Technology Intelligence vendor HG Insights closed on an equity round with Riverwood Capital. Neither the size nor the valuation was disclosed.
HG Insights employs natural language processing and machine learning to develop account intelligence concerning technology installations, IT budgets, and contract information for eleven million global companies across 14,000 products.
“Our customers have come to rely on HG Insights as an indispensable input into their most strategic decisions such as market sizing, whitespace analysis, and territory planning as well as for fundamental activities including opportunity prioritization and account-based marketing intelligence. Our rapid growth over the last two years is fueled by the depth and breadth of benefits we provide to B2B technology companies, globally. Riverwood’s investment is a vote of confidence in our future. It gives us flexibility and access to resources to help accelerate our growth and capitalize on the exciting opportunity before us.”
HG Insights CEO Elizabeth Cholawsky
Riverwood is a Technology-focused growth-equity firm with $3.5 billion in assets under management. Riverwood says that it offers “a unique combination of operational, strategic, technological, and financial insight to portfolio companies that need both growth capital and expertise in order to scale.”
Riverwood Capital Managing Partner Jeff Parks said, “HG Insights represents a golden opportunity for Riverwood to continue to use our capital and expertise to accelerate the growth of innovative technology companies addressing demonstrated but unmet market needs. Elizabeth and her team have built an organization poised to disrupt the traditional go-to-market process for companies of virtually any size, and we’re very excited about the potential of this partnership.”
HG Insights just closed on a successful year, reaching its highest annual recurring revenue and profitability. Employment rose 30% last year, and revenue grew over 35%. While HG Insights continues to license its firmographics to other vendors, its growth has been focused on direct sales of technographics and analytics to customers.
“Customers continue to reaffirm that HG Insights’ data’s breadth, depth, and coverage accuracy has become an indispensable asset for critical decision making at every level of a technology company,” commented Riverwood Principal Ramesh Venugopal. “HG Insights provides unique, data-driven knowledge giving decision-makers confidence that they are making the right choices.” Jeff Parks and Ramesh Venugopal have joined HG Insight’s Board of Directors
Sales Engagement Platform vendor SalesLoft became the latest SalesTech unicorn, following a $100 million equity investment led by Owl Rock Capital. Insight Partners, HarbourVest, and Emergence also joined the round. The Series E funding raised SalesLoft’s valuation to $1.1 billion, nearly doubling its April 2019 Series D valuation of $600 million.
The funds will be dedicated towards “transforming the sales industry and helping the world’s companies sell more successfully.” SalesLoft will invest in “new vertical markets, AI / ML-driven insights and product innovation, and further international expansion.”
SalesLoft had a successful 2020, setting up the firm for the valuation raise. While they were doing well before the pandemic, it provided a “tailwind” that accelerated the need for Sales Engagement solutions.
“The effects of Covid have been a tailwind due to the effects of digital selling,” Porter told TechCrunch. “All sellers immediately became remote. But now the genie is out of the bottle and not going back in. It’s meant that inside sales are now all sales. Whether the opportunities are mid-funnel or upgrades or renewals, we are establishing ourselves as the engagement platform of record because it’s all becoming digital and all sellers are finding more success.”
SalesLoft, which had focused on the mid-market, is enjoying significant success selling to enterprise clients, including Google, LinkedIn (also a strategic partner), Cisco, Dell and IBM. Other clients include Cargill, 3M, and Standard & Poor’s.
Last year, SalesLoft doubled recurring revenue and expanded the breadth of its offering. When SalesLoft went fully work from home last year, it forced them to rely more fully on their platform. “It was an opportunity to immerse ourselves in our own best practices,” blogged Porter. “And since then, our sales cycles have shortened by 40% and we’ve exceeded our growth plans. Many of our customers are experiencing similar results.”
SalesLoft was also named a leader in Sales Engagement in “The Forrester Wave™: Sales Engagement, Q3 2020.”
“Our goal is and always will be to help our customers win. This year has accelerated the need for revenue teams across all industries to transform through a digital selling strategy. SalesLoft is a crucial technology for sales teams to perform at their highest potential.”
SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter
SalesLoft claims to be the only SEP supporting “the three most critical products in digital selling – Cadence for managing customer communications, Conversations for recording calls and meetings, and Deals for managing opportunities.” SalesLoft helps customers build pipeline, manage active deals, and engage customers across the buyers’ journey.
SalesLoft gave a sneak peek at their 2021 roadmap in December, unveiling two new features: Deal Engagement Scores and Pre-Built Cadence Frameworks.
Deal Engagements Scores employ machine learning to calculate “deal health based on 30+ factors including activity and deal progression data.” They will assist with prioritizing deals in need of attention and improve forecast accuracy “by identifying mismatches between forecast category and deal score.
Pre-built Cadence Frameworks will improve SalesLoft’s time to value by providing a set of templates and cadences across the full lifecycle and various roles (e.g., SDR, AE, CSM). Inbound frameworks are also supported. Cadences include a preview with a visual display of the cadence, description, objective, function, and implementation complexity level. Pre-built cadences offer best practices from SalesLoft and SalesLoft’s partners.
SalesLoft’s product vision is focused on performance across both efficiency and effectiveness and looks to answer three questions:
What is our performance versus plan? Forecasting for revenue execs
Why are we above or below plan? Outcome-driven reporting for frontline managers
How can we improve and take action? Coaching, Workflow, and an AI/ML Recommendation Engine for sellers and frontline managers.
“We know which sales activities lead to the best revenue outcomes,” stated Porter. “Our data science team is bringing insights and best practices into the platform to tee up next best actions and benefit our customers.”
Forecasting and outcome-driven reporting are part of the SalesLoft vision. Coaching and the Recommendation Engine are areas of continuing development. SalesLoft is already delivering an “integrated, efficient workflow.”
SalesLoft is moving to quarterly releases. The next release pack is scheduled for March 15, 2021.
Warm leads startup Warmly, (yes, with a comma as when signing a letter), raised a $2.1 million seed round led by NFX. Y Combinator, Matchstick Ventures, Scribble Ventures, Mike Vernal of Sequoia, and Harry Stebbings’s 20VC also joined.
The new funds will be used to build out their sales team and hire additional engineers to embed machine-learning capabilities into their software.
“We want to end cold outreach altogether because we should be able to show you the shortest-path warm intro into any company you want to sell to, and the number of hops [it] takes to get there,” said Warmly CEO Max Greenwald
Warmly tracks job changes and tracks champions that have decamped to other companies. They leverage a firm’s CRM to identify relationship strength and identify former users of a firm’s products and services. Alerts are sent to sales reps when a former user or advocate resurfaces at other organizations. Warmly also notifies the customer success team when a user or advocate has left.
“We’re going to make customer success teams more powerful than sales teams in generating revenue. Now that 84% of all b2b sales come from a referral, traditional methods of customer acquisition like outbound sales & marketing are less effective. Warmly is building the first ever customer network graph, a novel way to leverage customers to drive new sales.”
Warmly was founded in early 2020 by three former Googlers (Greenwald, CTO Carina Boo, and Chief Product Officer Val Yermakova) and VP of Engineering Alan Zhao.
“They’ve got this wide-open market. It’s this fantastic fertile soil [that] they’ve put themselves in,” says NFX managing partner and Warmly board member James Currier. Currier also emphasized that customer success software is in its early stage of development.
ABM Platform vendor 6Sense announced that it is on target for its third consecutive year of at least 100% growth. The firm has also rapidly grown its customer base with a 204% growth in customers since January 2019, and 54% growth since January. Its net customer retention rate is 109%, indicating a strong ability to renew and upsell its platform.
LinkedIn employment figures also indicate strong growth, but at a rate slower than customers and revenue, an indication of increased revenue per employee. LinkedIn employment grew 72% over the past year and 192% over the past two.
“6Sense was founded upon the vision of transforming B2B sales and marketing with a next-generation platform that engages target buyers at exactly the right time,” said 6Sense CTO Viral Bajaria. “Our patented AI-powered capabilities, including 6sense’s time-based predictions and industry-leading account identification capabilities, continue to be differentiators in the market — and deliver real business value to our customers.”
