Matchbook AI Funding

Matchbook AI, which offers External Data and Data Hygiene solutions to enterprise clients, has announced a $3 million seed extension.  It previously received $1.7 million in seed and friends and family funding.

Matchbook was founded in 2018 but operated as a garage project for a couple of years before being incorporated.  CEO Rushabh Mehta had the idea for the Matchbook Data Hub while an industry evangelist and initially built the solution with Dun & Bradstreet data.  The Data Hub provides a configurable, hierarchical matching service that matches and enriches records with a single API call.  Both batch and real-time matching are supported, with cascading and waterfall matching processes.  In addition, a rules engine allows customers to construct bespoke data cleansing and filtering rules specific to various business units and use cases.  The Data Hub will be powered by Snowflake.

The system can use other identifiers such as domains or emails if the account cannot be matched by name and address.  In addition, the system manages deduplication and prevents creating duplicate records when onboarding accounts. The solution can also support more complex matching scenarios to allow for verification checks and multi-attribute matching.

“I can immediately see if I already have an existing relationship with that account,” Mehta explained to GZ Consulting.  “Just because I keyed in the name incorrectly or a previous account had a different address for that same company, I should still be able to identify and say, ‘Hey, no, it’s the same company to the same account.’”

The Data Hub also manages information for enterprise clients with multiple CRMs, helping “provide that visibility across CRMs, across ERPs, or CRM and ERP.”  Thus, Matchbook can identify whether “there is already an existing relationship within the organization with that particular entity” through third-party identification.  Furthermore, matching identifies parent-sub relationships tied together by D-U-N-S numbers.

According to Mehta, customers want controlled updates to their CRM or ERP, not real-time updates.  They also want to control which fields are updated with the data hub keeping “everything mastered in one place” with the intelligence accessible to the organization.

Matchbook AI’s data partners and supported platforms

Along with Dun & Bradstreet’s data sets (e.g., companies, contacts, hierarchies, beneficial ownership, D-U-N-S identifiers, technographics, competitors, company news, and credit and supplier risk profiles), Matchbook AI provides third-party reference data from ZoomInfo, Demandbase, Moody’s, Experian, Melissa, and Google.  The service also includes sanctions and terrorist watchlist data for compliance use cases.

The Data Hub operates as a centralized external data repository for maintaining data quality and standardizing data across platforms, including Salesforce, Snowflake, SAP, Informatica, Microsoft, Oracle, Certa, and Reltio.  The Data Hub supports a broad set of processes and departments, with sales, marketing, finance, IT, logistics, compliance, legal, and supplier management use cases. It also plays a critical role in MDM use cases through integrations with Reltio and others.

Matchbook claims implementations between two days and two months, significantly faster than its competitors.  Furthermore, as a DaaS solution, it is 90% less expensive than in-house solutions.  It also claims a 75% savings on expenses related to maintaining a data stewardship team due to “improved data quality and automated management.”

VP of Sales & Marketing Wesley Billingslea described a recent dinner with a Fortune 500 CIO who described Matchbook AI as “quite strategic and pervasive because we go across departments,” whereas “most MDM projects sit in the IT organization.”  This approach “empowers” teams across the organization with superior data and a plug-and-play solution.

Matchbook focuses on enterprise clients, with 59% of its customers in the Fortune 500.  It takes a land-and-expand approach that proves itself in one department or on one platform and then extends to others.  Contracts are usually written for a single year and then converted to multi-year contracts a year later.  The strategy has resulted in a 118% net retention rate and a projected ARR increase of 220% this year.

“As we gear up our sales and marketing efforts, we are confident that we will soon achieve $3.5 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) with Current ARR of $1.85 million,” said Mehta.  “Data should be trusted, enriched, and always ready.  I feel very confident in our approach as we take these next steps and help companies understand their data DNA in this age of intelligent business.”

Matchbook claims an impressive LTV/CAC ratio greater than 12, an important indicator of stickiness, value, and an efficient go-to-market approach.

Mehta noted that it is just entering a large market with a rapidly expanding TAM.  According to MarketsandMarkets, data cleansing and global master data management were an $11.3 billion market in 2020, growing to $27.9 billion by 2025 (19.8% CAGR).

