The S-1 laid out how the firm has been restructured over the past eighteen months:
“- We immediately reorganized our management and operating infrastructure into vertically aligned business units to increase focus and accountability.
– As a result of this realignment, 18 of the 19 executives, or 95%, and 30 of the 46, or 65%, members of the broader leadership team are new or in a new role, with nearly half of all employees reporting to a new leader.
– Our total employee turnover was approximately 1,500 and our leadership was able to identify and eliminate ineffective headcount resulting in a net employee reduction of approximately 850, or 17% of total employees.
– We will continue to optimize our organizational structure and make targeted hires to build out our team at all levels.”
Dun & Bradstreet S-1
Other changes include
Incentivizing long-term contracts in commission plans
A focus on tracking and monitoring service metrics
“Modernizing our infrastructure and optimizing our architecture to increase control, create efficiencies, and greatly enhance the ability of our platforms to scale,”
Expanding their ability to “seamlessly add and integrate new data sets and analytical capabilities into our simplified and scaled technology infrastructure.”
Increasing their coverage of SMBs and “incorporating new, alternative data sets to expand the breadth of companies covered and depth of information we are able to provide clients.”
Implemented a Data Watch Program which proactively monitors and repairs issues
Improved AI capabilities across a broader set of content
According to the S-1, “Enhanced analytics enable us to provide easy to implement end-to-end solutions; by creating configurable, rather than customizable, analytics solutions, we believe that we can increase the adoption of solutions by our clients and expand the size of our client base.”
The reorganization and other changes have resulted in a $206 million annualized run rate savings as of March 31, 2020.
“DNB has been reconstituted into presumably more efficient and responsible operating units,” stated Donovan Jones of IPO Edge. “The problems with the IPO are that it is too early to tell if the reorganization is delivering better results than the previous structure and the firm is heavier with debt.”
Part III of my coverage publishes on Monday with a discussion of their restructuring.
Sales Engagement vendor Groove secured $12 million in Series A Funding. The round was led by Level Equity and Capital One Ventures, who joined existing investors Uncork Capital and Quest Venture Partners. The round brought total investment to $16 million. Groove has roughly doubled its revenue each year, reinvesting its income into product and engineering. The San Francisco-based firm was founded in 2014.
The new funds will be deployed to “drive greater awareness of our unique market position and competitive differentiation. Sales engagement platforms consistently rank as the number one most impactful sales technology investment that a company can make, and we are poised to lead the category’s expansion with a broad range of capabilities beyond the prospecting use case.”
“Groove has grown 103% year over year on average in a largely organic way and has invested deeply in product and engineering up until this point. This funding round enables us to drive greater awareness of our unique market position and competitive differentiation. Sales engagement platforms consistently rank as the number one most impactful sales technology investment that a company can make, and we are poised to lead the category’s expansion with a broad range of capabilities beyond the prospecting use case.”
Groove CEO Chris Rothstein
Rothstein is a former Google sales manager who co-founded Groove to address the sales problems that his reps faced at Google. Rothstein then signed Google as Groove’s first client.
“We believe that sales engagement will become a multi-billion-dollar market,” said Craig Rosenberg, chief analyst of TOPO Research. “Until now, the sales engagement market has been concentrated in the tech industry and focused on the prospecting use case. Other industries don’t have sales development teams dedicated solely to prospecting, but they do have thousands of sales reps trying to engage with their customers. Successful expansion into account executives will open the enterprise market for these platforms. We are seeing this trend accelerate post-COVID-19 as companies that have been slower to adopt remote working technologies are forced to embrace digital transformation.”
Groove describes itself as “the only sales engagement platform optimized to meet the customization and security requirements of enterprise revenue teams.” While most Sales Engagement Platforms initially focused on the Sales Development Rep (SDR) and later expanded into other roles, Groove was built to increase productivity for Account Executives with an emphasis on “ease-of-use, advanced activity capture, and cross-team collaboration.” Operations managers can configure the Groove platform “to meet the complex requirements of different divisions and organizations within an enterprise.” The firm also touts its unique architecture that “ensures the highest levels of security and compliance.”
