SINGAPORE (May 31): Gabriel Lim is a tinkerer at heart, having spent hundreds of hours in his school computer labs as a kid building websites and trying his hand at hacking.

That tinkering hobby led Lim to leave a full-time job as a software engineer in 2015 to bring tech start-up Saleswhale to life with co-founders Venus Wong and Ethan Le. 

Around that time, Lim discovered the Google Cloud API platform and later on, Google’s free, open-source software library, Tensorflow.

Eventually, he got the idea to “digest” sales emails and automate the work of chasing down sales leads to make things more efficient. It was then that Saleswhale was born.

Saleswhale provides artificial intelligence (AI) “sales assistants” to help marketers follow up on leads and qualify them at scale. The bots send emails and brochures, answer questions and even set up appointments autonomously; the person at the other end is none the wiser.

What this means is that marketers and sales teams are freed from the tedium of sending numerous emails to little or no response.

The firm currently works with over 100 companies, ranging from mid-sized firms to Fortune 500 corporations.

In April, Saleswhale secured US$5.3 million ($7.3 million) in Series-A funding, led by Monkshill Ventures and including existing backers GREE Ventures (rebranded as STRIVE) and Wavemaker Partner.

It was also the only Singaporean company to have graduated from Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator – the so-called “tech unicorn” start-up generator, having incubated tech companies such as Airbnb and Dropbox.

Login to read more about the entrepreneurial journey of Saleswhale’s founders at Saleswhale helps companies reel in sales leads using AI, which is available at newsstands today in this week’s issue of The Edge Singapore (Issue 884, week of June 3).