AI, FinTech startup Senso raises $4 million CAD to further fuel US expansion

Senso, which provides financial institutions with predictive intelligence through AI, has raised a $4 million CAD ($3 million USD) funding round.

The equity round, which closed in April, was led by Boston-based Mendoza Ventures and San Francisco’s Breakaway Growth, the latter having previously led Senso’s seed round. The $4 million in financing also saw participation from Luge Capital, Rising Tide, BDC, and iNovia Capital.

“COVID actually accelerated the need for our product in the US market.”

The round follows $1.5 million in seed financing, which Senso closed in October 2018. That funding was led by BreakawayGrowth, with participation from NEXT Canada and Techstars. At the time, Senso was using the seed round to fuel initial expansion into the US market.

Saroop Bharwani, CEO and co-founder of Senso, told BetaKit the startup raised the additional capital in order to expand on that growth south of the border. While Senso did not classify the stage of the round, the $4 million essentially demarked a seed extension, with Bharwani noting that the idea was to help with the market expansion and set Senso up for a future Series A round.

“We went into [this round] to accelerate our growth faster, due to a need,” he said. “That need wasn’t originally anticipated when we raised our seed, if we had anticipated the demand we would have gotten from the US market we would have raised more in our seed.”

Saroop Bharwani, Co-founder and CEO of Senso.

“COVID actually accelerated the need for our product in the US market due to the nature of what’s going on in mortgages,” Bharwani added.

Senso, which was founded in 2017, has developed a platform that generates predictive intelligence for financial institutions. The service is meant to help financial institutions predict behavior and take “proactive steps” to strengthen client relationships, with the goal of improving retention and customer loyalty.

Senso’s AI-powered platform is cloud-based and anonymously analyzes first- and third-party data, claiming to generate predictive insights about every consumer in the market. The startup, which focuses on the mortgage market currently, encourages organizations to use its platform to help proactively allocate their marketing budgets, manage inbound channel capacity, and proactively service customers.

“Financial institutions need a way to connect more deeply with their clients, provide personalized products and delightful experiences,” Karim Gillani, general partner at Luge Capital told BetaKit. “Senso’s insights engine gives banks the capability to proactively build those close relationships with clients, which is more crucial now than ever before.”

“What we’ve built essentially makes it easy for any financial institution or mortgage lender in the United States to be able to get their data in one place and make sense of it so they can actually serve their clients proactively versus reactively,” said Bharwani.

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The CEO told BetaKit he sees the greatest demand for Senso’s product comes from the US due to low retention rates of customers across the industry.

“The reason why retention rates are so low in the market is because they’re basically responding reactively to their customers,” Bharwani said. “So, customers have a subpar experience, and [financial institutions] are losing money on the table at the same time.”

“The Senso team is redefining how the financial services industry leverages predictive intelligence at a crucial moment in history when it needs it most,” said Adrian Mendoza, general partner of Mendoza Ventures. “Financial institutions, globally, require a competitive advantage to deliver delightful experiences, and the ones who adopt Senso’s data-driven strategy will be able to confidently build loyalty and lifetime value.”

The Toronto-based startup plans to further accelerate both its operations and product offering in the US. Keeping its research and development offices in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo, Senso plans to expand its sales presence in the US in order to be closer to its target market.

With a current team of 25, the AI FinTech startup is looking to more than double its employee base, across Canada and the US, over the next year and a half.

Image source Senso.ai via Facebook

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Associate Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.