Flash: Echobot & Leadfeeder Acquired & Merged

Growth equity firm Great Hill Partners invested €180 million in Echobot and Leadfeeder, merging the firms into a Sales Intelligence and Go-to-market platform.  Both firms are based in Europe (Germany and Finland) and will benefit from the roadmap set out by North American RevTech firms.

The merged firm will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg continuing as CEO.  Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskinen will become the CPO.  The combined company has a headcount of 250 across six offices in Europe and the US.  The new firm’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds €20 million. 

Leadfeeder serves around 7,000 customers and Echobot 1,500.

Echobot’s European data coverage

Echobot offers a Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS platform for the D-A-CH region, UK, and France.  Late last year, it added a broader European data pack.  It supports a database of 20 million European companies and over 60 million GDPR-compliant contacts.  Company and contact data is derived from both registered filings and open web sources and includes directors, shareholders, and financials. 

Echobot takes a “True Compliance” approach which gathers data only from publicly accessible sources.  Furthermore, it provides verification links to the source URLs that allow reps to answer the question, “where did my data come from?”  All data is hosted in Germany.

Echobot’s products include TARGET (prospecting), CONNECT (Sales Intelligence), DATACARE (B2B DaaS), and an API.  In addition, Echobot offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.

“It is our goal to be the leading sales intelligence and go-to-market platform to our core European and North American markets,” said Karweg.  “Thanks to Great Hill, we have now assembled the best data, AI / ML, talent, and operating experience to achieve just that.  We are increasingly seeing organizations looking to take advantage of their own data and third-party data, and then to augment this intelligence with better, more personalized outreach.  The combination of Echobot and Leadfeeder is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a massive market opportunity at the early stages of adoption.”

Leadfeeder IP-to-Account Visitor Intelligence

Leadfeeder offers website visitor intelligence that maps IP addresses to company intelligence.  During the pandemic, it worked to identify remote workers and map them to their employers, helping refine which companies are in-market.  It also supports connectors for Google Analytics, chatbots, audience retargeting, major CRMs, Zapier, and Slack.

“Integrating Leadfeeder’s web visitor identification system with Echobot’s data and prospecting solutions creates a unique platform upon which we can both enable organizations to identify and engage high-intent prospects as well as introduce incremental applications that enhance B2B sales and marketing operations,” said Koskinen.

Karweg envisions an ABM workflow that begins with an ICP analysis that identifies net-new accounts.  The ICP is then mapped against Leadfeeder’s visitor intelligence and Echobot’s firmographics and event triggers to identify high-value, in-market accounts for programmatic marketing.  While programmatic campaigns are not yet supported, they are in development.

Great Hill Partners has also committed an additional €50 million toward future acquisitions.  In an interview with GZ Consulting, Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg indicated that the €50M in dry powder would be used towards acquiring talent, RevTech functionality, or expanded content.

The equity acquisition is a combination of primary and secondary funding, with Great Hill Partners buying out many of the original investors.  It named Growth Partner Derek Schoettle Chairman of the Board and placed Great Hill Partners Managing Director Chris Gaffney and Vice President Greg Stewart on the board of the merged organization.

Schoettle is also on the board of ABX Platform Terminus, another Great Hill investment.  He was the CEO of ZoomInfo when DiscoverOrg acquired it in 2019 (DiscoverOrg subsequently assumed the name ZoomInfo), so he and the new board members offer deep Go-to-Market domain expertise.

“Go-to-market is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B software.  Sales and marketing organizations need timely, accurate information and intelligent systems to identify and engage their prospects in an increasingly personalized, automated fashion.  By bringing together Echobot and Leadfeeder, we can create the next-generation sales intelligence and go-to-market platform,” stated Derek Schoettle.

The transaction is a merger of equals bringing together two firms of roughly the same revenue and employee base.  Both firms have over €10M in ARR and are growing rapidly.  Echobot grew 70% last year, while Leadfeeder had a 50% growth figure.  Echobot has long been profitable, and Leadfeeder is nearing profitability. 

The firms will initially run as independent brands as they merge their operations and platforms.  The deal closed a few weeks ago but was announced this morning.  Thus, they have already begun combining finance and HR.  The two brands will be maintained in the near term with rebranding under consideration for 2023 as Echobot is also the name of a Mirai malware variant.

Valuation figures were not disclosed, but the final price was determined before the recent valuation declines and did not change.  The firms were both being advised by GP Bullhound, which suggested that packaging the two firms together would result in a more effective growth equity round.  Furthermore, the two companies offered features on each other’s roadmap so were logical complements.

Europe has been tracking behind the US in the Sales Intelligence space, with several national champions now looking to offer European datasets and local UIs.  European sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions must meet higher data compliance and privacy standards, incorporate registered data from national registers, support multiple currencies, and many languages.

Echobot covers the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK, and France, with a general European data package added late last year.  A Nordic data package has been accelerated due to the merger, which would increase its competitiveness against Dun & Bradstreet and Vainu.

“One of the most requested developments for 2021 was to access data from the entire European market.  That was not only requested from German customers with a strong export to European countries, but also from new, international users that want to expand into Europe,” explained Karweg last November when Echobot added coverage of over twenty European countries.