“Our value proposition to an MDM implementation can mean the difference between success and failure,” said Mehta.

Pricing is based on a records-under-management model, providing a predictable budget line to companies.  Implementations range from 50,000 to 100 million records. Matchbook has grown to 51 employees in the Americas and Asia.  The bulk of its R&D is conducted in Asia.

Crunchbase Series D

Crunchbase reporting on its funding rounds in Crunchbase Pro.

Funding intelligence vendor Crunchbase closed on a $50 million Series D led by Alignment Growth, with OMERS Ventures, Mayfield, and Emergence Capital also participating.  The oversubscribed round raised total funding to $106.5 million.

“Investors we spoke with echoed the trends we’re seeing in Crunchbase data: We are in the middle of one of the most challenging times for startups to raise,” blogged Crunchbase CEO Jager McConnell.  “So, the fact that we had more firms trying to invest in us than we were even looking for is a huge vote of confidence in our company, brand, and the products we’ve built.”

Jager noted that the firm has moved beyond funding data for PE and VC firms to a broader information platform that supports sales, recruiting, finance, and business development professionals.  I would add Competitive and Market Intelligence professionals to their user list as I regularly use Crunchbase and Owler for deal intelligence.

Crunchbase began as a funding database at TechCrunch but was spun out as an independent organization in 2015 and has evolved into a sales intelligence service.  The Crunchbase Pro offering supports company discovery, qualification, tracking, Salesforce syncing, and engagement (via contact data and email templates) at a low price ($49 per month billed annually).

Crunchbase Pro Build-a-List

“As difficult economic conditions impact more companies, knowing whether a target account is on the upswing or not gives prospectors the power to focus outreach on decision-makers with buying power,” McConnell said.  “Our tools encourage account-based selling, which encourages deal-makers to prioritize their prospecting efforts based on the companies they should be contacting rather than the individuals.  This is the opposite approach to ‘spray and pray,’ which relies on massive contact lists and leads to the kind of spammy outreach that no one likes.”

Recent enhancements include territory filters, diversity flags, machine-learning company recommendations, a Chrome extension, and email alerts for priority accounts, lists, and saved searches.  They also added a contacts database and email templates.

Crunchbase has retained its focus on emerging (funded) companies.  This focus is both an advantage and disadvantage.  Emerging companies are often the fastest growing businesses with expanding needs and fewer incumbent vendors that need to be displaced.  They are also more open to cutting-edge technology, encourage quick decision-making, and are less risk averse.  Conversely, they represent a relatively small percentage of the overall economy, deals are smaller (but with significant upside at renewal), and they are more subject to economic volatility.

Another advantage of focusing on emerging companies is that the leading sales intelligence databases have weak coverage of these firms.  When companies collect or ingest data on global companies of all sizes, they lack the editorial bandwidth to deliver detailed information on emerging companies.  Specialist databases such as Crunchbase offer funding details, acquisition histories, editorially-written business descriptions, and more accurate sizing data.

“The Crunchbase SaaS platform combines rich and proprietary company data with direct access to decision-makers within a single intuitive interface—at compelling price points—making it a powerful tool for driving ROI across a variety of use cases, from sales to recruiting and more,” stated new Crunchbase Board member Alex Iosilevich from Alignment Growth.  “We expect that Crunchbase will continue to gain accelerated industry adoption and are excited to support the company’s growth momentum alongside strong participation from the existing investor group.”

Crunchbase continues to grow its product and data.  It supports 75 million unique annual users and over 60,000 customers.  Furthermore, SaaS products drove a 5x year-over-year increase in new recurring revenue in Q1 2022.

“We took a step back from rapid growth in favor of a more measured, balanced approach,” stated McConnell, who noted that the firm has focused on capital-efficient growth.  The firm dialed back its Burn Multiple from 3 ($3 spent to acquire $1 in new ARR) in 2019 to 0.22 in H1.

“The recent onslaught of down rounds and mass layoffs from companies who very recently hit unicorn status shows how outsized burn rates can be hidden behind oversized funding rounds, covering up the reality of weak business fundamentals,” McConnell said.  “I’m especially proud of the fact that we have been able to generate growth while keeping our burn rate in check.  In the first half of this year, we drove $9 million net new ARR at only $2 million burn — that’s best in class according to Bessemer’s efficiency benchmarks and puts us on the path to profitability…We plan to double our business-to-business software ARR this year, ending around $38 million in ARR just for this customer segment.”

