to expand our services outside Japan.”

That being said, this fresh funding will further support Sansan’s expansion to Southeast Asia while strengthening its dominant status in Japan. “We want to focus on new technologies, new products, and new possibilities. Of course, we are also very serious about our plans to succeed outside Japan; to optimize our service to the needs of the various major international markets, and to gain traction and customers, using Singapore as the stepping stone to the wider world,” Tomioka continued.

Moreover, the company is always open to new opportunities and possibilities. After Singapore, Sansan is now eyeing on Thailand as their next stop, “Thailand is a fast growing economy with many B2B businesses, especially in automotive and other manufacturing sectors. However, while we already provide digitization of Thai cards, our product is only currently available in English. We have to consider carefully whether we want to focus in Southeast Asia for now or make the leap to Western markets.”

Either way, Tomioka emphasised that Sansan’s commitment is to keep improving services and evolving their products with advanced technology. In B2C sector, Sansan is serving individual users through ‘Eight’, a business card organizer and professional social network platform, Eight has recently gained over 100 thousand users across Indonesia, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore since its international launch in October 2017. The platform provides features like instant chat messaging and activity feed, providing business opportunities and timely updates from one’s network.

Editor: Ben Jiang