Another difference between Groove and other SEPs is its data architecture. Other firms maintain a standalone database and sync it with Salesforce, but Groove leverages Salesforce as the system of record and runs as a managed package within SFDC. Employing Salesforce as their system of record allows Groove to manage custom objects, deliver zero-latency data display and reporting, and reduce administrative work. All fields are updated in real-time. Groove emphasizes that this architecture allows firms to quickly “onboard new hires into a proven system,” which supports “deployments of any size.”
Core features include
Flows (i.e. cadences), including phone, email, SMS, Sendoso (swag), and LinkedIn SNAP (Connect and Send InMail) steps
Email templates that pull dynamic variables from all Salesforce fields. Reps may personalize emails with the platform calculating personalization percent.
Email event capture, including reply, bounce, complete, import, open, and meeting booked. Branching logic supports task creation, linked flows, stop flow, and stop all flows across the account.
An integrated click dialer supports local presence, call outcome logging, voicemail drops, call recording, and international dialing. The click dialer is available within Gmail, Microsoft 365, Salesforce, Groove, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Call coaching features, including whisper, join, and listen
Inbound calls support a popup with reverse call lookup. Calls are routed to either a softphone or a mobile device.
Editable, customizable account lists which update Salesforce
Activity capture, including custom fields and objects. Firms can track the type of meeting, type of interaction, primary topic, and meeting outcome, helping managers understand “how much time they’re spending on demos versus support calls, or how many emails are cold prospecting emails versus answering questions about pricing.”
Analytics include activity reporting, account-based engagement levels, the best time of day and week for calling, and template performance.
A native meeting scheduler, which supports round-robin scheduling, calendar view links, and the option to offer specific times in emails. The scheduler supports custom field display based upon the type of meeting.
A Chrome extension that works alongside Gmail, Microsoft 365, and Salesforce. The sidebar is customized by role and allows users to click to related objects and search on all activities.
Out of Office capture with Flow pause
GDPR and CCPA compliance
Workspaces are a unique feature that allow users to build custom reports with flexible report selects and custom fields. Workspaces may be shared with colleagues and support task assignments. Groove describes the functionality as a dynamic worksheet with Salesforce data.
Because it is native to Salesforce, Groove can integrate with over 7.5 million applications via the Salesforce AppExchange. Additional direct partners include LinkedIn, Sendoso, Gong, Chorus, Vidyard, and HighSpot.
At some customers, Groove is deployed alongside Outreach, with Groove supporting Account Execs, Customer Success, and Business Development and Outreach deployed for SDRs.
Groove supports all revenue and customer success functions.
For a Series A funded Sales Engagement Platform, Groove provides a deep set of functionality and configurability; however, there are a few gaps. While the service offers many of the key partners supported by other vendors, integrations are primarily available through the Salesforce AppExchange. Groove does not provide any sales intelligence partners for lead generation or data enrichment. A power dialer for SDRs and a mobile app are also missing, though their platform is mobile responsive. Finally, Groove does not support AI-driven lead prioritization or next best actions, but it does have other AI-based capabilities.
Groove caught the attention of Capital One Ventures after it was successfully rolled out to Capital One field sales reps “while providing sales leadership with real-time visibility into their daily sales activities and performance.” Other business lines subsequently adopted the platform as a result of its initial success.
“When evaluating Groove as an investment, we felt that the company was poised to be the clear category winner. The sales engagement space is thriving right now, and Groove’s focus on supporting sophisticated AE use-cases and complex enterprise environments is setting them apart from the rest of the pack. As enterprises in new industries continue to adopt sales engagement platforms to make their revenue teams more productive, they will quickly see the unique advantages that Groove offers in terms of internal adoption, customization, and security.”
George McCulloch, Co-CEO, Level Equity
Groove has over 450 clients, including Google, Uber, Capital One, Atlassian, BBVA, and Veola Water. Over 50,000 sales, marketing, and customer success professionals use the Groove platform, with the average installation supporting 88 users. Core segments include Internet Services and Software, Financial Services, Education, Media, Manufacturing, and Professional Services. 17% of Groove’s revenue is derived from international clients.
Pricing is on a per-seat basis and runs $110 per user for all applications. Clients may also purchase seats by function with a subset of features at a lower per-seat price.