Iosilevech argued that Crunchbase is well-positioned for ongoing growth and does not expect follow-on rounds.  “They’re managing the business in a capital-efficient way so that the capital that they raise will really be the last round they need before a major milestone in the company’s history, whether it’s an IPO or something else.”

Funds will be deployed towards additional headcount and expanding platform functionality, beginning with a HubSpot connector.  The firm is also looking to expand its machine-learning recommendations for sales, expand its data insights, and add usage tracking dashboards “to help customers track efficacy of activities on Crunchbase, along with the number of opportunities and ARR available to them.”

Crunchbase has grown to 220 employees with a remote-first operational model.  It added seventy staff during the first half of the year and is aiming to add another fifty-five employees before year’s end.  It was cash flow positive in Q1.

Crunchbase did not disclose its new valuation figures.

Saleo Early-Stage Funding Round for Live Demos

Recently founded demo experience software company Saleo received $1.5 million in early-stage investment for its live demo platform.  Funding came from Tech Square Ventures, Jon Hallett, Kyle Porter, Rob Forman, Tim Kopp, John Hanger, Bryan Wade, and Eric Spett.  The firm is based in Atlanta, as are most of the investors.

Justin McDonald and Daniel Hellerman, experienced RevTech execs who previously worked at Terminus (three of the investors are Terminus executives), founded Saleo.  In addition, McDonald launched Ramble Chat which he subsequently sold to Terminus.

“We believe that every software company should have the means to deliver the perfect software demo that ‘wows’ their buyers every time.  No more missing data, hours of prep time, or sub-par generic demos,” posted McDonald on LinkedIn.

Saleo enables real-time customization of demo environments and supports collaboration among revenue teams during the demo creation process.  As a result, Saleo helps revenue teams “shorten their sales cycle, increase win rates, and close more deals by removing the burden of missing data, outdated demo environments, and time-consuming demo prep.”

Saleo supports a demo library that can be personalized by industry, company, use case, and job function.  Successful demos can be shared as a template or cloned and customized.  In addition, Saleo provides revenue teams with complete control over the demo environment, including graphs, metrics, tables, text, and images, “enabling you to create the perfect software demo that connects directly to your customer’s pain points and lands exactly the way you want.”

“We’re the only technology that allows software companies to manipulate and customize their live demo environment. Other players breaking in are taking screenshots of existing applications and making changes to them.”

Saleo CEO Justin McDonald

Saleo has a no-code integration that runs with any browser-based SaaS app via a Chrome extension that connects to their SaaS platform.  Time-based metrics are always current.  Furthermore, Saleo doesn’t operate as a screen capture service but demos the firm’s live SaaS product without requiring any embedded code.

“Saleo represents one of those very rare early-stage companies that is launched with such a compelling combination of team, vision, product, and market potential.  Saleo’s customers have been blown away by the impact on sales conversion.” said Jon Hallett of Hallett Capital.  “I was stunned when I saw how easy it was to use and the potential sales impact it represents for future customers.  Of all the new companies I have seen this year, this one has me the most excited.”

“SaaS companies have always struggled to deliver great software demos – either in the time investment to prepare a sales demonstration, or the myriad of challenges around missing data or how to customize a demo for different buyers,” said Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter.  “Saleo has created an ingenious solution to help sales engineers and account executives demo their software apps like never before, and most importantly, increase their win rates.  I am excited to be a part of it.”

Saleo currently has four remote employees and is looking at office space. It plans to expand to twelve headcount by the end of the year, with hires in engineering, sales and customer services. It expects to close a seed funding round in the next six months and sign forty customers before the end of the year.

Terminus was signed as Saleo’s first customer.

RevenueBase $6M Seed Round

B2B data vendor RevenueBase closed a $6 million seed round led by Bessemer Venture Partners.  Additional investors include 2 Lanterns, Argon Ventures, Converge, Feldsmith Capital, Good Friends, Graph Ventures, Gutbrain Ventures, KOA Labs, PBJ Capital, and Service Provider Capital.  The round was oversubscribed as RevenueBase enjoyed significant investor interest.