“Europe is not one country but many, and there are differences between them, whether it’s to do with culture or data compliance,” remarked Schoettle.  “Having a platform that is unique and linguistic-specific, and serving its markets with high-quality data, is a differentiator.”

“It’s a dream match,” argued Koskinen.  While previously the firm purchased contact data from multiple sources, “it has been difficult to get sufficiently up-to-date and accurate data.”  With the merger, Leadfeeder will offer better data quality and “have all the expertise in-house” to expand its coverage.

Along with higher quality data, Leedfeeder will benefit from a broader set of firmographics, financials, and sales triggers for data enrichment and lead scoring.  Leadfeeder will also be able to cross-sell Echobot’s sales intelligence, prospecting, and data enrichment services to its 7,000 customers.

“We want to be the biggest in Europe,” stated Koskinen.  “It’s going to take a few years, but I think we’re succeeding…We have long had customers all over the world.  After the merger, we will be able to offer something that no one else can.”

Echobot offers German and English-language Sales Triggers.

D&B Connect for Salesforce

Dun & Bradstreet announced its spring releases and enhancements at Forrester’s B2B Data conference in Austin.  Dun & Bradstreet launched D&B Connect for Salesforce, its new data management service, and expanded D&B Rev.Up ABX functionality.

“With more accurate, actionable CRM data, businesses can make more confident decisions, identify more cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and target with greater precision,” blogged North American Sales & Marketing GM Stacy Greiner.  “That’s the foundation for strong account-based strategies and digitalization.  It’s the foundation for a stronger business, period.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce is the next generation of Salesforce hygiene products, superseding D&B Optimizer for Salesforce.  Users have broader control over matching logic.  They can employ easy matching based on Dun & Bradstreet Confidence Codes or customize the match logic by leveraging Confidence Codes alongside country/region selects and match quality. 

The operations manager can set the importance of individual match grades by field (e.g., street number, name, etc.).  Admins can also set match inclusion criteria, defining which fields should be excluded from matching (e.g., Non-Headquarter locations, Out-of-Business locations, Non-Marketable locations, or Undeliverable/Unreachable locations).

Connect for Salesforce has dramatically expanded the data sets available for enrichment, providing access to over 1,600 data elements based upon subscribed data blocks. Admins also have control over refresh frequency and rematch rules.  Data may be refreshed every 14 days with the option of rematching unmatched records.  Transactional matching is also supported, allowing real-time match and append for newly created records.

D&B Connect match logic administration

Other features include data health reports, field-level mapping, out-of-business flags, and duplicate management.  In addition, Dun & Bradstreet offers 37 million subsidiary and branch linkages, ensuring proper territory management and lead assignment.

“What is preventing our marketing campaigns and sales plays from firing on all cylinders? asked Dun & Bradstreet Greiner.  “Quite simply, bad data that is outdated, incorrect, duplicate, improperly formatted, or just outright missing.  Let’s face it — we’re all to blame.  We’re just not good about keeping our data up to date and refreshed.  We don’t even do a good job entering the right data in the first place.  This may be due in part to subjectivity, in part to laziness, and in part because there’s just not enough time in our day to be thorough enough.”

D&B Connect for Salesforce starts at $5,000 per company per year.

Clearbit Data Activation Platform

Clearbit Audience Manager

Clearbit announced the general availability of its Data Activation Platform.  The new service helps B2B marketing teams “focus on creating demand, capturing intent, and optimizing their pipeline.”

The Data Activation Platform addresses the “business imperative for companies to have real-time intelligence about their target market, ideal customers, and engaged prospects.”  It then applies this intelligence across all stages of the customer’s journey.

The Data Activation Platform offers Clearbit customers a user interface for many of the features that were previously only supported as APIs.

“Data activation is specifically around the next step of how we’re helping companies put data to work,” explained CRO Kevin Tate to GZ Consulting.  “We started with the data.  How do you collect data and make it available so that companies can be smart as they engage your customers in the market?  And then, over the last three years, four years, what we’ve gotten to see is how these very fast-growing companies and their growth engineering teams and go-to-market teams have put our data to work in all these different customer touchpoints.  Until this Data Activation Platform, the way they put that data to work was through APIs and integrations that they stitch together.”

Clearbit observed how its data was used for website personalization, advertising campaigns (Google, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube), webforms, lead scoring, routing, etc.  Clearbit then identified several customer needs: a user interface for “putting the data to work,” audience segmentation and activation, audience expansion (similar accounts or contacts by persona), data enrichment, and Reveal visitor intelligence.

“We’ve been fortunate to work with many of the most innovative B2B growth teams in the world, and they’ve taught us that it’s not just about having good data.  It’s about activating that data to improve your funnel from top to bottom,” said Ross Moser, CEO of Clearbit.  “The ability to apply real-time intelligence to each step of the customer journey – and optimize experiences in real-time – is what’s driving success for Clearbit’s customers.”