Groove was also one of 395 companies to make Inc.’s Top Places to Work list. The firm scored 100% on employee engagement. Groove also made the 2019 Inc. 5000 list, ranking #407.
“While Groove is in the business of helping sales and customer-facing teams drive more revenue, productivity, and customer satisfaction, we are equally committed to fostering a culture where employees feel supported, challenged, and fulfilled,“ said CEO Chris Rothstein.
Groove continues to list over twenty open jobs across product development, engineering, sales, and customer support.
Account Based Orchestration platform 6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round with growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million. Previous investors include Salesforce Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures. The market cap was not disclosed.
doubled its revenue in both 2018 and 2019. Last year, it added Box,
Cisco, Dell, Zendesk, Sumo Logic, NetApp, Domo, Motorola, Cumulus, Symantec,
and Tableau to its list of named customers.
startup, a company can sell via personal relationships and word of mouth.
In the scaleup growth phase, the equivalent is Account-Based Marketing
and Sales,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners.
“After an exhaustive review process, we were blown away by the data-focused
sophistication of 6sense’s technology and firmly believe it is the best
solution for B2B companies who need to scale their go-to-market efficiency and
grow revenue. The company’s account-based solution should be a core part
of every scaleup company’s growth strategy. We’re excited to invest in
6sense as the market-leading solution.”
investment is a sign that we’ve done something over the past 2 ½ years,” said
6Sense CEO Jason Zintak. “Investing is confidence, and it’s just so
incredibly humbling that we as a team, as a company, have gotten to the point
where people want to trust us and hand over money.”
attributed the firm’s success to the belief that AI and Big Data are at the
core of the MarTech stack:
Our strategy has always been to lead in those areas, specifically 6sense’s ability to
– Process large amounts of data and deliver actionable insights – Segment micro-audiences based on these data insights – Uncover anonymous buyer intent and identify accounts – Predict which accounts are an Ideal Customer fit, and when they are “in market,” allowing organizations to focus engagement on accounts most likely to buy
6sense has evolved from delivering predictive scores to providing customers with a robust Account-Based platform for the entire revenue operations team.
6Sense CEO Jason Zintak
investment will be dedicated to accelerating its product roadmap, “both
organically and inorganically.” Zintak listed three roadmap objectives:
Improved orchestration, which moves from rules-based engagement to “true AI-based orchestration of tactics.”
Expanding intent and predictive data use cases beyond email to include website personalization, content experiences, advertising, conversational marketing, etc.
Delivering insights to all revenue operations functions, including marketing and customer success.
lists 37 open positions across customer success, engineering, data science,
administrative, marketing, sales, and product. 6Sense has shown steady
employment growth over the past two years. Roughly half of the employees
are in revenue generation roles (Sales, Support, Marketing, and Business
is to tackle the biggest challenges facing B2B sellers and marketers by helping
brands reach the right accounts for their business at the right time, through
the right channels, and with truly engaging experiences,” said Zintak.
“Our company growth has been fueled by the success of our customers, and
our Series C funding will enable 6sense to further invest in AI-driven
orchestration capabilities to help companies of all sizes build and scale account-based
programs, uncover new opportunities, and efficiently create pipeline and
Before Christmas, video platform Vidyard closed on a $15 million financing facility with the BMO Technology & Innovation Banking Group. Vidyard has raised $75.7 million in debt and equity financing to date (see Crunchbase Pro chart on the bottom) and was recently ranked number 39 on Deloitte’s Canada Fast 50.
funds will “help Vidyard remain focused on innovation and product development
while financing strategic M&A & Global Expansion activities so that the
company can continue growing, scaling, and providing customers with the most
robust user experience possible.”
Vidyard has partnered with a wide set of sales engagement platforms, including Outreach, SalesLoft, ConnectLeader, Groove, XANT, and VanillaSoft. Other partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, Drift, Outlook, and MailChimp. Partners have cited a 2 to 3X improvement in open and click-through rates due to personalized videos embedded in emails. Reps can quickly record a one-to-one video or embed a marketing video.
continues to make a global impact and is currently serving more than 50 million
videos per day. With the accelerating trend of the world’s most
innovative businesses turning to video to power their marketing, sales, and
internal communications strategies–tomorrow, that number is on a trajectory to
exceed 1 billion,” said CEO Michael Litt. “We’re excited to be working
with BMO’s Technology & Innovation Banking Group to help finance strategies
intended to support our journey in becoming the dominant video platform
provider that the world’s most successful businesses rely on.”