As part of the round, RevenueBase named three Directors to its Board:

  • Kent Bennett, Partner at Bessemer Venture Partners
  • Bob Davoli, Founder and Managing Director of GutBrain
  • Jude McColgan, former CEO of Localytics

RevenueBase launched last spring looking to solve issues in the B2B data market, including difficulty in identifying and engaging with Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) prospects and marketing’s reliance upon spammy demand generation instead of well-targeted messages.  RevenueBase trebled its revenue over the past year and expects to do the same this year.  It has already onboarded twenty customers, with a focus on selling data as a strategic asset to the CMO or CRO.

RevenueBase was founded by industry veterans Mark Feldman, the VP of Marketing at NetProspex before its acquisition by Dun & Bradstreet, and Milenko Beslic, who built Cheapflights, the travel industry’s first metasearch engine.  As a marketing head at Backupify, Motion Recruitment, and Localytics, Feldman became frustrated with B2B data issues, including misalignment with the sales and marketing team’s go-to-market strategy, data decay, difficulty acquiring data, and managing disparate vendors and formats.  His stint as a B2B data customer led him to return to the B2B data space and create a product that broadly aggregates company, contact, and custom customer-specific insight data that aligns 1:1 with each customers’ go-to-market strategies.

Custom insights can be any variable that enables targeting of the right businesses.  For example,

  • Does the company offer a mobile app?
  • Are they a managed service provider?
  • Do they have a call center?
  • Do they sell perishable food products?

RevenueBase then builds a custom database for clients that it calls a Revenue Database, which is updated on an ongoing basis.

“We saw a whitespace for a company like RevenueBase, especially given that we’ve seen little real innovation or change in this market over the past decade leading businesspeople to be bombarded with impersonal and poorly targeted messages multiple times a day.  This situation has been made worse by ‘The Great Resignation,’ during which so many people have left their positions, and the data hasn’t kept up with those changes. Milenko and I knew that we could build a better solution to make it easier for companies to access more buyers in order to increase revenue.  We’re excited to have the support of great investors who are on board with our vision.”

CEO Mark Feldman

RevenueBase will deploy its funds towards building a customer UX and a set of enterprise software integrations for CRMs and MAPs.  It is also looking to grow its headcount from twelve to twenty before the end of the year.

“We think the opportunity to be the B2B data refinement layer powering growth-oriented companies is massive,” said Bennett.  “We are impressed with RevenueBase’s early traction and Mark’s and Milenko’s appetite to transform the B2B data industry.” 

Feldman argues that RevenueBase is distinguished across three dimensions: “completeness of data, data accuracy at scale, and ease.”  RevenueBase offers a high-touch, white-glove offering customized to each of its clients.  It begins with customer alignment, holding a set of discovery workshops that identify each customer’s “revenue archetype.”  RevenueBase then queries its 700 million global contacts database to build tailored databases for its clients.

RevenueBase maintains a database of 700 million global contacts.

Revenue Archetypes consist of an ICP, market segmentation, pains addressed, buyer personas, sales showstoppers, and custom insights that enable buyers to be engaged more personally. 

“A revenue archetype is a model of what your ideal customer looks like, i.e., one you can derive revenue from,” Feldman explained to GZ Consulting.  “It’s where there is a mutual benefit.  They need your product/service and will pay a fair price for it.  They also will favor you over the competition because your solution will result in the best cost-benefit tradeoff for the customer.“

Conversely, the Revenue Archetype also defines companies that are not good fits such as industries or geographies that require a standard not met by a firm’s offerings (e.g., HIPAA or GDPR requirements).  It also identifies roles not involved in purchasing a company’s products or services.  These individuals may be too junior in the organization or may not work in functions that use a company’s products or services.

RevenueBase argues that its knowledge graph technology improves the set of discoverable relationships, including the “longtail of customer-specific insights,” stated Feldman.  For example, RevenueBase can identify partners, investors, technologies in use, revenue streams, business models, key resources, and modern industries (such as Fintech and SaaS) that do not fall into standard industry classifications.

