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.
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.
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.
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.
Five vendors covered in my newsletters and blog made LinkedIn’s Top 50 US or Top 10 UK startups list, an indicator to the economic vibrancy of SalesTech and MarTech solutions, particularly during the pandemic.
Sales Engagement vendor Outreach placed #6 in the US, its second year making the list.
“We work hard to be a great place to work and to create an environment where [the] top talent of any background feels welcome and can thrive,” said Outreach CEO Manny Medina. “We’re always looking for passionate, tenacious employees who think differently and live and breathe our core value of having each other’s backs. I’m thrilled that we continue to attract the best of the best, and LinkedIn named us one of the top startups in the US.”
Outreach focused on “emerging and resilient startups that are navigating the ever-evolving nature of work in the wake of COVID-19.” The firm also focused on delivering sales management tools during the pandemic, helping “leaders closely monitor their team’s success and keep employees motivated and productive.”
According to CEO James Isilay, “We have just made a key hire in the US and will be expanding the offering there from October.”
Following a staff survey, Cognism will be moving to a smaller office presence and emphasize WFH options.
“Despite a challenging year with the pandemic, Cognism has continued its strong growth recently passing the key $10 million ARR mark,” wrote CEO James Isilay. “We see growth accelerating next year as we bring our go-to-market intelligence and engagement platform to new markets across Europe.”
Two tactile marketing companies, Alyce (35) and Sendoso (46), made the list. Both firms positioned direct mail e-gifting as a method to connect with customers and prospects during the pandemic.
“While many companies and entire industries were dramatically impacted by the pandemic, the need to create personal bonds as the world moved almost fully digital in the age of no major trade shows, events, and public networking became ever more paramount,” wrote Alyce. “Alyce actually thrived as a company, and swiftly pivoted to deliver digital gifts for their enterprise customers looking to create personal experience moments for their audience. Despite the market shifts, Alyce has experienced a milestone year of growth, with a vast percentage of its Annual Recurring Revenue (AAR) coming from its enterprise customer base and new use-case expansion, more than 5x-ing over last year.”
Firms were based upon four criteria: employee growth; jobseeker interest; member engagement with the company and its employees; and how well these startups pulled talent from LinkedIn’s Top Companies list. Startups must be no more than seven years old and have at least 50 employees.
Hybrid Engagement vendor Cognism acquired email signature marketing firm Mailtastic in a seven-figure cash and stock deal. The acquisition provides Cognism with an additional marketing channel – professional email signatures that reflect the latest corporate messaging and branding. Mailtastic centralizes corporate signature blocks, with adjustments by market, outbound language, and job function. Employees can select between multiple signature options based upon the recipient.
Mailtastic supports G Suite, Office 365, Outlook, Exchange, Apple Mail, and Gmail, with signatures optimized by the device. Mailtastic is GDPR compliant with European server locations. Mailtastic features include centralized campaign management, campaign analytics, event planning, and click notifications.
“The acquisition will enable Cognism to empower go-to-market teams with a whole new channel for their outreach and lead generation efforts,” posted Mailtastic Marketing Manager Verena Vogt. “For Mailtastic, the acquisition represents an exciting opportunity to offer accelerated internationalisation, extensive product expansion, and the creation of joint products and services that will define the next era of B2B revenue growth solutions.”
The full Mailtastic team of ten is joining Cognism, including its founders Tao Bauer, Peer Wierzbitzki, and Andreas Schröder.
Mailtastic was founded in 2015 and grew its customer base to 350 enterprises, mostly in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH). The acquisition provides an additional go-to-market channel, an EU office in Mainz, and a set of Central European enterprise clients into which Cognism services may be cross-sold. Cognism will open a second UK office in Manchester that will focus on Mailtastic sales, with plans to open a second North American office towards the end of the year, possibly in Canada.
Mailtastic is profitable and has a 67% annual growth rate. The firm has no sales team, with selling conducted by one of its founders; thus, applying Cognism’s successful go-to-market approach should support rapid revenue expansion. Cognism’s sales approach is to hire recent University grads as SDRs and then train them in Cognism’s sales tools for prospecting, ICP/TAM analysis, and outbound sales engagement. Reps also leverage global company and contact profiles that include over 20 million direct dial and mobile numbers.