Vidyard customers include Honeywell, LinkedIn, Citibank, and Sharp. A recent study of 218 B2B sales and marketing professionals found the top five uses of video within an organization are brand awareness (67%), lead generation (63%), customer education (63%), buyer education (58%), and sales enablement (54%). Website distribution was the most common channel (79%), followed by email (67%), LinkedIn (63%), YouTube (60%), and landing pages (59%). 40% of respondents indicated that sales reps were deploying one-to-one videos. Heinz Marketing and Vidyard conducted the survey.
San Francisco-based Revenue Intelligence vendor People.ai announced Round C funding of $60 million along with the launch of its new The Wire next-best-action (NBA) service. The round was led by ICONIQ Capital with participation by Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital, and Y Combinator. Will Griffith, Partner at ICONIQ Capital, has joined the People.ai Board of Directors.
has received $97 million in funding to date. Its valuation was not provided,
but TechCrunch placed the valuation at “mid-nine-figures.”
announcement of our Series C funding represents a critical milestone in
achieving our vision for the Future of Work,” said People.ai CEO Oleg
Rogynskyy. “We’ve already enabled customers to, for the first time,
capture all of an organization’s critical business data, such as contacts and
customer activity data, and deliver it directly to the CRM. This has
significantly improved sales productivity and CRM data accuracy and liberated
the enterprise from time-consuming manual data entry. Today, we’re taking
People.ai to the next level with AI-driven intelligence that provides
customer-facing teams with a simple, personalized set of actions based on
current, historical and industry data that will help accelerate revenue.
When you use The Wire, you’ll have your most productive day at work,
was founded in 2016 and already supports Red Hat, Lyft, Zoom, New Relic, and
Splunk. The firm describes itself as a Revenue Intelligence System:
“People.ai offers the industry’s only Revenue Intelligence System (RIS) that automates the capture of all contact and customer activity data, dynamically updates CRM and provides actionable intelligence across CRM, collaboration, business intelligence, and other management tools for sales, marketing, customer success and services teams – exponentially accelerating growth and delivering actionable insights for strategic business decision making.”
People.ai fills out buying committees for active opportunities, maps contacts and interactions to accounts and opportunities, and suggests next best actions. Applying natural language processing and machine learning to buying committee discovery and NBA are the latest advancement in sales and marketing intelligence.
also supports contact updates derived from email signatures and pulls “critical
information” such as product or competitor mentions, sentiment, and buyer
recently launched Campaign360 service supports marketing attribution by
tracking opportunities influenced or generated by marketing activities.
Campaign360 is the “industry’s only AI-based solution that equips
Marketers with the real-time, full funnel campaign visibility they need at
their fingertips,” said the firm.
thrilled to partner with People.ai as they execute their vision to unleash the
potential of AI to drive enterprise revenue,” said Griffith. “People.ai
is well positioned in a highly strategic enterprise market, leveraging
automation and AI to fundamentally change the way people work.
People.ai’s product, powered by strong network effects, is delivering
insights and productivity at the scale and quality we have not seen previously.
We see an incredible opportunity to accelerate People.ai’s game-changing
technology as they redefine the meaning of the Predictive Enterprise.
People.ai is the Future of Work.”
Partners include Salesforce, Slack, Outreach, SalesLoft, Exchange, and G Suite.
On Monday, I will be covering The Wire, People.AI’s new Next Best Action service.
