For a couple of Waterloo grads that launched a startup in 2007, today’s cheque for $15 million isn’t bad. That’s what Insight Venture Partners has committed for the Toronto-headquartered Wishabi.
Wishabi bridges the gap between print and digital advertising. It’s a leading technology company whose digital circular platform is used by top retailers across North America, like Macy’s, PetSmart, Sports Authority and Dollar General. It also has an office in New York.
“Over the past three years, we’ve built a platform that allows retailers to reinvent their circulars for the digital and mobile age and to evolve their circular experience for today’s digitally-minded consumer,” said Wehuns Tan, CEO of Wishabi. “This investment will allow us accelerate our product development as we continue our mission to help retailers increase sales of the right products via the right advertising.”
Wishabi will use the new investment to accelerate the development and deployment of new technology, and to boost growth in the U.S. market. It seems like that’s where they already primarily focus, and the new capital likely means an all-out assault on the US market.
Retailers today spend an estimated $18 billion to print and distribute advertising flyers (also known as circulars) through direct mail and in daily and weekly newspapers. Using Wishabi’s digital circular platform, retailers can deliver hyper-local, hyper-personal flyers to current and prospective customers. The technology uses deep integration with retailer databases to digitally distribute circulars direct to consumers.
They do this through premium media partners – including MSN, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and CBS. Retailers using Wishabi’s platform currently reach hundreds of millions of consumers annually on a range of digital devices.
“Wishabi has pioneered a pivotal shift in how retail circulars are distributed and read online, and on mobile devices,” said Insight Venture Partners’ Alex Crisses. “As consumer shopping behavior evolves, Wishabi has its finger on the pulse of how digital technology can be used to help retailers and advertisers reach a digitally-savvy consumer.”
The company claims that its success thus far has been driven by a consumer desire to save money and also experience “a seamless shopping experience, whether online, in-store, or on a mobile device.” Wishabi’s solution connects print with the interactive nature of digital technology to create what it believes to be “an enjoyable and powerful shopping experience.”