Singapore-based marketing SaaS startup Insider gets $32 million to enter the US

Marketing software startup Insider's team
Marketing software startup Insider's team
Catherine Shu

Insider, a Singapore-based startup that develops software to help clients make marketing decisions, plans to launch in the United States after raising a $32 million Series C. The round was led by Riverwood Capital, with participation from Sequoia India, Wamda and Endeavor Catalyst.

Founded in 2012, the company says its SaaS for multichannel marketing and customer engagement is currently used by more than 800 brands, including Singapore Airlines, Marks and Spencer, Virgin, Uniqlo, Samsung and Estée Lauder.

Insider’s Series C brings its total funding so far to $42 million. In addition to entering the U.S., the new capital will be used on sales and marketing, hiring more engineers for its research and development team and adding new features to its platform.

One noteworthy aspect of the company is that half of its executive team, including co-founder and chief executive officer Hande Cilingir, are women. The company runs a program called Young Engineers that provides coding classes to high school students, especially girls, and it plans to expand to primary school-age kids as well.

Cilingir told TechCrunch that Insider’s AI-based technology differentiates it from older, larger competitors like Salesforce because it is able to integrate customer data from different marketing channels, including offline ones, to help companies make better predictions about customer behavior. Insider’s analytics help brands coordinate campaigns across different platforms, including the web, mobile apps, messaging apps, email and other channels.

"Insider, on top of all those solutions, creates a one-stop shop because you can overcome operational bottlenecks because of the technology, but at the same time, we are still offering all of the features, including personalization technologies, that online businesses need," she said.

Helping brands create new marketing strategies is crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, e-commerce companies have seen a surge in traffic because of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, but need to figure out how to make that translate into sales. Meanwhile, other verticals, like travel and hospitality, have to find new ways of making revenue.

The company has teams in 24 countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East to support brands’ localization strategies. Even though Insider’s software does not need to be adapted in order to work in different countries, Cilingir said marketing differs widely between cultures.

For example, in Indonesia, direct sales are important, but in Japan, sales operations are often dependent on agencies within a company. Insider’s customer support teams serve as a complement to its software, helping clients use it to create marketing strategies.

In a press statement about the investment, Sequoia India principal Pieter Kemps said, "We liked the Insider team from the first days, but have been positively surprised by their highly efficient go-to-market engine. The quality of customer interactions, combined with exceptional product and technology, has enabled Insider to stand out among the many point-solutions out there—and build up a very impressive list of customer logos."

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