Conventional firmographics vendors must have a product manager pre-define the company attributes to be collected and then build these definitions into its data collection methodology and structure.  Because RevenueBase employs a graph database, it is not subject to these structural limitations and can identify uncommon or industry-specific elements that define the ICP.  The data structure also supports multi-point verification and data attribution.  In addition, data fields with high probabilities of changing, such as email addresses, job titles, and current employers, are re-verified at least four times per year.

RevenueBase promises to “replace all of your data vendors with one solution” that “reaches every company and decision-maker across the globe that will benefit from your unique offering.”  By delivering high-quality, targeted data directly to sales and marketing systems, revenue teams avoid time-consuming sales rep data research and managing databases. Data quality steps include custom research, quarterly email re-verification, and annual phone checks.  Data is delivered via a quarterly secure CSV file transfer with a 90% accuracy SLA.

Highspot $248M Series F

Sales Enablement Platform vendor Highspot closed on a $248 million Series F that valued the firm at $3.5 billion, up from its February valuation of $2.3 billion.  The firm, founded in 2012, has raised $648 million to date.  The round was led by B Capital Group and D1 Capital Partners, with Iconiq Growth, Madrona Venture Group, Salesforce Ventures, Sapphire, and Tiger Global Management also participating.

“Technologies that unlock human potential are foundational to our economic future,” said Rashmi Gopinath, General Partner, B Capital.  “Highspot’s undeniable performance, coupled with the enthusiasm of their customer base, is a testament to how transformative their technology is for companies across industries and geographies.  We believe Highspot’s platform is an imperative for businesses aiming to drive sustainable growth.”

Highspot will deploy the funds to hire additional staff and open offices in the EMEA and APAC regions.  The firm, which doubled in size over the past two years to 800 employees, plans to add 500 staff over the next twelve months.  Highspot is based in Seattle, with offices in London, Munich, and Paris.

The pandemic accelerated demand for digital platforms such as Highspot as “road warriors have become home warriors,” said Wahbe.  In addition, the shift from traditional selling to digital required new tools and skills.  “Salespeople have to be better than ever in holding the attention of the customer.”

“Even before the onset of the pandemic, buyers were trending toward self-reliance with a plethora of resources at their fingertips, researching vendors on their own time and relying on salespeople as mere transaction facilitators,” Wahbe told VentureBeat via email. The sudden shift to a remote business landscape caused by COVID-19 accelerated this trend, and now modern buyers prefer — and expect — fully virtual sales … A handful of sales tech companies anticipated the trend toward digital selling and strategically designed their products to help turn salespeople from transaction helpers into heroes. Highspot is one such company.”

Highspot CEO Robert Wahbe, “Highspot raises $248M to bolster sales enablement using AI,” VentureBeat (January 13, 2022)

The firm, which has over 170 open positions, is broadly hiring across engineering, product, design, marketing, and sales.

“We see an incredible opportunity in front of us,” said CEO Robert Wahbe. “We need to continue to invest very significantly and invest in our go-to-market team, invest in our product, and [invest in] the capabilities of our product.”

Last month, Highspot announced a quartet of executive hires:

  • Arvind Prakash, Product Management VP: Prakash is a global product and technology leader with over twenty years of experience at Compass, Expedia Group, and Microsoft.
  • John Zhang, Engineering VP: Zhang held Engineering roles at Microsoft, Twitter and Weibo.
  • Julie Valenti, Account Management VP: Valenti has over twenty years of experience running customer-facing teams at DocuSign, Oracle, Responsys, and Yesmail.
  • Kelly Lewis, Revenue Enablement VP: Lewis joins with over 15 years of experience in revenue leadership and technology sales.  Lewis is a former Highspot customer joining from Amwell.

Highspot supports content recommendations, content engagement analytics, sales training, and sales coaching

The recently launched Highspot Marketplace is a partner exchange for marketing, sales, enablement, and customer success partners.  Companies can import packages of content, tools, and training from two dozen partners, including Sandler, Challenger, and Winning by Design.

Highspot Sales Training Dashboard

Highspot has grown revenue 935% over the last three years and posted an Annual Recurring Revenue net retention rate of 130% over the past year. 

