Competitor intel startup Klue raises $15m

Klue founders Sarathy Naicker, left, and Jason Smith | Submitted

What happened: Vancouver-based Klue raises $15m

Why it matters: Tech company will use funding to boost product development focused on collecting intelligence on competitors

A Vancouver startup specializing in collecting intelligence on competitors is now collecting some significant venture capital.

Klue Labs Inc.’s announced Wednesday (September) the close of a $15-million Series A round led by San Francisco’s Craft Ventures.

The new funding will be aimed at boosting development of the company’s machine learning capacities as well as its existing products.

Klue gathers data from clients’ competitors to keep them updated on changes to websites, products and customer reviews.

Its machine learning technology then filters through and curates the collected data to offer updates to organizations looking for an edge in sales and marketing.

Customers include Vancouver’s Hootsuite Inc., Ottawa’s Shopify Inc (TSX:SHOP) and U.S.-based Cisco Systems Inc, that latter of which reports having completed 30,000 Klue engagements so far this fiscal year.

Klue previously raised $4 million in 2017, which brings its total funding to $19 million.

The latest round includes participation from Hummer Winblad Venture Partners in San Francisco, and existing Canadian investors OMERS Ventures, Rhino Ventures, and BDC Ventures.

Earlier this year it was nominated for the B.C. Tech Association's annual Technology Impact Awards for Company of the Year: Growth Success.

Klue reports revenue has grown 300% over the past three years since the $4-million raise.

While the raise comes during the second half of 2020, new data released from CPE Media Inc.’s analytics division reveals venture capital activity was down nationwide through the first half of the year.

One notable exception has been B.C., where local firms have raised $553 million from the start of 2020 through to June 30.

That’s up 31% compared with the same period a year ago.

But nationally, activity has fallen 11% to $2.59 billion when compared with 2019 H1.

One possible explanation for B.C. defying national downward trends is the source of the capital.

Ontario and Quebec — home to the top-performing companies so far this year with raises totalling $1.048 billion and $700 million, respectively — are far more reliant on domestic investors.

Domestic investors accounted for 59% of investment sources for Ontario during 2020 H1 and 85% for Quebec.

B.C. companies, meanwhile, received just 28% of investment from domestic sources compared with 51% from the U.S. and the remaining 21% from other foreign sources.

While Klue’s latest round included participation from Canadian investors, it was led by American firm Craft Ventures.