Mailtastic has a negative churn rate. CEO James Isilay indicated that the DACH market is slower to purchase technology, but also less likely to switch vendors than the UK or US markets. Once licensed to the enterprise, seat growth takes place organically as firms look to control email block branding and messaging. Furthermore, the DACH market provides a stable base for cross-selling Cognism services. Beyond GDPR, Mailtastic signature management is a compliance requirement in regulated UK and German industries.
Cognism has been a Mailtastic client for the past year, enjoying a 10% rise in click-through rates and a 25% increase in webinar conversions.
The initial post-acquisition focus will be on cross-training the companies and deploying a Mailtastic sales team trained in Cognism sales tools and processes. In Q3, Mailtastic will be integrated with several MAPs and SEPs.
“These are uncertain times and we want to ensure our clients have every tool at their disposal to develop new ways to prospect when budgets are being cut and certain channels, like outdoor advertising and live events, just aren’t an option. Email signature marketing is massively underused and it will play a key role as more people work from home and engage others through their screens.
Cognism is focused on expanding in Europe and bolstering our position as a global go-to-market champion. To achieve this, our fantastic team has worked tirelessly to help clients build strong, repeatable lead generation strategies that can benefit from both inbound and outbound methodologies and, by integrating Mailtastic, we’re strengthening this offering further. Cognism provides clients with the data they need to send emails, the tools required to automate and action them, and now it will be providing a way for customers to expand their reach with every email their employees send. By continuing to expand the Cognism offering, customers are able to build powerful go-to-market strategies that will enable their go-to-market teams to find and deliver new revenue, faster.”
Cognism CEO James Isilay
Cognism combines B2B DaaS services, sales intelligence, ICP / TAM tools, prospecting, email templates, and outbound cadences. Mailtastic provides them with additional email customization tools.
The Mailtastic acquisition is similar to the Terminus purchase of Sigstr late last year. Both firms offer a strong feature – management of email signatures – that would likely be difficult to justify as a standalone MarTech license in the current economic environment. However, both add significant value alongside the ABM capabilities of their new parents.
Isilay indicated that the firm successfully transitioned to WFH. Sales and renewals in the exhibition and recruitment markets declined, but the firm used its ICP tools to adjust its targeting and its new business generation is back to pre-pandemic levels. COVID-related churn has died down, and revenue is growing strongly again, with $8.5 million in projected ARR by the end of May.
is beginning to evolve a set of hybrid engagement vendors that deliver a broad
set of sales and marketing services. The boundary between sales and
marketing is quickly crumbling. Hybrid engagement services manage both
data and workflows. Features include
Congratulations to conversational marketing vendor Drift and sales intelligence vendor Cognism for making LinkedIn’s Top Startups: Hottest Companies to Work for Now lists.
Boston-based Drift was ranked 46 in the US. The firm has grown from 65 employees to 280 over the past year and plans to “double down” on its product and sales teams.
Yesterday, at their Hypergrowth conference, Drift announced the acquisition of Giant Otter, an AI and machine learning company, and the launch of Drift Automation.
Drift Automation understands the specific context of what someone is asking and can engage in conversations that go in a variety of directions. For the first time, this puts the customer is in control of the conversation — not the chatbot.
Lacey Berrien, Drift Senior Manager, Public Relations
Drift co-founder Elias Torres was impressed by Giant Otter which is based on research led by Dr. Jeff Orkin at the MIT Media Lab.
“When I met Jeff Orkin and he showed me what Giant Otter could do, I knew that I had seen the future of marketing automation,” said Torres. “We’ve been working on Drift Automation behind the scenes with early customers who have been seeing incredible results — including improvements in inbound sales velocity, pipeline and revenue growth, time back for the marketing team, and the ability to put the customer in control of the buying experience.”
London-based Cognism was ranked 21 on the UK list with plans to open offices in the US and Singapore and triple its headcount to around 200 over the next year. Cognism products include
Cognism Prospector for lead list building, prospect research, and prospect/account current awareness.