Clearbit company and visitor intelligence

The Data Activation Platform leverages Clearbit’s heritage as a data company.  Its database spans 44 million companies with over 100 firmographic and demographic attributes.  Clearbit also maintains data on 350 million contacts.  Marketers can target audiences, enrich their CRMs and MAPs, and personalize their website and customer experience apps.  Capabilities include

  • Clearbit Reveal visitor intelligence for tying anonymous users to firms and detecting website visitor intent
  • Ideal Customer Profiling and best-fit prospect recommendations
  • Audience management and segmentation based on data ingested from a company’s CRM, MAP, or CDP.  Alerts may be triggered to activate audiences across systems.
  • Real-time enrichment for short webforms.
  • Real-time integrations and APIs

Audiences can be targeted in multiple ways.  For example, marketers can deploy audiences on Facebook and Google:

  • Prospect Audiences target employees across the complete ICP, including account expansion to new prospects outside the CRM.  Targeting may be filtered by role and seniority, providing persona-level targeting across the ICP.
  • Contact Audiences that sync all matches to a contacts audience for retargeting on Facebook and Google
  • Site Visitor Audiences that retarget web visitors when they match on Facebook and Google.

Data syncing includes “Audience inclusion attributes” or “smart attributes” that are calculated, such as a Boolean ICP or current customer flags that can be pushed downstream to Salesforce and other platforms.  The refreshed value is automatically pushed to downstream systems if the calculation is modified.  Smart attributes are updated every fifteen minutes.

Clearbit partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, Segment, Drift, Intercom, Chili Piper, Slack, Zapier, Qualified, and Clari.  Personalization partners that leverage Clearbit Reveal include Uberflip, Optimizely, and Mutiny.

Clearbit is coming off a “big, big growth year” but does not disclose any sizing or growth details.  LinkedIn lists it with 177 employees, up 90% over the past year.  Business Development and Sales grew at a 150% pace. While Clearbit originally targeted B2B Internet service companies, it is gaining traction in financial services, retail services, and investments, businesses that are “looking for data, to power their intelligence, their go-to-market motions,” said Tate.

Market Flash: ZoomInfo Releases MarketingOS and Unveils RevOS Packaging

ZoomInfo provides a set of data-enabled services for sales, marketing, recruitment, and revenue operations under the RevenueOS brand.

ZoomInfo announced the immediate availability of its new MarketingOS ABM Platform.  The service is part of a broader RevOS offering that supports marketing, sales, operations, and recruitment.  MarketingOS consolidates ZoomInfo’s legacy marketing capabilities, bringing together two recent acquisitions, Insent and RingLead, with new programmatic and audience management functionality.

ZoomInfo also refined its positioning statement from Revenue Acceleration to Revenue Operating System.  It stated that RevOS is “the World’s only revenue operating system of its kind.”

“Our comprehensive B2B database is the key differentiator that sets MarketingOS apart from other ABM solutions,” said ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck.  “ZoomInfo’s unique data science algorithms allow marketers to connect with the right prospects at precisely the right time.  No other solution on the market combines the power of data-driven insights and marketing-optimized workflows like ZoomInfo’s MarketingOS.”

“Marketers typically fail because the data in most ABM platforms is both inaccurate and incomplete.  Current ABM solutions are designed to leverage companies’ own first-party data, which exists in their customer relationship management or marketing automation systems.  Without quality data, marketers pour advertising dollars at the wrong prospects and companies, and, as a result, deliver fruitless leads to sales and waste time and resources.  With ZoomInfo’s best-in-class data and intelligence at its foundation, MarketingOS enables marketers to effectively reach target accounts and drive qualified leads for sales.”

ZoomInfo Press Release, “ZoomInfo Launches New Account-Based Marketing Platform, MarketingOS,” (Feb 8, 2022)

New functionality includes social and display advertising, abandoned from tracking, and audience targeting.  Marketing can build audiences and track campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  Marketing can also build campaigns and manage them programmatically through Clickagy DSP (ZoomInfo) or TradeDesk.

Marketing OS looks to address the “Funnel Famine” suffered by traditional marketing teams.  Several issues cause Funnel Famine: crowded B2B advertising channels, dirty data, leaky black-box marketing campaigns, siloed data, and sales’ longtime distrust of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).

MarketingOS addresses the issue of leads created by “The Funnel Famine.”

“Most marketing programs begin with data, whether it’s for tailoring your communications, whether it’s for sending an email, whether it’s for sending a direct mail.  It’s all about those accounts that you’re targeting and the professionals at those accounts,” explained ZoomInfo SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing Justin Withers to GZ Consulting.  “And the reality is that a lot of data, especially if it’s pulled from the CRM or other systems, is outdated.  It’s inaccurate.  It’s incomplete, and that can actually pollute or even inhibit the lead flow at the top of the funnel, and [it] ultimately leads to poor conversion.  It leads to leaks in the funnel, and all this hard work that marketers put in at every stage of the funnel ultimately spills out before it can even reach sales.”

The reality is that the sales and marketing funnels operate in parallel, not sequentially, as represented in traditional funnel diagrams.  MarketingOS lets marketers run account-based programs in parallel with sales running account-based sales programs “so that everyone’s aligned at every step of the funnel.”

