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American Express Ventures makes first investment in India

Company's existing investors include Sequoia, Norwest Venture, Qualcomm Ventures

BS Reporter  |  Bangalore 

American Express Ventures, the corporate venture arm of American Express Co, has made its maiden investment in India by investing in Bangalore-based cloud software solutions provider Capillary Technologies. According to industry sources, Capillary Technologies has raised around $4 million from the process.

This is a strategic investment made by American Express Ventures, as Capillary Technology said it had entered into a joint marketing agreement with the investor to bring its CRM solutions to select mid-sized US-based merchants.

The agreement is led by a one-year pilot run by the two in Singapore, where American Express introduced Capillary Technologies’ software-as-a-service (Saas)-based platform to some mid-sized retailers.

"Capillary has done a great job of creating a platform that helps retailers to capture and analyse data and then use insights to engage with shoppers across every sales and marketing channel," said Harshul Sanghi, head of American Express Ventures. "We're excited to see how the Capillary team will bring value to merchants and consumers around the world."

The Palo Alto-based American Express Venture was launched in 2011, and has since invested in over 15 companies, including US-based Enigma Technologies and IfOnly. According to CrunchBase (a database of technology companies, people, and investors), American Express Venture's primary focus was to "identifying startups and innovations that can potentially benefit American Express' loyalty and rewards programs, mobile payments, fee-based services, fraud detection and data analysis."

The Indian startup Capillary Technologies, which was started in 2008, said it would utilise these funds for its global expansion. Its earlier investors include Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners and Qualcomm Ventures. According to some sources, the total investment in Capillary Technologies has now gone to around $20 million (around Rs 124 crore).

Capillary Technologies provides customer relationship management (CRM) solutions to retailers and has presence across India, Singapore, Malaysia, Greater China, UK, South Africa, the US, Dubai, Australia and New Zealand.

According to the company's website, its clients include retail giants such as Marks & Spencer, Nike, Puma, Raymond, Peter England and Lifestyle, along with food chains like Pizza hut and Faaso's.

"This is a strategic investment as it will help us build deeper inroads into American Express' merchant base. We will initially work with them in the US, Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore. The idea is to start with these four and then expand in other geographies," Aneesh Reddy, co-founder and CEO of Capillary Technologies told Business Standard.

He added this is just a 'strategic investment' and the company would look at a much bigger round of funding by the end of 2014 or early 2015 from its existing and new investors. In a Series A funding, Capillary had raised $15.5 million in 2012.

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First Published: Wed, February 12 2014. 00:24 IST