6Sense continues to invest in platform development with the rollout of new ABM capabilities in 2020:
Native Retargeting, which programmatically serves display ads to all website visitors or visitors from target accounts
A LinkedIn advertising integration for account targeting across all ad types
AI-based Next Best Actions, a set of prioritized actions recommendations for BDRs across the buying committee.
Model Metrics, which provide customers with self-service analytics which assess the impact of 6sense’s predictions on pipeline and revenue
CMO Latané Conant cited a series of benefits enjoyed by 6Sense clients, including a 75% higher conversion rate, 40% higher win rates, and a 50% increase in contract values.
Inc. recently named 6Sense the 5th Best Place to Work in the small and medium business category.
“6sense believes that culture is based on trust, open communication, dedicated leadership, and a fun space where employees can take risks. We take everyone’s opinion into account, from the very top to the bottom. Employees take chances, put more responsibility on their shoulders, and work hard for one another. We are a team-first, people-centric organization that prioritizes teamwork above all else. Our weekly all-hands meetings give everyone an opportunity to have their voice heard.”
6Sense Inc. Submission
6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round in January led by growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million.
Gong, which closed on a $200 million Series D round earlier this month, is in one of the SalesTech segments that has benefited from remote working. Demand for conversational AI tools from vendors like Gong and Chorus that record, transcribe, and analyze meetings and calls accelerated with the pandemic.
“With global sales teams switching to remote work and field sales teams grounded for the foreseeable future, we are seeing substantial demand for Gong’s solution even in a challenging business environment,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov.
“Gong’s Web site is like a direct view into the subconscious of those hyper-enthusiastic salespeople who make the rest of us nuts but get the job done. The actual product is AI technology that captures video, phone, email, and face-to-face interactions and extracts insights about people, deals, and market events. It must work: they just raised a $200 million Series D, bringing total funding to $334 million. Did I mention their chatbot is a bulldog?”
David Raab, CDP Institute
Carl Eschenbach, a partner at Sequoia Capital, argued that firms benefiting from COVID fall into two classes, those that are enjoying a temporary lift and those that will enjoy long-term benefits due to social and technological shifts.
“There will be less [SIC] field sales reps than ever before. Said Eschenbach. “People will be working remotely and selling over digital mechanisms like we’re using Zoom.”
While Gong did not disclose their revenue, they said it has trebled over the past year. Forbes lists their 2019 revenue at $30 million so 2020 revenue should clock in around $90 million.
Gong has over 1,300 customers, including Autodesk, HubSpot, LinkedIn, MuleSoft, Outreach, PayPal, Shopify, Slack, Twilio, Zillow, GE, and Zoominfo.
Over 64,000 sales and support professionals use the Gong platform, up from 45,000 in December.
They recently launched a Deal intelligence module which provides deal pipeline visibility and “deal at risk” alerts to sales reps (see the image at the top of this blog).
Gong Partners include
Conference: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, WebEx, GoToMeeting, JoinMe
“We made a bold prediction in 2016 that Gong’s technology would become the most significant innovation for sales since the invention of CRM,” said Bendov. “The market has proven that prediction was correct. With global sales teams switching to remote work and field sales teams grounded for the foreseeable future, we are seeing substantial demand for Gong’s solution even in a challenging business environment. There is a new way to win in sales, and the best sales teams are turning to Gong’s Revenue Intelligence Platform to guide them down that path.”
Last month, Gong competitor Chorus closed on a $45 million Series C. The round was led by Georgian Partners, with participation from Emergence Capital, Redpoint Ventures, and Sozo Ventures. Five-year-old Chorus has raised $85.2 million to date. Georgian also led the $33 million Series B in December 2018.
The new funds will be deployed for product innovation and expanding its go-to-market team. CEO Jim Benton said that they would continue to develop their interaction signal capture capabilities, particularly those tied to relationships and driving deals to close.
“The insights provided by conversation intelligence can be a lifeline, identifying risks as well as what is working so that they can replicate best practices across the revenue team,” said Benton. “Sales floors in the office may be empty, but through the use of conversation intelligence, managers can still walk the floor virtually and offer coaching and a helping hand when needed.”
Chorus records, transcribes, and analyzes business calls. Transcripts include time-stamped notes and a call summary with risk factors and upsell opportunities. The Chorus platform helps reps capture and analyze interactions from calls, meetings, and emails. Chorus looks for keywords and topics such as pricing, competitors, and next steps.
