Visualping raises $6M to build AI-driven improvements into its website tracking service
The company has seen significant growth on the heels of its $2 million funding round in March, growing from 4 people to 20 employees.
Visualping, the Vancouver startup that’s developed a tool that people use to track changes to websites, disclosed that it raised a $6 million extension to its $2 million seed round announced in March. This round was led by Seattle’s FUSE Ventures, with participation from previous investors Mistral Ventures and N49P. Visualping has now raised $8 million in just four months.
The company’s product—which includes a browser extension and a forthcoming mobile app—alerts users when a web page of their choice changes. The system sends an email to the user when a change is detected and it attaches a screenshot of the page with a highlight of the change. The six-year-old service was founded by Serge Salager, a serial entrepreneur and former investor.
The company has seen significant growth on the heels of its March funding, growing from 4 people to 20, Salager told Vancouver Tech Journal. The startup plans to hit the 40-person mark by the end of the year.
Visualping has many use cases for both consumers and businesses. Consumers use the service for out of stocks, house or job hunting, price change monitoring and social media stalking. Businesses use Visualping to monitor competitors, changes in law, trading applications, news gathering etc. In addition, users might use it to monitor when concert tickets go on sale; similarly, a job hunter could track changes to a company’s careers page and get notified when a new job is posted.
The service garnered significant attention back in March as people used it to track COVID vaccine appointments. At the time, more than 60,000 people from across the US were using it for that express purpose.
The broad coverage the startup received from the likes of NBC, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Politico, among other outlets, combined with a serendipitous mention in the StrictlyVC newsletter by TechCrunch writer Connie Loizos, put Visualping on the radar of FUSE, as well as at least five other investors, says Salager.
“It took me like six months to do the first round,” said Salager. “And this second one, investors came knocking on the door, so it was an interesting flip of the situation. FOMO is probably at play but the market is changing as we are not the only Vancouver startup closing two consecutive rounds in such a short period.”
"Serge and his team have built a beloved product that is changing the way knowledge workers across the globe access and use content from the internet,” said FUSE’s Brendan Wales. “As a Vancouver-based business, this investment perfectly fits our investment thesis, which is that the next batch of iconic technology businesses will be started and built in the Pacific Northwest.
Product growth and improvements
With the funding and growing team, the company, which is taking in more than $1 million ARR, is working on a variety of new product updates.
With 83% of Fortune 500 companies using Visualping, it’s no wonder the company is making significant upgrades to its business-focused product and will soon launch Visualping for Business. As a core part of the upgrade, the company is using machine learning technology and applying it to the data produced by 1.5 million users that track 120 million websites to reduce the number of false alerts that get sent to users.
How will this work? In practice, users will give Visualping feedback by rating the relevance of the website change alerts as they arrive, and then Visualping will learn and start blocking page elements that lead to irrelevant alerts.
This work is being led by Martin Lopaka, the company’s head of data science, who was poached from Mozilla where he led the applied machine learning team. Lopaka refers to ‘false alerts’ as fire drills.
“They happen from time to time and they happen for a good reason,” he recently wrote. “False alerts notify you that something changed on the pages that you are tracking, but that change is simply not relevant to your business case. If they happen too often, they can erode part of the productivity you and your team gain from automation services like Visualping.”
The changes he is leading are meant to minimize false alerts, improve efficiencies for business, and ultimately reduce operational costs.
Hiring across the board
With new funding and ambitious growth plans, it’s no surprise that the startup is hiring across the organization with more than 10 jobs listed on their careers page, including head of product, head of marketing and head of sales positions.
For more funding news, subscribe to the Sunday Briefing: