Cognism Funding Round

UK Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism closed on a $12.5 million funding round led by AXA Venture Partners and joined by Swisscom Ventures.  Existing investors Investiere and VentureFounders also participated.  Cognism will be deploying the funds to expand its presence in the UK and Europe, including additional functionality and solutions for the global market.

The firm is coming off a strong 2020, during which ARR rose 60% to $11 million.  In January, MRR passed $1 million for the first time.  Cognism supports over 1,000 customers spread across 30 countries.

“We continue to invest in making our data compliant in every one of the 30 countries in which we operate,” said CEO James Isilay. “Our patented AI technology solution makes the process of finding the right prospect faster, more accurate, and compliant, which is now a top priority for all businesses.”

Cognism attributed its success to the strong demand for compliant B2B prospecting data and “the company’s ongoing commitment to adhering to global regulations.”

“Sales intelligence is crucial for making sellers more productive, even more so when people are working from home. Cognism is well-positioned to become the leading company in Europe, and we are excited to be part of that journey.”

Stefan Kuentz, Partner at Swisscom Ventures

Isilay said that Cognism is “moving more upmarket towards enterprise” and hiring account executives and managers. “We’ve got a very strong revenue engine, and now we’re really planning out and getting our retention engine to the next level.”

Cognism, which completed acquired Mailtastic and Ricochet least year, has another in the works. “We really want to be that go-to-market intelligence leader in not just Europe, but the world, and I think we’re going in the right direction right now. Things are looking very positive at the moment.” London-based Cognism was founded in 2015 and grew its employment by 60% over the past year to 223 employees.

Echobot Company Profile Now Available

Echobot Company Profile Report Cover Page

I am pleased to announce that my latest Sales Intelligence company profile is available for those looking to purchase a solution for the UK or D-A-CH region. I used the same methodology for Echobot that I employed when I wrote my book “2017 Field Guide to Sales Intelligence Vendors.”  The idea was to write an objective analysis (hence sections on weaknesses and competitors), not simply a puff piece.  I work closely with the vendor to describe content, functionality, connectors, roadmap, strengths, and weaknesses.

As Echobot is based in Germany, I also wrote about their GDPR compliance steps.

While vendors have input, I retain editorial control. I believe that retaining objectivity makes these reports more valuable for vendors as it both provides a roadmap for their future product evolution and provides prospects with a realistic view of a product’s strengths and weaknesses.

Echobot is making the profile available from their website.


Here is my summary from the report:

UK vendors have been launching sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions for the European market over the past several years. It is a welcome sign that European vendors now have the confidence to compete in the UK market. One of these vendors is Germany-based Echobot. Echobot is a promising new sales intelligence and B2B DaaS entrant to the UK market. It is the leading sales and marketing intelligence service in the D-A-CH region and enters the UK with a broad set of sales and marketing services. Echobot offers deep coverage of UK and D-A-CH companies, GDPR-compliant contacts, and signals (event triggers), delivered via web browser applications and extensions, mobile apps, Salesforce, and Zapier webhooks.

Along with company profiles, Echobot offers contacts, emails, news, social media mentions, and signals.

CONNECT (sales intelligence) and TARGET (list building) were recently launched in the UK market, but have been available as German-language solutions for the D-A-CH market for several years. As such, the company should move quickly to address any V1.0 bugs and fill content gaps. Since launching in September 2020, Echobot has integrated Google Translate into its platform for free-form text translation and refined its sales trigger precision.

DATACARE provides B2B DaaS hygiene services that verify, enrich, and append company and contact data. DATACARE flags duplicates, verifies emails, updates company names and addresses, and appends missing fields. DATACARE was launched in December.

Michael Levy, GZ Consulting Principal, “Echobot Company Profile,” 2021.

Rhetorik UK Expansion Pack

Rhetorik announced a UK expansion pack to its NetFinder+ technology sales intelligence service.   The expansion pack adds 90,000 companies and 200,000 contacts and emails to Rhetorik’s UK coverage.  NetFinder+ data includes firmographics, contacts, and technographics.  

The Rhetorik Technology Classification (RTC), a proprietary taxonomy, spans 7,000 vendors across ten million installs. Rhetorik’s technographics cover

  • Installed IT assets such as telecoms equipment, networking devices, and server and desktop hardware
  • Software products from traditional enterprise applications and operating systems to new cloud platforms and vertical industry applications
  • Services and consumables suppliers

“We have invested heavily in our international coverage, now offering sales and marketing intelligence across 30+ countries, but the UK remains the largest and fastest-growing IT market in Europe for a range of enterprise software and cloud services. This fully GDPR-compliant SMB expansion enables marketers to reach deeper into that market than ever before.”

Rhetorik CEO Meredith Amdur

The expanded coverage profiles UK companies with five to 100 employees.  Rhetorik expects to “significantly” grow their coverage this year.  They have a “stand-by database” of companies and contacts “awaiting final cleaning and compliance.  “Existing clients will gain free access for three months to all the new accounts and contacts that meet their existing data criteria,” wrote CRO Kevin Savage.

Rhetorik covers Western European along with

  • Former Soviet Union: The Ukraine, Estonia, and Latvia
  • Balkans: Slovenia, Croatia, and Greece
  • Eastern Europe: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania

Additional EMEA countries include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and South Africa, with ten more countries in development.

In January, Rhetorik released its DataCliniq DaaS enrichment service for maintaining data hygiene.  DataCliniq diagnoses, cleanses, and enriches account, contact, and lead records.  It supports both batch file uploads and channel partner integrations with data marketplaces.  The service also directly integrates with Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, and Marketo.

Rhetorik’s year-to-date revenue is up 50%.

Cognism Growth

UK Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism continues its rapid growth with $11.5 million in 2020 revenue.  CEO James Isilay anticipates 2021 revenue of $20 million.  ACV is around $14,000 with over 1,000 customers.

Cognism had an initial one-month hiccup due to COVID as customers in the recruitment and events space were hit hard, and the firm needed to transition to a WFH sales environment.  However, the firm is back to growing “and hitting its targets every month.”

“COVID helped us get way more efficient.  We didn’t need an office anymore, it slowed our headcount growth,” said Isilay.” We really have an engine now where we can just put more money into headcount in terms of SDRs or into marketing and then get more growth.  So it’s really just a question of how much we want to put the foot down on the pedal.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

By the end of October, employment hit 179 with sixty headcount in Croatia and Macedonia.

When the firm acquired email signature marketing vendor Mailtastic back in May, they paid roughly $4 million for the company in a stock and cash deal.

Mailtastic’s net retention is around 110%, and the prospecting service is approaching 90%.  However, there is a high percentage of returning customers post-churn.  The company started in the SMB space and has moved up-market, so net retention should improve.

While the firm has a negative cash flow, it burns only $200K per month with six to seven million from the last raise sitting in the bank.  The August funding round valued the firm at a bit under $100 million.

Cognism offers sales intelligence, B2B DaaS, and sales engagement services. It maintains over 55 million European company profiles.

BoardEx Diversity Network

Interlocks research platform BoardEx added Board Diversity variables that track membership in ethnicity association networks.  The system tracks “champions, allies, and advocates of specific ethnicities in leadership roles.  It comprises multiple networks of associations representing a specific ethnicity – referred to as ethnicity association networks.”  Seventeen thousand execs are tracked, along with execs that have received awards from association members.

BoardEx covers two million companies and 1.5 million executives, with data maintained by 350 editors.

“Our clients are seeking ways to help their own clients improve ethnic and other forms of diversity within their own organizations and report on their progress with this change,” says BoardEx CEO Cameron Ireland.  “The new network helps you connect with members of over 2,600 ethnicity associations that actively champion ethnic diversity.  It also surfaces people who have received awards recognizing their contribution to ethnic diversity in business from publicly available information.”

Along with collecting the Board Diversity data, BoardEx will be working with clients and partners to

  1. Champion the efforts of diversity associations to help raise awareness for groups who are historically underrepresented.
  2. Enhance the ability of companies to discover and connect with talented leaders of different ethnic, racial and functional backgrounds to build leadership teams, C-suites, and boards that reflect their customers and wider society.
  3. Empower professionals to analyze diversity trends within workplaces in order to create transparency and accountability around different diversity attributes.

The new selects are available to all clients.

BoardEx is owned by Euromoney which has assembled a set of complementary services in its People Intelligence business:  WealthEngine, BoardEx, and Wealth-X.  WealthEngine provides wealth and lifestyle insights on 300 million Americans and 122 million households. Wealth-X profiles the global wealthy.

Following the December acquisition of WealthEngine, Euromoney stated that “the Group now has full coverage across the wealth intelligence value chain, which is a growing information-services market.”

HG Insights Market Intelligence for SOM Analysis

Last month, HG Insights launched its Market Intelligence service that supports technographic market research. The analytics service supports sales, marketing, and strategy teams at B2B vendors, letting them develop account plans, segment markets, evaluate market entry, and size opportunities.

Product and strategy teams can analyze market trends, size market opportunities, and assess competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.  They can also use it to identify the Service Obtainable Market (SOM), which is the market segment size a firm can capture with its solution. As HG Insights notes in the following graphic, the SOM is a narrower definition of market potential than TAM (Total Addressable Market) and SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market).

For example, many entrenched vendors in the North American Sales Intelligence space have robust solutions and established market share.  Looking to displace LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo, D&B Hoovers, and InsideView in the most mature Sales Intelligence segment would be difficult.  However, a SOM analysis would indicate that the UK is the second most mature market and that continental Europe is beginning to take off.  Thus, a product manager might focus on European content and multi-lingual capabilities (e.g., UX, event tagging, free form text translation).  Likewise, they might select niche markets such as financial services with strong compliance requirements or choose to develop functionally differentiated services (e.g., GrowFlare focused on psychographics and ICPs before being acquired by Terminus late last year).

“Without a SOM containing detailed information about competitor product installations, you’d have no way of knowing this and might decide to go to market in a region saturated by competition you have very little likelihood of displacing. Alternatively, what if you were looking at different regions or countries and wanted to identify which situations represented the best growth opportunities for your business. Again, knowing the estimated market size in revenue isn’t going to help you much. But what if you knew what companies had budgeted to spend on your category of product by region, entity, or industry?”

HG Insights VP of Global Sales Scott Smyth

“Business leaders need more than high-level market reports to make successful go-to-market decisions,” said HG Insights EVP of Product Rana Kanaan. “With our actionable market intelligence offering, we are giving our customers the ability to customize their market views by the attributes they care about most and operationalize intelligence for their revenue teams.  This allows them to allocate resources more effectively, prioritize the right product initiatives, and give their sales and marketing teams the account details they need to pursue the best opportunities.”


Scott Smyth is offering a master class on TAM/SAM/SOM on February 24th. Here is the information:

HG Insights Market Intelligence

HG Insights continues its evolution from a technographics licensor to a full-service direct source of technology market intelligence.  Two weeks ago, they launched Market Intelligence, a market analytics service for marketing, product management, and strategy groups.  Market Intelligence delivers “actionable insights [that] business leaders need to understand their markets in-depth, make better business decisions, and go-to-market (GTM) with confidence.”

Market Intelligence insights are derived from their global verified technology installation data, including which products have been installed, tech stack spend by category, and contract terms. “This trio of data sets powers detailed, customizable views of the entire installed technology ecosystem,” wrote the firm.

The IT Spend and tech install data are broken into different categories, helping sales teams determine which verticals are likely to have both budgets and an intention to purchase.  Revenue teams can drill into market segments to understand the “size, shape, and structure” of target markets.

Likewise, marketing can use install and spend intelligence to better segment and target their outreach.  Information can be analyzed by IT category, industry, region, and other relevant attributes.  Better targeting allows firms to focus their marketing spend and attention on the right prospects and feed marketing qualified leads to sales.

Revenue teams can deploy Market Insights for territory optimization, account targeting based on propensity to purchase, and account-based messaging.

HG Insights contrasted Market Intelligence with traditional technology research vendors that provide “static, top-down analyst reports that are not customizable at the account level.”  According to HG Insights, technology analyst reports lack the account intelligence that revenue teams require to engage with customers and prospects effectively.

“HG Insights Market Intelligence platform addresses these challenges by providing you with the bottom-up account intelligence you need to understand your markets in-depth and make better business decisions,” contrasted HG Insights Marketing Communications Manager David Guerra.  Using our Market Intelligence platform, you can now instantly analyze the true size of your markets globally by technology installation, IT spend and budget, and a number of other factors.”

Users can also compare the market size of various markets such as countries by vertical to determine growth opportunities.  Other features include vendor penetration rates by industry, purchasing and spend data for target accounts, and segmentation based upon ICP criteria.

“The HG Insights Market Intelligence platform gives you all the information you need to understand your markets, remove subjectivity from planning, and go to market with confidence,” stated Guerra.

A few weeks ago, HG Insights closed on an equity round with Riverwood Capital.  HG Insights completed a successful 2020, reaching its highest annual recurring revenue (ARR) and profitability.  Employment rose 30% last year, and revenue grew over 35%.

“Customers continue to reaffirm that HG Insights’ data’s breadth, depth, and coverage accuracy has become an indispensable asset for critical decision making at every level of a technology company,” commented Riverwood Principal Ramesh Venugopal who joined HG Insights’ Board.  “HG Insights provides unique, data-driven knowledge giving decision-makers confidence that they are making the right choices.”


Part II covers how Product and Strategy teams can employ Market Intelligence for determining the Service Obtainable Market (SOM) for technology offerings.

Artesian Data Extensions

Sales and Risk Intelligence vendor Artesian Solutions announced three data extensions to its company and contact universe: two U.K. dataset extensions and an Irish dataset.  On January 14th, they unveiled their new Connect platform and a broader product vision.

“We’re delighted to kick off 2021 on such a high. These new premium data points are fundamental to the KYC and compliance processes for many of our customers, so it was a logical extension to the data they currently rely on to engage with their customers.

Artesian CEO Andrew Yates

The first data extension is U.K. County Court Judgments (CCJs) and legal notices such as receiverships and winding-up petitions.  CCJs are useful for financial services onboarding, due diligence, and risk assessment.

The Adverse Director History dataset assists with KYC/AML processes and highlights whether a Director was previously associated with a firm that ended up in insolvency, administration, or bankruptcy.

Artesian already provides access to other compliance datasets such as Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), terrorist lists, and sanctions lists.  Additional details will be released in next week’s platform announcement.

The new Artesian:Connect platform supports custom processing rules and alerting for CCJs and adverse director histories.  Data goes back as far as twenty years.

The Irish dataset provides four years of company financials, director checks, and company news.  Firmographic data includes addresses, trading status, registration numbers, and auditor information.  Company data is available through Artesian Engage, the Artesian Ready app for iOS and Android, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics.  Coverage spans 250,000 companies.  

Artesian did not publicly disclose the Irish data vendor, but it is a highly credible data source.

Artesian Solutions already provides coverage of Britain, the U.S., and Canada.  Customers can license the countries in any combination, including Ireland only, U.K. + Ireland, and all four countries together.

Artesian had a successful 2020 as customers looked for remote vendor solutions for both sales and compliance/onboarding.  Usage was up sharply for both product lines.  According to Chief Customer Officer Mike Blackadder, Artesian’s “training teams have never been so busy.”

Artesian hosted a virtual summit for its Connect platform on January 14th. Coverage continues tomorrow.