Under current processes, sales and marketing operate in parallel to each other with little coordination and a single point of handoff for MQLs, a situation that “really doesn’t set marketing up for success…and it leaves sales in a bind,” continued Withers.  Thus, marketing complains that sales teams ignore its leads, and sales reps complain about the quality and quantity of marketing-sourced leads.  As a result, there is an “acute misalignment between sales and marketing.”

With MarketingOS, handoffs can occur at different points along the marketing funnel, based on the channel and prospect response.

Sales and Marketing are aligned around a set of target accounts both within and beyond the ICP.  Thus, an ICP account with spiking intent will be passed to sales, even if marketing has had limited conversations.  Furthermore, the rep will know that multiple individuals from the firm have visited the website or that individuals have clicked through on ads or email campaigns.

Likewise, chatbot conversations with target companies can immediately route a chat to the sales rep or schedule a call.

New functionality for managing abandoned forms can revive a prospect.  ZoomInfo claims a 60% increase in lead flow with its abandoned form tracking.

MarketingOS Audience Builder with Audience Segmentation

MarketingOS functionality includes

  • Expanded targeting that leverages the full set of ZoomInfo’s first and third-party intelligence for building and activating audiences.  ZoomInfo selects include firmographics, technographics, biographics (e.g., Title, 192 Job Functions, Job Levels), web forms, and uploaded lists (e.g., tradeshow lists).  Other selects include business events (e.g., funding data, executive changes, projects) and over 300 company attributes (advanced data-mined firmographics such as fleet size and company benefits).  Targeting also ingests account, contact, and lead attributes from Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo. 
  • First and third-party intent data time outreach while buyers are in-market, helping to improve marketing and sales efficacy.  Marketers can track up to 500 intent topics, with up to 50 available at a time.  In addition, chat-based targeting is coming soon.
  • An “in-market predictive score” that identifies each prospect’s buying stage, “informing how and when marketers should engage with prospects based on their ranking and helping them to prioritize their outbound efforts on prospects who are most likely to convert.”
  • Campaign Management and Analytics.  Marketers upload their creative, build an audience, set the budget, and select their channels.
  • Webforms, infused with automated enrichment, support shorter forms with reduced abandonment rates
  • Abandoned form tracking, with Workflows passing the lead to sales or additional nurture steps
  • ZoomInfo Chat (FKA Insent), a conversational marketing chatbot that leverages ZoomInfo data to score and route leads.  Chat immediately passes high-scoring, live leads to sales reps.  The chatbot also automates meeting scheduling.
  • Visitor Intelligence, with pages scored differently (e.g., Product Pages are scored higher than Career or Investor Pages)
  • Automated workflows triggered by intent, custom intent, WebSights visitor intelligence, Scoops (e.g., business events, projects), Funding, Technologies, and FormComplete.  Workflows can also be built to expand reach across the potential buying committee by persona.
  • RingLead data orchestration to dedupe, cleanse, enrich, and route leads
  • ZoomInfo Enrich, a set of DaaS enterprise platform integrations for data enrichment and hygiene.

MarketingOS is powered by ZoomInfo’s database spanning 100 million companies, 150 million executives, technographics, intent and engagement data, and event data.

“Marketing and sales funnels work in parallel, so everyone is aligned at every step of the funnel,” explained Justin Withers, SVP of Product Strategy and Product Marketing.  With MarketingOS, “sales and marketing are working in lockstep at every stage of the journey.”

MarketingOS is one of four products branded under the RevOS banner.

Tying together intent and engagement data and processing them through ZoomInfo Workflows is the future of ABM.  Intent data is employed at the top of the funnel when buyers are in the initial research phase.  Once prospects have begun interacting with a vendor, most buyer behavior research falls under the engagement category (e.g., web forms, email responses, chatbots, conversational intelligence, etc.).  Finally, intent data helps identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities at the tail end of the customer lifecycle. 

Engagement and intent data are also valuable churn risk indicators, helping customer success and account managers detect potential cancelations or defections well before decisions have been made.  In addition, intent data can show a spike in research related to product-associated topics and competitors.  Engagement monitoring widens to include customer success interactions, training participation, platform usage, and general account health indicators.

“We can support your new customer acquisition with these signals,” stated Withers.  “We can support your opportunity acceleration with these signals.  We can also support your renewal, upsell, cross-sell motions based on different types of signals that are happening at those accounts.  So, it really is a full customer lifecycle marketing solution.”

MarketingOS will be available as a pair of SKUs:

  • ABM Elite+: The full ABM Platform package, including RingLead Cleanse, Enrich, and Route
  • ABM Advanced+: Package includes everything except RingLead

“The purpose behind the two distinct offerings is to simplify our primary offering for those focused on ABM engagement and marketing programs, as opposed to the more operationally focused data orchestration capabilities,” explained ZoomInfo Analyst Relations Director Michael Basilio to GZ Consulting.

MarketingOS includes ten marketing seats and three administrative seats for RingLead routing and ZoomInfo Chat.

The broader RevOS branding consists of MarketingOS, SalesOS, OperationsOS, and RecruitingOS.  ZoomInfo calls RevOS the “world’s first integrated go-to-market platform.”  All four RevOS services are generally available.

ZoomInfo’s data cloud, orchestration tools (e.g., RingLead, B2B DaaS, Workflows), and engagement tools (advertising, sales engagement, web forms, chat, and conversational intelligence) are at the heart of RevOS.

“There’s nothing more important in business than successfully executing your go-to-market strategy,” states ZoomInfo in its product collateral.  “Get it right, and your business flourishes.  Get it wrong, and you’re toast.  That’s why having one integrated go-to-market platform is so crucial.  You can think of it as your revenue operating system.”

SalesOS bundles together a set of new and legacy sales tools:

  • Sales prospecting
  • Chorus, the conversational sales platform the firm acquired in July
  • Sales insights, including Chorus Momentum
  • Sales CRM integrations and continuous data maintenance
  • The ReachOut browser extension for real-time company and contact research and Send to CRM and SEP functionality
  • ZoomInfo Engage (Sales Engagement Platform)

Sales and Marketing Alignment has been a stated goal of the two functions for at least a decade, but they have operated with different datasets, metrics, objectives, and platforms.  Thus, alignment was more vision than reality.  By aligning ABM on a common platform and reference database, alignment is no longer impaired by an organization’s tech stack and data foundation.

“Crucially, MarketingOS lets marketing teams work from a common data foundation. Only 39% of sales and marketing teams share buyer signals, and half say it’s because their sales and marketing systems don’t integrate. The shared data foundation of SalesOS and MarketingOS tightens key handoffs and unlocks true marketing and sales alignment, eliminating conflicting records, wasted effort, and missed opportunities.”

ZoomInfo CEO Henry Schuck, “Introducing RevOS: The future of modern go-to-market software,” (Feb 8, 2022)

OperationsOS contains RingLead data orchestration (i.e., match, unify, dedupe, normalize, cleanse, enrich, score, and route data) and B2B DaaS services (e.g., APIs, webhooks, cloud data warehouse integrations).

Finally, RecruitingOS contains ZoomInfo Recruit, its recently launched prospecting and engagement service for HR departments and recruiters.  RecruitingOS also includes a set of Applicant Tracking Service connectors.

“Recruiters can filter and reach more good-fit candidates, use pipeline management tools to collaborate and organize the hiring process, and automate the candidate outreach process,” explains Zoominfo.  “This helps you source and connect with candidates faster, reducing the time to find and hire talent.”

Along with new product positioning, RevOS sports new logos, color palettes, styles, and a “unified in-app experience to create a singular, cohesive go-to-market solution that spans the entire suite of ZoomInfo products.”  There are also redesigned data dashboards and reports that “offer a faster, more responsive experience that allows your sales, marketing, and recruitment teams to visually demonstrate ROI and how their work aligns with broader organizational objectives.”

In short, RevOS unifies sales, marketing, revenue operations, and recruitment on the same set of data, providing “the same source of truth” and “one integrated platform for every stage of the marketing and sales funnel.” “If data is the lifeblood of the modern sales organization, then go-to-market teams must have the technology to act upon that data.  RevOS’ unified data tech stack gives sales, marketing, operations, and recruiting teams a single source of truth from which to launch their campaigns and go-to-market motions, simplifying internal workflows, reducing costs, and maximizing interoperability between teams,” blogged Schuck.  “RevOS is the next chapter in ZoomInfo’s journey as the world’s leading go-to-market platform.”

MarketingOS supports a Campaign Manager for building, sizing, and tracking campaigns.

Cognism $87.5M Series C

London-based Sales Intelligence vendor Cognism closed on an $87.5 million (£64m) Series C.  The round was led by Viking Global Investors and Blue Cloud Ventures, with follow-on investors AXA Venture Partners, Swisscom Ventures, and Volution.

Total funding is just shy of $130 million.

The funds will be deployed for European expansion and strengthening Cognism’s position in the United States.  Growth will be a “combination of organic growth and acquisitions.”

“The funding will help us empower many more businesses with international sales intelligence over the coming years, setting a new standard in data quality and compliance,” explained CEO James Isilay.  “It will accelerate our growth and global expansion plans as the leading provider of intelligent B2B sales data.”

“We will be organically expanding in the United States this year and have just hired new sales leadership (Mark Sparaco) to accelerate our growth,” Isilay told GZ Consulting.  “Europe remains our primary focus, but we see significant differentiation to other providers in our US and International data that we see significant growth opportunities.”

The firm will remain focused on improving its global data coverage and Sales Intelligence capabilities in 2022.  Roadmap features include marketing enhancements and localization in non-English speaking countries.

Cognism is coming off another strong year, with ARR growth hitting 100%.  They have over 1,000 customers, located in over forty countries.

Isilay is targeting another year of 100%+ growth and stated that Cognism is off to a good start in January with a “record revenue month.”

2021 data improvements include Diamond Data and the addition of Bombora’s intent data set as a premium offering.  Diamond data provides “the most accurate, GDPR & CCPA compliant phone-verified contacts for business development teams internationally, setting a new standard in data quality,” boasted the firm.

The Diamonds-on-Demand request feature supports on-demand phone verification from both the web application and the Cognism Chrome extension.  Users click on a Diamond Verify button to initiate the verification process, which is completed within 48 hours.  In addition, users can track the status on the platform.

“No other software company offers a truly global sales intelligence platform like Cognism. “By pairing our premium quality contact data with advanced contextual data points like technographics and buyer intent signals, we help modern revenue teams connect with confidence and exceed targets. We enable them to build a meaningful connection with their next best customer in the most predictable, efficient, and cost-effective way.”

Cognism CEO James Isilay

Cognism has grown to over 250 employees in seven countries: the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, South Africa, Croatia, Macedonia, and Germany.

Cognism did not state its market valuation.

Cognism also announced that it is SOC II Type 2 compliant.  The designation confirms that Cognism meets AICPA’s Trust Services Criteria for Security, Availability, Confidentiality, Processing Integrity, and Privacy with regards to data.

“We live and breathe security and compliance at Cognism as we handle large amounts of company data that help our customers reach new target audiences,” blogged Cognism CTO Stjepan Buljat. “Most companies, when they start their SOC 2 compliance journey, choose to select type 1 qualification, whereas we’ve selected the more complex type 2 route – often described as the difference between a balance sheet audit and a full audit of financial operations.  Type 2 looks at the information security controls we have in action and confirms that we’re organised to handle the data privacy concerns of the largest companies on the planet.”

Cognism Funding History (Source: Owler)

Echobot European Expansion

German Sales Intelligence vendor Echobot closed another successful year of product enhancements and revenue growth.  Echobot offers deep sales intelligence and data hygiene services for Germany, Austria, Switzerland (D-A-CH), and the UK.

In late 2020, Echobot launched its UK database and English language UI, providing a secondary market beyond the DACH region.  The firm grew MRR over 70% this year and hit 1,500 clients.  New business rose 80%, and the firm hired its 100th employee (up 44% this year).  Echobot continues to be EBITDA and Cash Flow positive.  Echobot is self-financed, not having taken any funding since 2013.

The firm also moved into a larger headquarters office in Karlsruhe with 16,000 square feet.

Along with fit-and-finish work on their UK services, the firm rolled out version 2.0 of their TARGET prospecting database.  TARGET offers a refreshed UI, improved data quality, and AI tools for ICP and segmentation analysis.

Users no longer need to build company and contact lists separately.  Instead, build-a-list results are displayed as tabs, allowing users to analyze both company and contact results without requiring them to rekey their query.

Echobot’s product vision is based on its “first principles of data” delivered through its service.  “For data to be useful, it has to be high quality, connected, and fully compliant,” said CEO Bastiaan Karweg.

Data improvements include an Email Validation Engine (EVA) and a “True Compliance” process for GDPR.  EVA “eliminates stale records” and implements mail server and pattern checking to improve data quality.  The EVA reduces bounce rates by up to thirty percent.

“For your outreach to be truly GDPR compliant, you not only need a Legitimate Interest but also be mindful of the preferences of the people you are trying to contact,” stated Karweg.  “Using Echobot, each contact record comes with a public source URL so you can be 100% confident when a prospect asks you, ‘Hey, where did you get my data from?’” Also new is a subject taxonomy that covers over 100,000 topics and industry keywords.

Echobot offers data for DACH, the UK, and the EU. A French dataset will be available in Q1.

Echobot is launching an EU Data pack that “covers the most important companies from all of Europe,” Karweg informed GZ Consulting.  “It’s not as deep data as with DACH, UK, or France, but it will give clients access to essential brands and contacts in each market.”

All four regions (DACH, UK, France, and EU) will be available in all three products (TARGET prospecting, CONNECT Sales Intelligence, and DATACARE hygiene) and the API in any combination.  However, the EU Data Pack omits company and contact data for the DACH countries, France, and the UK.

A French dataset, spanning six million companies, will be launched in Q1 with a French UI and localization.  French sales will be managed from the Karlsruhe office as it is only three miles from the French border.

Finally, Echobot expanded its sales triggers to 33 English-language event categories spanning the full UK universe.  French triggers are in development.

“We are excited to start 2022 with our new product and data assets,” said Karweg.  “Our goal is to continue on our strong growth trajectory and gain more market share in other EU countries.”

Lusha Series B

Crowdsourced contact vendor Lusha closed on a $205 million Series B that valued the company at $1.5 billion.  Growth equity firm PSG led both the Series A and B rounds.  ION Crossover Partners also joined the B round, which brought total Lusha investment to $245 million.

Following its February Series A, Lusha invested in its go-to-market strategy and trebled its growth rate.

“We were still bootstrapped one year ago when we understood that we have a big opportunity to surge forward.  We have since tripled our revenue growth rate, and that is why we required another funding round faster than we thought,” explained CEO Yoni Tserruya.  “The next stage will be to go public.  I’m not sure when that will be, but it will take at least two more years.  We are seeing many companies that are going public too early and are facing difficulties in making projections and meeting expectations.”

The additional funds will be deployed towards building out its community of 800,000 B2B sales professionals “into the industry’s largest,” expanding its global presence, and continuing to focus on data quality, compliance, features, and ease of use.

“We have been following Lusha’s progress over the last two years and found the team’s vision and execution highly impressive. As sales teams continue to leverage data to drive their go-to-market strategies, Lusha is becoming an integral product for teams to optimize their outreach to improve overall win rates. With Lusha’s data significantly increasing the value and ROI realized by sales teams, we are excited to be a part of this next chapter in Lusha’s remarkable journey.”