“We want to make sure each person says, ‘I was just watching the call, and here is where we left off,’ or ‘I noticed this theme in your conversation, so let’s get started there.’ We are putting the ‘R’ in customer relationship management. There is a lot with the ‘customer’ and ‘management’ aspects, but in terms of ‘relationship,’ that does not always make it back into the CRM, and we think it should.”
Chorus.AI CEO Jim Benton
“We are continuing to make sure we are understanding these interactions for teams and leadership to see what works, so they bring their best,” continued Benton. “You want to make sure you represent the best of your team, give feedback, coaching, have the right messaging and which interactions drive the best close rates–all the science behind what success looks like.”
The firm doubled its headcount to 100 and trebled its revenue in 2019. Chorus has over 200 customers, including GitLab, Zoom, Adobe, MongoDB, and Qualtrics. It is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Boston and Tel Aviv.
Correction: I originally transposed the digits on Chorus’ Total Funding. The correct value is $85.2 million.
Revenue Intelligence vendor Gong closed on a $200 million Series D, raising its valuation to $2.2 billion. The firm indicated that it didn’t need the funds as it is still operating with its Series B funds from February 2019 ($40 million). The $65 million Series C from December is also available, providing the firm with over $265 million in cash for growth and potential acquisitions. Total funding reached $334 million.
“We weren’t looking to raise another round, but a lot of funds were eager to invest in us,” said Gong CEO Amit Bendov, contending that it is better to raise funds when they are available than when they are needed.
“It gives us the ability to buy companies, make strategic investment, accelerate plans, and it also, especially since we cater to large enterprise customers, gives them confidence that this company is here to stay,” he said.
The additional funds will help the firm “fulfill strong market demand for its Revenue Intelligence Platform, reinforce its market leadership, and invest in its product, engineering, and go-to-market teams.”
While an IPO is in the plans, Bendov sees it two to three years out when revenue hits a few hundred million dollars.
Potential areas of acquisition include analytics, AI, communications, and other customer-facing technologies.
“Gong is building something that is bigger than CRM. Rather than rely on people to type in information, Gong automatically captures text, Zoom calls, etc., and improves sales forecasting, product, and market strategy, with zero effort. Ultimately, we are creating a big system. The product is successful today, but still, more is needed.”
Gong CEO Amit Bendov
In 2021, Gong plans to expand globally. It has 350 employees with plans to add “hundreds” more over the next year and at least 100 before the end of 2020. They are looking to expand across finance, human resources, sales, marketing, and IT. Most of their positions are in the Bay Area, with offices in Atlanta, New York, and Denver.
“A lot of our San Francisco employees wanted to move to Atlanta after we opened our hub there [in March], said Bendov. “It’s difficult to work from home in San Francisco, where you have five roommates, and you need to do a Zoom call.”
Coatue led the Series D round, with participation from Index Ventures, Thrive Capital, and Salesforce Ventures. Previous investors NextWorld Capital, Battery Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, and Wing Venture Capital also participated.
Part II of this blog delves further into Gong’s product offering and how they and competitor Chorus have navigated COVID.
Account Based Orchestration platform 6Sense closed a $40 million Series C round with growth equity firm Insight Partners, raising its total funding to $105 million. Previous investors include Salesforce Ventures, Venrock, Battery Ventures, and Bain Capital Ventures. The market cap was not disclosed.
doubled its revenue in both 2018 and 2019. Last year, it added Box,
Cisco, Dell, Zendesk, Sumo Logic, NetApp, Domo, Motorola, Cumulus, Symantec,
and Tableau to its list of named customers.
startup, a company can sell via personal relationships and word of mouth.
In the scaleup growth phase, the equivalent is Account-Based Marketing
and Sales,” said Jeff Lieberman, Managing Director at Insight Partners.