Cognism Refresh for CRM data maintenance and enrichment.
Cognism Wealth list building and TAM analysis for financial services firms and wealth managers.
Cognism closed on its Series B back in July. According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions. Isilay noted that Asia is a particularly compelling market due to SaaS being relatively immature in the region.
Cognism is hosting its first RevenueAI user conference at the Science Museum London on 19 September. I will be speaking on Trends in Sales and Marketing Intelligence at the conference.
Sales Acceleration Platform Cognism closed on a $10 million Series B from PeakSpan, bringing total funding to $16.5 million. Previous investors included Oliver Wyman, South Central Ventures, LCIF, and Newable Ventures Limited. The firm, founded in 2016, grew ARR over 4x last year.
will be deployed for opening local offices in Singapore and New York City as
well as growing its machine learning team. According to CEO James Isilay,
the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions.
Isilay called Asian expansion “particularly interesting” due to SaaS being relatively young in the market. Cognism has already leveraged its partnership with investor Oliver Wyman to acquire two “blue-chip financial clients” in Asia. “Investment here looks to be a promising tonic to the barriers to trade growth that are disrupting business in Europe and America.”
granted our first machine learning patent in December 2018, Cognism is now
building a portfolio of IP which will drive the next evolution of sales and
marketing technology,” said Isilay.
“Sales and marketing technology has been a core focus of ours for many years, arming us with a long-term perspective on the segment and a nuanced understanding of market trends and buyer dynamics that drive strategic value. With such a proliferation of tools and technologies emerging across the marketing and sales landscape over the last decade, it’s no secret that go-to-market leaders today aren’t asking for more software tools – they’re demanding better outcomes. Cognism’s pragmatic application of AI, which underpins the whole solution suite, is paving the way for a new category focused on turning disparate data points into coordinated insights to drive predictive and prescriptive lead generation and improve conversion across all engagements.”
▪ Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner at PeakSpan
database spans 400 million contacts and 10 million businesses. Cognism’s
products support Prospecting, Sales Triggers, and CRM Enrichments.
CRM Connectors are available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics,
HubSpot, and PipeDrive. A cadence tool sends templated emails through
Gmail and Outlook.
Marketing Features include A/B testing, Personas, ICP and TAM Analyses, and webform enrichment.
European Sales Acceleration vendor Cognism continues to demonstrate strong
momentum out of the gate with a second funding round. The firm closed on
a £2.8 million round from investors including Oliver Wyman, South Central
Ventures, LCIF, Newable, and existing investors.
The expansion capital will be
“used to enhance the solution for Enterprises and also expand the offering into
the Financial Services sector.”
“Cognism is moving beyond
sales intelligence and applying its patented machine intelligence technology to
understand the revenue challenges at the Enterprise level,” said CEO James
Isilay. “There is a natural fit between the data and analytics the
Cognism platform provides and the strategy that can then be derived to enhance
revenue at the Enterprise level. We are keen to showcase this value to this
sector and hope our collaboration with Oliver Wyman will propel us forward and
continue our strong growth.”
Cognism, which was founded in 2016, already has over 200 customers and has posted 617% revenue growth year-to-date. The firm offers a data set of 400 million global companies and contacts. Their Prospector service supports persona based prospecting, sales intelligence, and CRM connectors. Other products include Refresh CRM enrichment and Engage sales acceleration (sales engagement).
“Our clients are continuously looking for new ways to accelerate growth. Cognism technology will provide our clients with dynamic insights into their existing client base, enabling them to develop more targeted solutions and improving sales success. At the same time, Cognism technology will allow our clients to make a step change in their prospecting efforts. Cognism’s data asset will allow our clients to identify prospects matching detailed personas, leveraging data on over 400M companies and individuals.”
Kai Upadek, Partner at Oliver Wyman
Cognism also announced the addition of Vidyard GoVideo to outbound emails. Vidyard’s video “selfies” help sales reps personalize communications and “build stronger relationships with their prospects” with “one-to-one videos on-demand in a matter of moments.”