Last year, platform usage increased 150%, with Highspot providing training to eight million salespeople, channel partners, service reps, and customers in digital sales experiences.  Highspot counts DocuSign, General Motors, Nestle, Siemens, and Verizon Media among its 700+ customers.

Wahbe envisions the firm going public but did not set an IPO timeframe. “Our focus continues to be on building a significant company in the enablement space,” said Wahbe. “We’re focused on growing the company, which of course then enables us to go public.”

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)

Intentsify Equity Round

Intent data vendor Intentsify announced that it received a strategic investment from BV Investment Partners, a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on the tech sector.  The new funds will help the firm accelerate growth and product development.

Intentsify, founded in 2018, continued its pace of strong growth in 2021.  The firm quadrupled revenue in 2019 and 2020 and expected to treble income in 2021 (as of mid-December). In addition, it has grown its customer base to over 150 customers.

Venn-diagram-intent-data-sources
Intentsify layers multiple, complementary intent feeds into its proprietary intent dataset.

“B2B organizations are increasingly leveraging multiple sources of intent data to focus time, efforts, and resources where and how they’ll have the most impact,” said Intentsify CEO Marc Laplante.  “The problem is most B2B companies struggle to quickly gather, analyze, and act on buyer intent signals, which change on a weekly basis. Intentsify is streamlining all of this so our customers can more effectively scale account-based demand and revenue. We are excited to partner with BV who understands our business and has the expertise to help us take Intentsify to the next level.”

Intentsify’s Intent Activation software ingests multiple categories of intent data from several proprietary data sources “to deliver a broader, more accurate view into which targeted accounts are in-market to purchase and the issues they care about.”

Intent data is gathered from over 50 billion intent signals per month from over 5,000 B2B media sites. Intentsify also includes Visitor tracking as part of its offering.

Intentsify offers a pair of Intent Activation Solutions for Demand Generation and Programmatic Marketing. Intent-Activated Demand Generation helps marketers engage target personas at accounts displaying relevant research activity while Intent-Activated Programmatic targets key personas “at the right locations among in-market target accounts.”

“Intentsify uses its proprietary technology backed by a global data science team to power numerous marketing, sales, and customer success use cases,” stated Justin Harrison, Managing Partner of BV Investment Partners.  “Intentsify’s co-founders have long experience in this field and are acknowledged thought leaders in the intent data space who have built a strong company with an impressive leadership team, and we look forward to working with them to scale their business.”

Intentsify did not disclose the size of the investment.

Vista Equity Takes Majority Stake in Salesloft

Salesloft has been building out its deal intelligence alongside conversations and cadences.

Vista Equity announced that it took a majority stake in Sales Engagement vendor Salesloft.  CEO Kyle Porter indicated that the round values Salesloft above $2.3 billion.  Salesloft is on a roll, hitting $100 million in annual recurring revenue this summer and growing annual revenue 50% this year.

Salesloft rebranded this fall with new positioning around the “Modern Revenue Workspace.”  Its Winter 2021 release included sentiment analysis for inbound emails and an AI Chrome extension tool for optimizing emails.  Salesloft also recently opened a German data center, helping it comply with GDPR and European data hosting requirements.

According to Vista Equity, Salesloft is the most capital-efficient business in its space, meaning that they are enjoying smart growth.

“This means customers can trust that we will continue to deliver the best products and service in our industry,” stated VP of Product Management Frank Dale.

At the beginning of the year, Salesloft closed on a $100 million round that valued the firm at $1.1 billion.  The January investors, led by Owl Rock Capital, have retained their stakes in the firm.

Porter told the Wall Street Journal that he foresees an IPO but did not provide details on timing.

“From day one, Salesloft’s vision has been to help sellers more successfully engage with and serve their buyers.  This investment is a huge milestone in Salesloft’s journey to becoming the most loved brand in sales technology.  It gives us the resources we need to continue serving our amazing customers, while innovating solutions to solve the complex challenges faced by sellers.”

Salesloft CEO Kyle Porter

The additional funds will be deployed towards product development and market expansion, focusing on the Asia Pacific region, and “tripling down” in EMEA.  Salesloft is enjoying triple-digit growth in EMEA after opening its London EMEA HQ in April 2019.