“After an exhaustive review process, we were blown away by the data-focused
sophistication of 6sense’s technology and firmly believe it is the best
solution for B2B companies who need to scale their go-to-market efficiency and
grow revenue. The company’s account-based solution should be a core part
of every scaleup company’s growth strategy. We’re excited to invest in
6sense as the market-leading solution.”
investment is a sign that we’ve done something over the past 2 ½ years,” said
6Sense CEO Jason Zintak. “Investing is confidence, and it’s just so
incredibly humbling that we as a team, as a company, have gotten to the point
where people want to trust us and hand over money.”
attributed the firm’s success to the belief that AI and Big Data are at the
core of the MarTech stack:
Our strategy has always been to lead in those areas, specifically 6sense’s ability to
– Process large amounts of data and deliver actionable insights – Segment micro-audiences based on these data insights – Uncover anonymous buyer intent and identify accounts – Predict which accounts are an Ideal Customer fit, and when they are “in market,” allowing organizations to focus engagement on accounts most likely to buy
6sense has evolved from delivering predictive scores to providing customers with a robust Account-Based platform for the entire revenue operations team.
6Sense CEO Jason Zintak
investment will be dedicated to accelerating its product roadmap, “both
organically and inorganically.” Zintak listed three roadmap objectives:
Improved orchestration, which moves from rules-based engagement to “true AI-based orchestration of tactics.”
Expanding intent and predictive data use cases beyond email to include website personalization, content experiences, advertising, conversational marketing, etc.
Delivering insights to all revenue operations functions, including marketing and customer success.
lists 37 open positions across customer success, engineering, data science,
administrative, marketing, sales, and product. 6Sense has shown steady
employment growth over the past two years. Roughly half of the employees
are in revenue generation roles (Sales, Support, Marketing, and Business
is to tackle the biggest challenges facing B2B sellers and marketers by helping
brands reach the right accounts for their business at the right time, through
the right channels, and with truly engaging experiences,” said Zintak.
“Our company growth has been fueled by the success of our customers, and
our Series C funding will enable 6sense to further invest in AI-driven
orchestration capabilities to help companies of all sizes build and scale account-based
programs, uncover new opportunities, and efficiently create pipeline and
Before Christmas, video platform Vidyard closed on a $15 million financing facility with the BMO Technology & Innovation Banking Group. Vidyard has raised $75.7 million in debt and equity financing to date (see Crunchbase Pro chart on the bottom) and was recently ranked number 39 on Deloitte’s Canada Fast 50.
funds will “help Vidyard remain focused on innovation and product development
while financing strategic M&A & Global Expansion activities so that the
company can continue growing, scaling, and providing customers with the most
robust user experience possible.”
Vidyard has partnered with a wide set of sales engagement platforms, including Outreach, SalesLoft, ConnectLeader, Groove, XANT, and VanillaSoft. Other partners include Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, Drift, Outlook, and MailChimp. Partners have cited a 2 to 3X improvement in open and click-through rates due to personalized videos embedded in emails. Reps can quickly record a one-to-one video or embed a marketing video.
continues to make a global impact and is currently serving more than 50 million
videos per day. With the accelerating trend of the world’s most
innovative businesses turning to video to power their marketing, sales, and
internal communications strategies–tomorrow, that number is on a trajectory to
exceed 1 billion,” said CEO Michael Litt. “We’re excited to be working
with BMO’s Technology & Innovation Banking Group to help finance strategies
intended to support our journey in becoming the dominant video platform
provider that the world’s most successful businesses rely on.”
Vidyard customers include Honeywell, LinkedIn, Citibank, and Sharp. A recent study of 218 B2B sales and marketing professionals found the top five uses of video within an organization are brand awareness (67%), lead generation (63%), customer education (63%), buyer education (58%), and sales enablement (54%). Website distribution was the most common channel (79%), followed by email (67%), LinkedIn (63%), YouTube (60%), and landing pages (59%). 40% of respondents indicated that sales reps were deploying one-to-one videos. Heinz Marketing and Vidyard conducted the survey.
Sales Acceleration Platform Cognism closed on a $10 million Series B from PeakSpan, bringing total funding to $16.5 million. Previous investors included Oliver Wyman, South Central Ventures, LCIF, and Newable Ventures Limited. The firm, founded in 2016, grew ARR over 4x last year.
will be deployed for opening local offices in Singapore and New York City as
well as growing its machine learning team. According to CEO James Isilay,
the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions.