HG Insights Equity Round

Technology Intelligence vendor HG Insights closed on an equity round with Riverwood Capital.  Neither the size nor the valuation was disclosed.  

HG Insights employs natural language processing and machine learning to develop account intelligence concerning technology installations, IT budgets, and contract information for eleven million global companies across 14,000 products.

“Our customers have come to rely on HG Insights as an indispensable input into their most strategic decisions such as market sizing, whitespace analysis, and territory planning as well as for fundamental activities including opportunity prioritization and account-based marketing intelligence.  Our rapid growth over the last two years is fueled by the depth and breadth of benefits we provide to B2B technology companies, globally. Riverwood’s investment is a vote of confidence in our future.  It gives us flexibility and access to resources to help accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunity before us.”

HG Insights CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky

Riverwood is a Technology-focused growth-equity firm with $3.5 billion in assets under management.  Riverwood says that it offers “a unique combination of operational, strategic, technological, and financial insight to portfolio companies that need both growth capital and expertise in order to scale.”

Riverwood Capital Managing Partner Jeff Parks said, “HG Insights represents a golden opportunity for Riverwood to continue to use our capital and expertise to accelerate the growth of innovative technology companies addressing demonstrated but unmet market needs.  Elizabeth and her team have built an organization poised to disrupt the traditional go-to-market process for companies of virtually any size, and we’re very excited about the potential of this partnership.”

HG Insights just closed on a successful year, reaching its highest annual recurring revenue and profitability.  Employment rose 30% last year, and revenue grew over 35%.  While HG Insights continues to license its firmographics to other vendors, its growth has been focused on direct sales of technographics and analytics to customers.

“Customers continue to reaffirm that HG Insights’ data’s breadth, depth, and coverage accuracy has become an indispensable asset for critical decision making at every level of a technology company,” commented Riverwood Principal Ramesh Venugopal. “HG Insights provides unique, data-driven knowledge giving decision-makers confidence that they are making the right choices.” Jeff Parks and Ramesh Venugopal have joined HG Insight’s Board of Directors

HG Insights Product Line — Missing is the just announced HG Market Intelligence service that provides “actionable market intelligence for every phase of your go-to-market.”

Cognism Acquires Ricochet

UK-based Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism acquired Ricochet, an outbound sales Chrome extension that displays company profiles from company pages, Twitter profiles, LinkedIn pages, Gmail, and Google search.  Ricochet brings with it 1,200 global customers.  Ricochet employs data aggregation to profile and qualify businesses in real-time.

“We’ve admired Cognism’s approach and success since the early days of Ricochet, with both teams dedicated to empowering sales teams with actionable and accurate B2B data,” said Ricochet CEO Paul Smith. “We’re thrilled to be working with [Cognism CEO] James [Isilay] and the team, and look forward to Ricochet’s technology helping Cognism’s customers improve efficiency and streamline their sales development activity.”

Ricochet claims to reduce research and qualification time by 60%, showing employee size, investment information, similar companies, industries, markets, locations, and Companies House data.  A second tab surfaces company blogs.  

HubSpot and Pipedrive integrations indicate which accounts have been added and when they were last updated.  Users have one-click access to the CRM records.

“I am delighted to welcome Ricochet to the Cognism family,” said Isilay. “Paul [Smith] and his team have built a very impressive tool that is trusted by thousands of sales professionals in the B2B space. They solve a very difficult problem. Their focus on data quality makes them an easy fit for us at Cognism, being a world-leader in providing compliant business data. I am looking forward to working with everyone at Ricochet and helping our customers find and deliver new revenue opportunities in 2021 and beyond.”

The acquisition is IP-only, with no employees joining Cognism.

The free Ricochet Chrome extension launched this summer and has quickly been iterating, adding new functionality through the summer and fall.

Ricochet is Cognism’s second acquisition this year.  In May, Cognism picked up signature marketing firm Mailtastic.