US sales engagement vendor VanillaSoft received a pair of investments from Quebecois agencies totaling $4 million. A $1 million loan from Canada Economic Development (CED) for Quebec Regions was announced last month followed by a $3 million equity investment from the Fonds Régional de Solidarité Outaouais (FRSO). The round supports their operations in Gatineau and will fund thirty new positions focused on artificial intelligence functionality. Hiring will be expanded in the R&D and sales functions. The loan will also be directed towards marketing campaigns in Europe and Oceania.
technology is changing the way things are done around the world and providing
companies with outstanding development opportunities,” said Greg Fergus, Member
of Parliament for Hull-Aylme. “Not only is VanillaSoft helping the
Outaouais region build a reputation as a leader in the field of artificial
intelligence, but its expertise and the innovative technology it continues to
export will allow it to create 30 jobs.”
“The financial support and incentives provided by the Government of Canada allow companies like VanillaSoft to thrive,” said Hood. “We have the opportunity to develop new markets and services and appreciate the continued support from CED for our local employees as we promote sales and business here in Quebec and beyond.”
VanillaSoft was founded in New Orleans in 2003 but shifted its operations to its Canadian subsidiary following Hurricane Katrina. CEO David Hood recognized the early help from CED and FRSO to help stabilize the firm:
“Katrina hit and wiped out the office in the U.S., and it’s the office here that grew. This would have been a company that was completely in the U.S. Instead, the majority of the employees are up here, the revenues are up here, and it’s Canada that quite honestly is really benefiting from it.”
CEO David Hood
VanillaSoft is the third major sales engagement firm to receive a funding round in the past month. Outreach and SalesLoft both received significant rounds in April.
Key features include sales cadences, email templates, VOIP dialing, call scripting, call recording, SMS marketing, SMS chat, analytics, lead scoring, and appointment setting.
Recent enhancements include geographic functionality and Vidyard GoVideo integration. New Geographical Information System (GIS) capabilities include proximity routing, directional routing, geolocation filters, and automated time zone features. The new GIS functionality helps field sales reps maximize their client and prospect routing.
VanillaSoft noted that, “with many sales reps clocking far in excess of
25,000 miles per year, the ability to group accounts by area and conduct
efficient outreach is critical.”
Directional routing provides reps with optimized maps for visiting
leads. The feature is assisted by proximity routing which identifies
leads by radius around a ZIP code or a point. For example, a sales rep
can identify leads within a fixed distance of a prospect.
Geolocation filters employ geocodes for customer mapping, helping sales operations group leads by city, neighborhood, and street for lead assignment. VanillaSoft also looks at the rep’s calendar to call out nearby appointments which may warrant rescheduling to optimize field sales rep planning.
“You can work either with latitude and longitude, or with ZIP code.
This gives companies a functionality that I’m not aware is available on any
other sales engagement platform. For appointment setting, for companies that
have salespeople out on the road, and also for understanding where your
customers and prospects are and to be able to target them geographically, this
is an incredibly powerful functionality,” said Hood.
The firm also announced that Vidyard’s GoVideo personal video messaging service will be integrated into VanillaSoft.
“Making a human connection between salespeople and their prospects is
critical for sales success,” said Vidyard CEO Michael Litt. “We know video is a
powerful tool for sales engagement and leaders in the space like VanillaSoft
see the potential of this technology for their users.”
Relationship Intelligence vendor RelPro added Crunchbase funding, firmographics, and news content to its service, providing customers with greater insights on fast growing small and mid-size companies. RelPro focuses on B2B business development across marketing, sales, relationship management, and research.
“RelPro users are looking for smarter, more efficient ways to build
relationships with fast-growing companies,” said RelPro CEO Martin Wise. “By
adding Crunchbase data to the RelPro platform our customers will save time,
they will gain additional analytics to identify new company prospects, and they
will benefit from new research insights to help them develop informed
relationships and turn those prospects into clients.”
The new content set provides additional company intelligence, analytics, and filters. RelPro profiles seven million companies and 150 million business decision makers. Other content partners include BoardEx, Dun & Bradstreet, ZoomInfo, and HG Data.
The Crunchbase dataset supports new filters include Funding Round and
Funding Total Amount. RelPro also added a new finance tab to company
“As Crunchbase builds its overall partner network, the combination of our business intelligence with RelPro’s platform will provide value to their clients and increase the reach of Crunchbase’s premium data, getting that valuable information in front of the people who need it most.”
Nealesh Patel, Head of Business Development and Sales for Crunchbase.
