Lavender, which markets an AI-powered sales email coaching platform, closed an $11 million Series A, raising its total funding to $13.2 million. Norwest Venture Partners led the round with participation from Signia Venture Partners. The funding follows strong growth in 2022, with revenue rising 865%.
Funds will be deployed towards expanding its team and introducing “new AI-powered features that help revenue teams not just understand why their messaging is falling flat but also provide actionable coaching to improve productivity and generate faster responses.”
“Lavender’s new investment helps it build out a generative AI solution at the intersection of email marketing, sales enablement, and news and information,” wrote Outsell Lead Analyst Randy Giusto. “It shows where sales and marketing intelligence vendors must head next.”
Lavender integrates with a user’s email workflow, helping reps improve response rates. It also delivers prospect company and contact intelligence. Lavender scores emails and recommends steps to improve response rates. It also “coaches sales reps on how to build meaningful relationships and close more deals.”
Along with raising response rates, email composition time is significantly reduced. Lavender claims that rep time writing an email drops from fifteen minutes to one while raising email response rates fourfold to twenty percent or more.
“Using Lavender is like giving every seller on the team a dedicated coach, making them more effective, more efficient, and more confident in their job,” stated CEO William Ballance. “This funding quickly accelerates our ability to build the best email experience for sellers around the world. Most importantly, we’re creating new jobs as our team of #EmailWizards rapidly expands.”
Lavender recommendations are initially based on “millions of successful sales emails and your historical emails.” However, it continues to adjust recommendations based on “what works best for you.”
Lavender evaluates the subject and body to improve open rates. It will identify subjects that are too long, not in title case, or contain numbers and punctuation. For the body, it looks at the length, layout, spelling, and grammar. For example, long sentences and paragraphs are difficult to read on mobile devices, so they are discouraged. According to Lavender, 80% of buyers are viewing emails on their phone, “so making emails easily scannable on a mobile device is imperative.” A mobile preview window displays the email as it would appear on phones.
“We recommend things across multiple categories, including formatting, phrasing, tonality and emotional intelligence, mobile optimization, personalization, and more,” explained Lavender COO Will Allred to GZ Consulting. “The data is always shifting though, and as trends shift in sales emails/what works well for that user and/or their team, Lavender’s scoring and recommendations dynamically adjust accordingly.”
Other Lavender features include a coaching dashboard, AI for Sales emails, and a personalization assistant. The coaching dashboard provides individual and team email scores, open rates, reply rates, and writing time. It helps managers determine which reps require additional coaching, what is working, and why it is working.
Lavender includes a “Start my Email” function that employs generative AI to “draft impactful outgoing email messages” based on seed bullet points from the rep or as email responses based on the email thread.
The generative AI is OEM’d from OpenAI & Cohere.
The personalization assistant displays recipient context to assist with personalization. For example, lavender surfaces social data, personality insights, news, events, job listings, funding announcements, and other intelligence within the composition workflow. Lavender AI also recommends “personalized intros to tailor your email and make it relevant to the recipient.”
Lavender is integrated with Gmail, Outlook, Outreach, and Salesloft. Lavender Anywhere, a Chrome extension, supports email composition for HubSpot, LinkedIn, Groove, Apollo, Engage, Outplay, and Mailchimp. As Lavender Anywhere is not directly integrated with these platforms, users must cut and paste the resulting text into the communication window. Lavender Anywhere is available with Pro and Teams licenses.
“Lavender is delivering exceptional value to our customers. Their integration provides real-time email assistance to help Salesloft customers build and deepen their relationships with prospects through better emails,” said Salesloft VP of Global Alliances Devin Schiffman. “We share in the mission of helping sellers be loved by the buyers they serve.”
Customers include Twilio, Sharebite, Sendoso, Segment, Lucidworks, and Clari. Allred said Lavender sells into a “large range” of companies, “but our sweet spot tends to be mid-market tech or tech-enabled companies.”
“Lavender is marketed toward ‘sales emails’ – but many things are a sale,” continued Allred. “Our users use Lavender for B2B sales, recruiting, customer success, marketing, and many more.”
While output is English only, features such as the email generator or summary tools can ingest foreign language input. Thus, Lavender “works great for ESL (English second language) selling into English speaking markets,” said Allred.
“Lavender’s platform goes beyond basic AI-generated writing to augment—rather than automate—sales outreach and humanize every interaction. It supercharges sales reps by reducing their time spent writing emails so that they can focus on building relationships and selling products,” said Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners. “We were blown away by the ‘customer love’ for Lavender’s product, which is a testament to the founding team’s deep understanding of their end user and the tight-knit community of sales leaders it has already built. We’re excited to partner with this team on the journey ahead.”
The firm has benefited from the recent interest in generative AI and ChatGPT. “We were using GPT-3 long before ChatGPT was a thing, but ChatGPT has definitely increased interest in Generative AI more broadly. Users have created UGC (user-generated content) of them using Lavender to edit ChatGPT–generated emails,” explained Allred. “But before ChatGPT was released, thousands of users were already getting the benefit of it within Lavender.”
“We view the process of emailing as four parts: research, creation, editing, and learning,” continued Allred. Lavender assists in all four. Generative models can assist along the way to streamline things for our users.”
Lavender is sold on a freemium basis. Free users receive email analysis and personalization for five emails per month.
Reps can license an Individual Pro license for $29 per month that provides unlimited emails and recommendations. In addition, the Pro service includes Lavender Anywhere, multi-inbox support, analytics, and Gmail and Outlook 365 integrations.
For $49 per user per month, companies can license a Team edition that includes Team AI coaching, Team Insights, a Manager’s Dashboard, and SEP integrations for Salesloft or Outreach. Lavender offers a seven-day free trial and free premium licenses for job seekers, students, and bootstrapped entrepreneurs.