Cloud start-up Sansan raises $36m to boost South-east Asia, Japan presence

SINGAPORE - Tokyo-based cloud startup Sansan has raised three billion yen (S$36 million) in Series E funding for its business, as it looks to expand into South-east Asia, starting with Singapore, and Japan.

Backed by investors Japan Post Capital, T Rowe Price, SBI Investment and DCM Ventures, the latest investment brings Sansan's total funding to over $100 million, said the firm on Thursday (Dec 6).

Sansan offers a cloud-based solution to manage and share business contacts across an organisation, with all information accessible from an app. Today, over 7,000 companies have signed up, including Lenovo Group, Merck & Co and Seven & i Holdings Co.

In Singapore, Sansan's clientele includes A*Star, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Sumitomo Chemical. Sansan's Singapore office, set up in October 2015, remains the firm's first - and only - overseas post.

Singapore is the "perfect location" to establish Sansan's first international office given the country's status as a regional hub for South-east Asia, said the startup's co-founder and director Kei Tomioka.

"Our team will aim to deliver the value of Sansan to customers outside of Japan starting with Singapore, and from there, globally", he added.

In a February interview with Bloomberg, Sansan's founder and chief executive Chika Terada said the company regularly seeks financing on a one-to-two year cycle, and is open to an initial public offering (IPO) if that is the best way to obtain funds.

"We have laid the groundwork for an IPO in the past few years, and we are ready in case that's an option," Mr Terada had said. "But I don't want to make that the goal."