“This deal is about GROWTH for our CUSTOMERS,” posted Porter on LinkedIn.  “We’re growing >50% annually as the most efficient player in our category, which is critical to long-term sustainability and success.  We will be fueling significant innovation and customer services as a result of this deal.”

“This partnership with Vista is about the future we’re building for our customers,” commented CRO Steve Goldberg.  “It’s about making the lives and jobs of sellers easier.  It’s about quickly delivering the solutions and experience they need to win.”

“Vista is proud to be a preferred partner for founders of fast-growing, high-performing, high-potential companies, and we are excited to work with Kyle and the Salesloft team,” said Monti Saroya, co-head of the Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista.  “Salesloft has built an incredible enterprise software platform that provides tangible ROI by empowering sales teams and managers to increase productivity, and we are excited to bring our decades of enterprise software experience to help Salesloft further fuel its growth trajectory and global expansion.”

Vista wrote a long blog welcoming Salesloft, but the piece did not focus on Salesloft’s current positioning or value proposition.  Instead, Vista discussed its long history working with Porter (it was a Series A investor), Porter’s focus on recruiting talent and helping build the Atlanta tech ecosystem, and his willingness to mothball the Prospector product so the company could focus on building out its Cadence service.

I would add a few other notes about Kyle, whom I’ve known for just as long.  He is a natural-born storyteller who exudes enthusiasm, just as every sales rep should.  He also emphasizes authenticity in sales, the need to balance automation with personalization (a variation on authenticity), and the importance of building a strong company culture.

David Cummings, who has served on Salesloft’s Board since its early days, lauded Kyle Porter and his willingness to pivot the company for growth and recruit top talent.

“Salesloft is mostly the story of the will, determination, and grit of the entrepreneur Kyle Porter.  From a full reboot of the business in the early days, to multiple pivots, and recently navigating the pandemic, Kyle has endured the high highs and low lows of entrepreneurship many times over.  And one of his superpowers is recruiting an amazing team starting with Rob Foreman.  Rob was introduced to Kyle through a chance encounter at a local event.  From there, the two hit it off and developed one of the strongest yin/yang partnerships I’ve ever seen.  The team grew to include incredible leaders across all the functions including Ellie, Sydney, Scott, Chad, Steve, and many others.”

“Kyle was the visionary all along,” continued Cummings.  “Through a strong focus on organization health, never-ending love for the customer (#saleslove), bold acquisitions of several companies, and masterful fundraising, Kyle operated in one of the most aggressive, yet thoughtful, ways imaginable.”

The RevTech space has some excellent CEOs who match product vision and intelligent growth with passion and a stakeholder perspective.  Besides Porter, the industry is lucky to have Henry Schuck (ZoomInfo CEO), Manny Medina (Outreach CEO), Jon Miller (Founder of Engagio and Marketo and currently the Chief Marketing and Product Officer at Demandbase), Sangram Vajre (co-founder of Terminus, author, and leader of the Flip My Funnel movement), and others.

Salesloft supports 4,000 customers, including IBM, Google, Cisco, Shopify, and LinkedIn.

As part of the transaction, Vista will be joining Salesloft’s Board, and Cummings will be exiting it.

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.

IT Central Station $30M Series A

Tech review site IT Central Station closed on a $30 million Series A led by Invictus Growth Partners.  The site grew ARR 124%, surpassed 500,000 registered members, and was visited by 3.5 million enterprise software buyers over the past year.  The firm was bootstrapped in 2012 and has been self-funded until now.  It is both profitable and cash-flow positive.

The funds will be employed to rebrand the site as PeerSpot, expand its coverage of new enterprise tech categories, and accelerate sales and marketing.  Hiring will be concentrated in the R&D, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success departments.

IT Central Station has focused on core IT sectors such as Cybersecurity, DevOps, and IT management; however, it does not have the profile breadth of some of the major review sites.

“Now we are expanding to categories where IT is not the primary buyer but is still on the buying committee,” explained CEO Russell Rothstein to GZ Consulting.  “Following that we will expand our coverage for all enterprise technology categories, including mid-market.”

The new brand and site will be launched in January 2022.

