Beyond Ventures’ promising portfolio company respond.io raised US$7M to bring social commerce to enterprises

An innovative social to conversational commerce SaaS platform for millions of conversations per day

HONG KONG, Sept. 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hong Kong-based venture capital firm Beyond Ventures is pleased to announce that its portfolio company respond.io, a Malaysia-based social to conversational commerce SaaS platform has closed US$7 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Headline Asia with participation from AltaIR Capital, Smart Partnership Capital, Sterling Oak Group & Calendula Ventures.

respond.io has grown its revenue 25x since the previous round and will use the funding to continue its push into large enterprises by extending its extensive suite of integration capabilities, expanding from its home in Asia to build a presence in the Middle East, Europe & Latin America.

Lap Man, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Beyond Ventures, said, "We are so proud to support respond.io, which originated from Hong Kong, in its early stage and witness its exponential growth journey with the management team’s phenomenal execution capabilities. From the management team to the business model, it has demonstrated that Hong Kong is a well-recognised international city. On one hand, the management team such as the Co-founder & CEO Gerardo Salandra, an El Salvadorian, invited student of CUHK MBA and Chairman of AI Society of HK, COO laroslav Kudritskiy, a Canadian and a fellow CUHK MBA graduate and CTO Hassan Ahmed, a Pakistani who met Gerardo and laroslav in Hong Kong and founded the company. On the other hand, respond.io can leverage the uniqueness of the widespread use of various messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, WeChat, Facebook, Telegram, etc. in Hong Kong and initiate the business idea here."

"We are very grateful that Beyond Ventures, a Hong Kong-based venture capital firm, is our early-stage investor and has provided us with valuable advice along the way. The latest wave of digital commerce innovation was pioneered by small brands using Instagram. It uses social commerce to drive buyers onto tailor-made social accounts and enables consumers to accelerate their purchase decisions through WhatsApp & other messengers," says Gerardo Salandra, CEO of respond.io. "We’ve built a platform that enables multi-national brands to deploy that highly innovative strategy at a scale of a million conversations per day across dozens of teams."

Founded in 2017 by Gerardo Salandra, Hassan Ahmed & Iaroslav Kudritskiy, respond.io built an omni-channel messaging inbox and found instant success in countries/regions like Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Thailand, the Philippines & Malaysia. Since then, respond.io has introduced advanced analytics, automation & marketing tools built from the ground up for messaging. Enabling over 10,000 businesses, including industry heavyweights like Klook, Decathlon, Abenson, Yoho, Roche, ShareChat & Bigo to leverage the social to conversational commerce revolution.

"We’ve created an incredible infrastructure to service these huge customers – we process over 140 million messages per month," says Hassan Ahmed CTO at respond.io. "These metrics are hardly ever made public, but from what I’ve found, this is an industry-leading figure – for instance, it’s at least 10x more messages than our biggest European competitor Trengo. 

respond.io is on track to lead the market globally with social to conversational commerce solutions at the world’s largest brands, nationwide retailers, and other enterprise companies.

About Beyond Ventures

Beyond Ventures, the Hong Kong-based venture capital firm, was co-founded by Lap Man and Marvin Hung in 2017 with the goal to revitalize and transform Hong Kong’s innovation ecosystem by being the city’s most impactful venture capital firm. The firm unites venture capital experts and local conglomerates with visionary entrepreneurs, providing start-ups with the capital and guidance they need to thrive.

The name "Beyond Ventures" originates from the popular rock-and-roll band Beyond, which emerged in early 1990s Hong Kong. Since raising its first fund in 2017, Beyond Ventures has successfully invested in and helped develop portfolio companies which include SenseTime (stock code: 20.HK), Smartsens (stock code: 688213.SH), Prenetics (Nasdaq: PRE), YOHO (stock code: 2347.HK) and HKTaxi (acquired by Uber in 2021). To date the portfolio has produced four IPOs and one trade sale.

Beyond Ventures draws on support from well-known Hong Kong conglomerates including Hop Hing Group, Far East Consortium, Chinney Alliance Group and Chinachem Group, as well as leading private equity firms Hony Capital and GAW Capital and Hong Kong VC firm, eGarden.

Please visit www.beyondventures.hk for more information.

About Respond.io

Respond.io is a social to conversational commerce platform that unifies customer communication, enabling enterprise businesses to extend their marketing, sales and support initiatives onto instant messaging with ease. Over 10,000 companies from 86 countries, including Klook, Decathlon, Abenson, Yoho, Roche, ShareChat and Bigo already use respond.io and the platform processes more messages than three of its main competitors combined. The company is headquartered in Malaysia. For more information, please visit https://respond.io.

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