RelPro hinted at additional analytics and data partner announcements in
2019. One feature in development is a “look-a-like” companies list to
assist with business development.
RelPro more than doubled its subscription revenues in 2018.
DiscoverOrg, which has long emphasized technographics and contacts, expanded its company intelligence with the addition of global corporate hierarchies and private equity / venture capital funding intelligence. DiscoverOrg also expanded its contact / biographic coverage with detailed work histories, educational profiles, and North American mobile phones and personal emails.
“The traditional playbooks for B2B prospecting and corporate recruiting don’t work anymore. Today’s buyers and hires expect highly personalized outreach at the right time that cuts through the mass-produced noise we’re all inundated with. The additional data we are now delivering make it even easier for our customers to craft the right message and engage where and when they are most likely to get a response.”
DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck
are color coded and available for 22,000 global companies along with their
divisions and subsidiaries. Tree nodes may be expanded and collapsed,
allowing sales reps to customize their view. Users may link to major
subsidiaries that are also contained within the DiscoverOrg company universe
while non-covered subsidiaries are grayed out. Tree nodes include logo,
location, and ownership type.
has long offered org charts highlighting contact reporting structures, but
family trees have been a gap in their service until now.
includes total funding and round details such as amounts, dates, and investors.
DiscoverOrg did not disclose the sources of their new data sets beyond saying they were licensed from “leading third-party data providers.” The new content was verified by their 250 editors and DiscoverOrg’s automated verification processes prior to being presented to clients.
DiscoverOrg continues its rapid content build out with 4.3 million human-verified contacts across 160,000 top global companies. Additional functionality around the family trees is planned for the next three months. The firm also expects to add funding data screening to their build-a-list functionality.
“Our biggest differentiator is our ability to bring together proprietary technology,automated tools, and integrations that gather data – plus a layer of human verification to ensure its accuracy.”
Katie Bullard, DiscoverOrg President.
DiscoverOrg confirmed that they are on target for their $160M end of year ARR.
I was going to be writing about yesterday’s #FlipMyFunnel conference keynote given by Terminus CEO Sangram Vajre this morning, but I woke up to news that Dun & Bradstreet is being taken private. So, I’ll recap Vajre’s discussion of humanizing B2B and the need for authenticity in a later post.
Dun & Bradstreet announced that it will be taken private by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, and funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners LP, for $5.38 billion in cash. Shareholders will receive $145 per share, an 18% premium over its Wednesday close. The acquisition includes $1.5 billion in assumed debt.
The deal is subject to shareholder approval and is expected to close within six months.
Dun & Bradstreet has a venerable history going back 177 years. Employees include several future nineteenth century Presidents. The firm, however, has struggled in recent years to grow revenues, particularly in its Risk Management Solutions group. Sales & Marketing Solutions, which makes up a bit over 40% of the company, has posted slow but steady growth.
Dun & Bradstreet has some market leading assets:
The D-U-N-S number is the de facto global numbering system for companies. It is often required for loans and is necessary for bidding on US government contracts.
The WorldBase company file contains global linkages, Tradestyles, and credit scores for 300 million active, dormant, and defunct companies making it valuable for credit risk, supplier risk, master data management, research, client onboarding, marketing, and sales.
The Global Company Authority (FKA NetProspex) provides global directors, executives, and mid-level managers.
D&B Hoovers (FKA Avention) continues to improve with the addition of the WorldBase file, First Research industry overviews, and Global Company Authority file to the Sales Acceleration platform.
Digital delivery solutions include the D&B Direct API, connectors for CRM and Marketing Automation platforms, B2B programmatic marketing, and visitor ID (the mapping of anonymous website visitors to their firm).
The company has a strong data foundation and has been shifting delivery of its product line to the cloud, but its sales and marketing products have not had significant growth. Instead, Dun & Bradstreet has seen companies such as DiscoverOrg, LinkedIn (Sales Navigator), TechTarget, and Zoominfo enjoy most of the growth in the Sales and Marketing Intelligence space.
Funding will be a combination of debt and equity. The deal includes a 45-day “go-shop” period during which alternative offers will be welcome.