“IT Central Station has succeeded in building a platform that tech buyers trust and enables vendor marketers to achieve strong ROI,” said Rothstein.  “We are in the top of the first inning in our plan to build the world’s largest B2B marketplace for enterprise technology, built upon a foundation of verified user-generated content and peer reviews.  The Invictus team adds deep operating expertise, including a uniquely valuable approach to data science, and I am thrilled to have Invictus as our partner for the next stage of our growth.”

Rothstein explained that as a bootstrapped company, the firm didn’t have the marketing resources of other sites, so he focused on the depth and value of reviews, high-quality intent data, and building its customer success team.  Along with rapid revenue growth, the firm posted a net retention rate of 142% last year.

“People trust their peers more than any industry analysts or so-called experts,” said Rothstein. As a result, younger tech buyers expect to “go online to tap into the knowledge of their peers as part of the buying process.  It’s just natural for them.”

Rothstein argues that IT Central Station’s reviews are “the most in-depth,” with an average length of 620 words.  In addition, it offers a “Zero Fake Reviews” commitment, with a triple authentication process (LinkedIn profiles, community policing, and human oversight) for validating reviews.  First, reviews are checked to ensure the individual does not work for the reviewed company or one of its competitors.  The job function is also verified to ensure that a qualified individual wrote it.

“Every review has to have pros and cons. We don’t accept any five-star ‘everything’s perfect’ reviews without any room for improvement,” explained Rothstein.  “Reviews have to have both room for improvement as well as value that you get from the product.”

Conversely, IT Central Station also filters out reviews that are purely negative rants.

“If someone’s having such an extreme opinion, then they’re not really presenting a realistic picture,” continued Rothstein.  “It’s just losing credibility.  People aren’t going to believe the review and it just reflects poorly on the review site itself.  So we really aim to get that balance in every review.”

Rothstein explained that IT Central Station has a strong community that both polices the site for biased reviews and supports active Q&A discussions.

Profiles include an overview, filterable reviews, pros and cons, pricing, alternatives, “Many of our customers generate millions of dollars in pipeline and closed business from IT Central Station leads and intent data,” blogged Rothstein.  “They’ve given us high marks with an average 70 Net Promoter Score (NPS) over the past four quarters. That’s world-class NPS, putting us at the level of Apple and Starbucks.”

IT Central Station profile of MS Azure.

IT Central Station argues that review sites mostly attract “high intent buyers” in the decision phase of the buyer’s journey.  Furthermore, Demand Gen’s 2021 Buyers Survey found that most purchasers reached out to peers and existing users before contacting any vendors.

“People don’t read complex product reviews just for kicks – they are looking for help in choosing what product to buy,” added IT Central Station Content Manager Rony Sklar.  “B2B buyers who are about to spend a lot of money on an enterprise solution want to know what their peers’ experiences have been with the solutions they’re considering before making a purchase.  Because review sites have this highly targeted, homogenous audience whose main logical use case for a review site is researching a purchase, all the site visitors exhibit a degree of intent. Unlike other types of data, this intent data is low funnel and has a high degree of accuracy because there is no guesswork involved. The intent data generated by a review platform shows you exactly which companies are researching you and your competitors.”

Along with CSV files and webhooks, IT Central Station delivers integrated intent data to Salesforce, Demandbase, and LinkedIn.  In addition, the firm will be announcing support for 6sense, Marketo, HubSpot, Outreach, and Metadata in the coming months. 

“We can provide [intent data] at the contact level, but also aggregate it at the account level, as we can associate multiple people at the same company,” stated Rothstein.  “We provide a proprietary Buyer Intent Score for each account that incorporates activity done both at the contact and overall account level for each account.  For contact level, we provide email, phone, title, function, job level, and BANT information.  We also provide product interests per contact, so you can see which products the contact is researching and comparing, with the level of depth of their research.”

Intent data is updated daily. “Making the right enterprise software purchasing decisions has never been more mission critical for the success of growing businesses and the careers of enterprise software buyers,” said Invictus Managing Partner William Nettles.  “IT Central Station’s reviews have proven to be a must have for enterprises to validate the performance of their products, while providing buyers the most trusted and reliable data for their buying decisions. We are thrilled to partner with Russell and his team to help them scale the business to the benefit of enterprise software buyers globally.”