Canadian AI search tool Coveo raises $172m to hit unicorn status
Canadian AI-powered predictive search tool Coveo has raised CAD $227 million (US $172 million), sending it to unicorn status at a valuation “well above” US $1 billion according to its CEO, TechCrunch reports.
“I don’t like unicorn because a unicorn is a mythical creature,” Coveo’s CEO Louis Tetu tells Financial Post. “Coveo is real. It has real revenue. It has real customers. It creates real value, and it’s in a real market.”
Led by Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the round saw participation from US private equity firm Evergreen Coast Capital, Montreal-based Fonds de solidarité FTQ and cloud-based investor IQ Ventures.
The Quebec-founded start-up has now raised a total of US $402 million since 2018, taking a massive jump from its $370 million post-money valuation last year according to PichBook data.
Growing by 60 employees per quarter, the start-up will use the new capital for “aggressive growth” and probably make some acquisitions too, Tetu tells Crunchbase.
The interest in the company comes against the backdrop of fellow enterprise search solution Algolia raising $110 million last month, and the estimated market share of $100 billion that these personalised search engine tools hold annually.
Current customers include Salesforce, Visa, American conglomerate Honeywell, a Fortune 50 healthcare company whose name the CEO did not disclose and “an Amazon competitor [which] does $21 billion in sales annually” that the CEO also did not name.
“The continued and growing regulatory pressure around privacy [e.g. GDPR] is good, it’s the will of the people and legislation will go that way,” says Tetu.
“The world is going cookie-less. But we can’t ignore the arbitrage between privacy and utility. If I understand what you will do with my data and use it to provide more relevance, that can be excellent, too.”