Thomas J. Manning will continue as the CEO through the closing of the transaction while James N. Fernandez, a director of the Company since 2004 and Lead Director since February 2018, will continue as the Chairman.
“Today’s announcement is the culmination of a thoughtful and comprehensive review of the value creation opportunities available to the Company as part of a full portfolio and business assessment and exploration of strategic alternatives with multiple financial sponsors. As a result of this process, the Dun & Bradstreet Board of Directors unanimously determined that this all-cash transaction with the Investor Group is in the best interest of our shareholders and our Company,” said Manning.
William P. Foley II, Chairman of Cannae Holdings, said, “In an increasingly data-driven world, Dun & Bradstreet’s insight-driven business model and interconnectivity across industries has positioned the Company for continued success. We are excited to grow the Company, increase operating efficiencies and improve the Dun & Bradstreet customer experience by providing enhanced business solutions.”
Customer engagement platform Outreach announced a $65 million Series D last week, bringing its total funding to $125 million. The round was led by Spark Capital and includes investment from Sapphire Ventures as well as from existing investors DFJ Growth, Four Rivers Group, Mayfield, MHS Capital, Microsoft Ventures and Trinity Ventures.
Business Insider placed the valuation around $500 million, more than double the Series C valuation. The firm is eyeing an IPO in 2021 subject to market conditions.
Funds will be deployed towards product development “with a specific focus on machine learning and extending the platform beyond the sales team to every customer-facing role.”
Outreach rolled out the first application of its Amplify AI platform in March for intent classification. “This feature detects the intent of an email reply from a prospect and uses that intent to automate or recommend the next best action for the sales rep to take,” blogged product storyteller Chelsey Feldman. “Our intent classification capabilities use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to go beyond reply rates and measure whether replies are positive, objections, or unsubscribe requests…The result is the ability to measure email effectiveness and classify intent at scale.”
The firm now describes itself as a Customer Engagement company that is employing machine learning “to scientifically test, measure and optimize the performance of sales teams, while also automating non sales-related tasks.”
Medina blogged about this broader company vision last week:
Our mission is to help innovators, the evangelists of new technologies who face a lot of no’s before reaching the yes, to get their products to the people who need them, to successfully build new markets, and to fund the cycle of continuous innovation. For the past couple of years we delivered against that mission by equipping sales reps and leaders to drive predictable and measurable growth, to increase efficiency and effectiveness across the team, and to improve visibility into sales activities and team performance. We pioneered a new category of technology – the Sales Engagement Platform – that drove significant bottom line results for our customers.
But achieving revenue efficiency and delivering a world-class experience to every customer is the job not just of your sales team, but of every customer-facing employee. Many of our customers have already realized the power of Outreach to drive efficiency and lift across the revenue organization and are using Outreach for account management and customer success in addition to pipeline generation and closing. The category has effectively grown beyond Sales Engagement to become Customer Engagement…
You can only make smart decisions around improving customer experience if you can measure the outcomes of every process for all customer scenarios, and understand how those outcomes directly impact revenue. The next revolution in business will be driven not by big bang AI programs that produce lofty recommendations that are difficult to put into action, but by stacking thousands of these quick wins on top of each other to drive efficiency into every corner of the business.
“Outreach has been instrumental in creating and evolving the customer engagement category, which is growing at an exponential rate,” said Alex Clayton, Investor at Spark Capital. “Outreach’s technology, approach and leadership team make it poised to capture this multi-billion dollar opportunity.”
The Series D follows after a strong 2017 where the company doubled its customer base and posted more than 100% revenue growth. Outreach also doubled its headcount over the past year to 300 employees with a goal of 350 by the end of the year. The firm has 22,000 global users and 2,400 customers including Cloudera, Adobe, Microsoft, and DocuSign.
“The customer engagement category is experiencing explosive growth, due in large part to high rates of usage, a rarity for enterprise software which is often used as a data repository or even worse, purchased and forgotten,” said CEO Manny Medina. “Our north star isn’t number of customers, it’s number of Weekly Active Users. This metric is proof we have created a technology that not only drives revenue, but also is viewed as indispensable to every member of the revenue team.”
Usage remains high with 75% of sales reps signing in daily. “Now salespeople have a place to live,” Medina said.