Gili Iohan, General Partner at ION Crossover Partners

“Our primary goal is to give every salesperson, regardless of size or budget, access to the highest quality data at the most affordable price while championing world-class standards of privacy and compliance,” said President Assaf Eisenstein.  “With this funding round, we will continue to invest highly in our data infrastructure and privacy standards to provide optimal levels of compliance and security for Lusha’s 800,000+ community members,” said Assaf Eisenstein, Co-founder and President of Lusha.

Contact data is gathered from a Community service that ingests email headers and signature blocks to maintain business card and email signature data.  Data is also collected from publicly available sources, third-party licensing, and algorithmic data appending (e.g., email templates).  Lusha claims that its community members help Lusha deliver “the most accurate data through constant validation and enrichment of its database.” 

As part of its GDPR and CCPA compliance program, individuals are notified when they’ve been added to the database.  Only business data is gathered, with no Personally Identifiable Information collected.

Lusha provides 100 million business profiles, 60 million email addresses, and 50 million direct dials across 15 million companies.

The Lusha browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge sends contacts from Gmail, social media, and B2B sites directly to Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, Zoho, SalesLoft, and Outreach.  Users license credits individually or for a team, with the admin allocating credits.  Lusha also supports Salesforce bulk enrichment and a contacts API.

Lusha employs a freemium model for limited contact information lookup, but users must pay to export data, build prospect lists, enrich files, and integrate with CRMs and SEPs. Annual pricing is shown.

Lusha helps sales professionals identify their ideal buyers and tailor their message to potential customers.

“Similar to the shift that marketing underwent a decade ago, sales professionals are abandoning spray and pray outreach, in favor of super-targeted selling based on data,” said Tserruya.  “Lusha enables all salespeople to utilize data to recognize their most relevant opportunities and maximize revenue in a simple, easy-to-use solution.  We look forward to using this funding to be at the forefront of this industry shift and grow Lusha into the largest B2B sales community”.

Lusha is rapidly growing, adding 29 staffers last month.  It grew 45% over the past six months and 103% over the past year to 229 employees.  Engineering grew 170% over the past year to 55 employees.  Their other top departments are Sales (34 headcount, up 106%), Support (22 headcount, up 175%), and IT (21 headcount, up 91%).

The Israeli firm expects to end the year with 240 employees, twenty in its Boston office.

Lusha, founded in 2016, lists 32 open positions: five sales and support openings in Boston and twenty-seven openings in Tel Aviv across engineering, data, R&D, product, marketing, sales, HR, compliance, finance, and customer success.

Lusha’s customers include Facebook, Google, Dropbox, and Uber.  Most of its customers are B2B SaaS companies, but it’s also used by VCs, investors, and recruiting agencies.

SalesIntel Launches Two Products

Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS vendor SalesIntel announced two products at its inaugural SAS2021 user conference last month.  CEO Manoj Ramnani founded SalesIntel a decade ago as Circleback, a contact enrichment and syncing service for inboxes, but pivoted the firm to focus on high-quality B2B data three years ago and rebranded the company SalesIntel. 

SalesIntel was born “with a mission to provide quality data, timely intelligence, and streamlined workflow to help businesses achieve their growth objectives.”  Its guiding principle, and unique value proposition, is keeping humans in the loop.  Human-verified data is re-verified every 90 days, providing them with a 95% contact accuracy claim.

At launch, the company had 50,000 human-verified companies and one million contacts.  Three years later, the company has

  • 87 million machine-verified contacts
  • 10 million human-verified contacts, 90% of which are North American.
  • 14 million machine-verified company profiles
  • 3 million human-verified company profiles

They have also partnered with Bombora for intent data and an undisclosed vendor for technographics.

The first new service, Data Enrichment, provides company, contact, and technographic data enrichment for Marketo, Salesforce, and uploaded CSV files.  Data matching is performed against email, phone, domain, company name, and contact name.  Fuzzy logic is employed for company and contact name matching.

SalesIntel Enrichment Report in Salesforce.

The service includes a PDF downloadable enrichment report that details data quality and fill rates.  If the admin is concerned about the enrichment, she may roll back the process.

SalesIntel also supports webform enrichment.

InboxIntel supports contact data syncing and enrichment from Gmail, Office 365, Exchange, and IMAP.  New contacts are ingested from signature blocks, matched against the SalesIntel database, and uploaded to Salesforce.   It is important to note that SalesIntel is not uploading and storing the data in their servers to build out its dataset but simply using it to populate and enrich its customers’ CRM.

InboxIntel also checks to see whether other new contacts at the company match a pre-defined buyer persona.  The service then asks whether these additional contacts should be added to the service.

InboxIntel identifies additional contacts in target personas.

If both the company and contact are new to the CRM, records may be added to Salesforce as leads or accounts and contacts.

Both products are available as beta services through the end of the year. After that, they will be packaged as separate offerings.  Ramnani described them as “new modules of our Modern Go-to-Market platform that will help with the firm’s continued growth.”

