Tokyo-based Sansan Scores $16.9M To Help Companies Wrangle Business Cards

Tokyo-based Sansan has raised a $16.9 million Series C to help companies store and manage information scanned from business cards. The funding, which brings Sansan’s total funding so far to $35.8 million, was led by DCM Ventures, with participation from Salesforce Ventures (the investment arm of the enterprise software company), and Nissay Capital.

Founder and chief executive officer Chika Terada says the capital will be used to add features to Sansan’s mobile apps, attract larger companies, and integrate Sansan with more customer relationship management (CRM) software.

While there are plenty of apps that promise to make business cards more manageable for consumer and enterprise users, Sansan hopes to win over new clients by combining its optical character recognition (OCR) technology with crowdsourced human transcription. Once business cards are uploaded and digitized, Sansan organizes them into a database to help employees share contacts and figure out which ones are good business leads.

The startup, which currently claims about 4,000 corporate users, recently launched its cloud-based software in Singapore. It plans to earmark $3 million of its Series C to reach more companies there. According to information from Singapore Press Holdings, there are about 170,000 small to medium enterprises in the country.

Software like Sansan is attractive to small businesses because it “allows them the flexibility of doing business without making large capital investments and being highly scalable and accessible at the same time,” says Terada. “This is particularly attractive to the large pool of SMBs in Singapore as they can increase their array of business opportunities by making business cards work successfully for them.”