Meet Startup @TW

Link shortener PicSee raises $1M Pre-A round to expand in Southeast Asia


PicSee, a Martech startup based in Taiwan, announced last week that it has raised a $1 million Pre-A round led by Hive Ventures, a seed to early stage VC. The National Development Fund (NDF) of Taiwan, which manages a NT$2 billion ($67 million) angel fund, also participated.

Founded in 2015, PicSee is known for its URL shortener that allows marketers to optimize the ads they share across social media channels and measure campaign performance. On average, the site attracts 100 million visits per month -- from online businesses and social media influencers.

With the new funding, PicSee plans to expand the presence of its solution in Southeast Asia. The startup says it has been doing so in Vietnam and Thailand, and the traffic from these two countries has grown so significantly that it overtook that from Taiwan.

Meanwhile, PicSee has been growing in Taiwan. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a 60% increase in the use of its link shortener since the beginning of the year, and more and more companies are showing interest in the solution, including retailers who are moving their brick-and-mortar businesses online or ramping up their efforts in digital marketing, says co-founder Wu Cheng-ho.

Companies have seen the benefit of using customized, shortened URLs in the time when customers are deeply suspicious of random links in an email or SMS message, according to co-founder Ray Wei. PicSee’s clients now include banks, e-commerce sites like Shopee and Taobao, as well as Eslite, one of the largest bookstore chains in Taiwan.

Using shortened links increases click through rate by more than 30%, according PicSee’s press statement. But Wu says providing these links is only part of what they offer to their clients.

He says PicSee is building a data analytics platform that tells marketers what brands fans follow on social media, what they consume on the Internet, and even gives suggestions about whom to build co-branding partnerships with.

Yan Lee, founder and managing partner of Hive Ventures, says PicSee helps companies open up the black box of data analytics controlled by social media giants and give it back to the content producer.

While focusing on taking such capability to the next level, PicSee hopes to work with other Taiwanese Martech companies and explore the Southeast Asian market together.


Bryan Chou

Bryan Chou is a Taiwan-based and born journalist who writes about innovation and entrepreneurship for Business Next and Meet. Over the past five years, he has written for a student press, translated numerous magazine pieces, and worked as an intern in two startups. He believes what shapes him into who he is today is not only these experiences but the people he has interacted with and the stories he has learned from them.

He has a BA in Foreign languages and literatures from NTU. After graduation, he spent a year in Prague, traveling extensively around Europe to learn about the history and culture of the region from local people. Currently based in Taipei, he hopes to present the best of Taiwan to the world.