In 2014, three students embarked on a mission to unravel the mysteries of the financial markets with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). The trio of Sylvain Forté, Pierre Rinaldi and Florian Aubry founded SESAMm with the aim of harnessing the powerful power of social media to generate sentiment indicators.
Today, France-based SESAMm uses natural language processing (NLP) technology to extract insights from its proprietary data lake, which includes over 20 billion articles from free and paid sources. The company has just announced the closing of a €35 million ($37 million) Series B2 financing round. The B2 series round was co-led by deep tech VC firm Elaia and Opera Tech Ventures, the venture capital arm of BNP Paribas.
Sentiment analysis, ESG insights from over 5 million companies
SESAMm technology has been used by data and business teams, including ESG (environmental, social and governance) specialists, purchasing teams and transactional teams. The company provides a range of use cases including ESG controversy detection; detection of positive impact events; competitive intelligence; and quantitative investing, with NLP signals generated on stocks and macro factors.
Forté, CEO and co-founder of SESAMm, said: “Raising significant sums in challenging market conditions highlights the importance of SESAMm’s focus on two key trends: artificial intelligence and sustainability. In turn, these tools enable organizations to make better decisions and fill data gaps, especially in the ESG area, in both public and private companies.”
Traditional ESG scores have come under scrutiny due to update delays, methodology issues, and lack of transparency. SESAMm aims to solve these problems by providing up-to-date and unbiased information about companies. The broad reach includes more than five million private and public companies, including small and mid-cap companies in Europe and emerging markets, and private companies worldwide.
Out-of-the-box ESG and company reputation risk metrics provide data to investors and corporations where there are data gaps. In addition, SESAMm helps companies detect and protect against new threats in an increasingly complex macroeconomic environment by monitoring in real-time mentions of inflation across all geographical locations on the Internet using artificial intelligence.
NLP for private equity, finance and more
SESAMm counts seven of the world’s top 10 private equity firms as clients, as well as other corporations of all sizes. The company’s plans focus on new product development, with an emphasis on sustainability frameworks, taxonomies and a standardized reputation assessment.
“SESAMm aims to become the leading NLP platform for financial firms and corporations looking to improve their decision-making by leveraging insights from the web. Our ultimate goal is to support companies that want to maximize returns and mitigate risk,” Forté told VentureBeat. “We strive to turn Internet data into a real source of business information using advanced technology. With so much focus on sustainability, we can only achieve our goal of helping companies of all kinds achieve their goals if SESAMm is truly a sustainable, profitable and responsible company.”
Other companies contributing to SESAMm’s funding include asset manager Unigestion, Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) Elevator Ventures’ venture capital firm, AFG Partners, CEGEE Capital, and historic sponsors including Carlyle (CG) and New Alpha Asset Management. Each participated in the previous round of the B1 series.
This final round brings the total funds raised to €50 million ($53 million). This financing will enable SESAMm to further expand into the US and Asian markets; support the development of AI-based ESG and sentiment analytics; and hire key talents in the areas of sustainability, technology, sales and marketing.
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