SalesIntel has grown to 400 employees and 2,000 global researchers.  The company supports over 1,000 companies and nearly 10,000 users.

SalesIntel posted 200% revenue growth over the past year.

The Great Reshuffle

According to LinkedIn, “The Great Reshuffle” has increased turnover amongst buyers and sellers, leading to greater deal risk.  Over the past three months, executive departures (Director and above) have increased by 31% globally.  Among sales reps, the rate is up 39%.  Thus, the likelihood of a deal being delayed due to a key member of the demand unit or sales team leaving has grown sharply.

Before the pandemic, the standard decay rate of contact records was between 25 and 30%.  If the rate has jumped by one-third, then the likelihood of a specific member of the buying committee departing over a three-month sales cycle is approaching ten percent.  Thus, a demand unit with six members will likely have one departure every three months, increasing the need for executive change alerts, multithreading of deals, and a deeper understanding of the demand unit.

If the deal is more complex, the odds of delays and stalled deals due to executive changes increase rapidly.  A six-month deal cycle with a dozen members of the demand unit (financial, technical, and functional decision-makers, purchasers, influencers, lawyers, compliance, etc.) could lose two or three members.  And that doesn’t even factor in the risk of churn on the vendor side.  What’s worse, single-threaded sales reps have close to a 20% risk that their champion leaves the company or assumes a different role over the deal lifecycle.

The renewal math becomes scary as well.  If the customer success team regularly interfaces with four individuals on the customer side, one or two of them may depart over the year, increasing churn risk.  Furthermore, a higher churn rate among customers necessitates greater administrative and training tasks.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that 80% of sales reps have had a deal delayed or lost due to departures.

LinkedIn Senior Director of Global Sales James Burnette argued that multithreading is key to managing deal risk.  “Multithreading – i.e., forming relationships with multiple people on the buying committee at an account – is always a best practice.”  Burnette noted that sellers with at least four connections at an account are “16% more likely to close a deal with that company, compared to sellers who have less than four connections.”

“The most beneficial thing you can do right now is to learn how to master multithreading,” JB Sales Training Director Morgan Ingram said. “Gathering champions, influencers, and talking directly to the decision-makers is the key to success when it comes to closing deals faster in a difficult environment.”

Conversely, departures can foster relationships at new accounts, so knowing that a key demand unit member has departed is important for both risk mitigation at current opportunities and accounts and building relationships at new organizations.  LinkedIn can both flag executive departures and maintain an open line of communications with a champion after he or she has settled into a new position.

“Resources are scant with so many people exiting key roles, so there are opportunities where they might not have been opportunities in the past,” Assist You CEO Robert Knop said. “Look through your connections – there are uncovered sales there.”

Lori Wizdo, Principal Analyst at Forrester, predicts that the Great Resignation will also impact marketing teams, with CMOs assembling more virtual teams consisting of freelance talent, fractional executives, and agency partners.

“We’re seeing clients in places like the Midwest having trouble keeping the talent they’ve built because their team members can get 25% more by working remotely for a New York agency. The distance and untethering from our geographies give people a lot more options, and they will minimize their pain and maximize their gain.  So, there will be some stress on those internal competencies.”

Job turnover is likely to continue in the near term. The labor market remains out of balance with 100 open jobs for every 75 unemployed professionals, driving the quit rate to 4.4 million in September, a record high.

“You’re essentially seeing demand continuing to increase without an offsetting increase in talent,” Ryan Sutton, a district director at staffing company Robert Half International. “Until some new talent comes in, until we get employees who are on the sidelines back into the market, it’s very likely this is going to continue.”

Openprise $16M Series A

RevOps Automation Platform Openprise closed on an oversubscribed Series A last month.  The $16 million round was led by SIG Asia Investment, an affiliate of the Susquehanna International Group, with new investments from Banyan Pacific and Citta Capital.  Existing investors Alumni Venture Group and AI List also participated.

Funding will accelerate development on the Openprise RevOps Automation Platform and scale up the sales and marketing teams.

Openprise supports data management, enrichment, and hygiene across sales, marketing, customer success, BI, and analytics platforms.  Features include data deduplication, data onboarding, lead-to-account matching, lead routing, attribution, and account scoring.

Openprise RevOps automation capabilities.

Openprise cited a recent Gartner forecast that 75% of high-growth companies will deploy a RevOps model by 2025.  “A move from sales enablement to revenue enablement is needed in today’s rapidly shifting buying and selling dynamic to support this RevOps imperative.”

“Openprise is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the momentum in companies moving to a RevOps model,” stated Anne Marie McCallion, its PR rep.

“When companies move to a RevOps model in order to better align marketing and sales, they soon identify huge gaps in their joint processes and data that aren’t addressed by traditional marketing and sales automation solutions like Marketo, Salesforce, and Salesloft,” said Openprise CEO Ed King.  “Openprise is fueling the RevOps revolution by providing a single, no-code platform that can automate hundreds of RevOps processes and deliver go-to-market-ready data for the entire RevTech stack.”

Openprise customers include UI Path, Vimeo, Zendesk, Okta, Nutanix, Freshworks, Splunk, and Zscaler.

Openprise will face stiffer competition from RingLead, which was acquired by ZoomInfo in September.