Isilay called Asian expansion “particularly interesting” due to SaaS being relatively young in the market. Cognism has already leveraged its partnership with investor Oliver Wyman to acquire two “blue-chip financial clients” in Asia. “Investment here looks to be a promising tonic to the barriers to trade growth that are disrupting business in Europe and America.”
granted our first machine learning patent in December 2018, Cognism is now
building a portfolio of IP which will drive the next evolution of sales and
marketing technology,” said Isilay.
“Sales and marketing technology has been a core focus of ours for many years, arming us with a long-term perspective on the segment and a nuanced understanding of market trends and buyer dynamics that drive strategic value. With such a proliferation of tools and technologies emerging across the marketing and sales landscape over the last decade, it’s no secret that go-to-market leaders today aren’t asking for more software tools – they’re demanding better outcomes. Cognism’s pragmatic application of AI, which underpins the whole solution suite, is paving the way for a new category focused on turning disparate data points into coordinated insights to drive predictive and prescriptive lead generation and improve conversion across all engagements.”
▪ Matt Melymuka, Co-Founder and Partner at PeakSpan
database spans 400 million contacts and 10 million businesses. Cognism’s
products support Prospecting, Sales Triggers, and CRM Enrichments.
CRM Connectors are available for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics,
HubSpot, and PipeDrive. A cadence tool sends templated emails through
Gmail and Outlook.
Marketing Features include A/B testing, Personas, ICP and TAM Analyses, and webform enrichment.
San Francisco-based Revenue Intelligence vendor People.ai announced Round C funding of $60 million along with the launch of its new The Wire next-best-action (NBA) service. The round was led by ICONIQ Capital with participation by Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, GGV Capital, and Y Combinator. Will Griffith, Partner at ICONIQ Capital, has joined the People.ai Board of Directors.
has received $97 million in funding to date. Its valuation was not provided,
but TechCrunch placed the valuation at “mid-nine-figures.”
announcement of our Series C funding represents a critical milestone in
achieving our vision for the Future of Work,” said People.ai CEO Oleg
Rogynskyy. “We’ve already enabled customers to, for the first time,
capture all of an organization’s critical business data, such as contacts and
customer activity data, and deliver it directly to the CRM. This has
significantly improved sales productivity and CRM data accuracy and liberated
the enterprise from time-consuming manual data entry. Today, we’re taking
People.ai to the next level with AI-driven intelligence that provides
customer-facing teams with a simple, personalized set of actions based on
current, historical and industry data that will help accelerate revenue.
When you use The Wire, you’ll have your most productive day at work,
was founded in 2016 and already supports Red Hat, Lyft, Zoom, New Relic, and
Splunk. The firm describes itself as a Revenue Intelligence System:
“People.ai offers the industry’s only Revenue Intelligence System (RIS) that automates the capture of all contact and customer activity data, dynamically updates CRM and provides actionable intelligence across CRM, collaboration, business intelligence, and other management tools for sales, marketing, customer success and services teams – exponentially accelerating growth and delivering actionable insights for strategic business decision making.”
People.ai fills out buying committees for active opportunities, maps contacts and interactions to accounts and opportunities, and suggests next best actions. Applying natural language processing and machine learning to buying committee discovery and NBA are the latest advancement in sales and marketing intelligence.
also supports contact updates derived from email signatures and pulls “critical
information” such as product or competitor mentions, sentiment, and buyer
recently launched Campaign360 service supports marketing attribution by
tracking opportunities influenced or generated by marketing activities.
Campaign360 is the “industry’s only AI-based solution that equips
Marketers with the real-time, full funnel campaign visibility they need at
their fingertips,” said the firm.
thrilled to partner with People.ai as they execute their vision to unleash the
potential of AI to drive enterprise revenue,” said Griffith. “People.ai
is well positioned in a highly strategic enterprise market, leveraging
automation and AI to fundamentally change the way people work.
People.ai’s product, powered by strong network effects, is delivering
insights and productivity at the scale and quality we have not seen previously.
We see an incredible opportunity to accelerate People.ai’s game-changing
technology as they redefine the meaning of the Predictive Enterprise.
People.ai is the Future of Work.”
Partners include Salesforce, Slack, Outreach, SalesLoft, Exchange, and G Suite.
On Monday, I will be covering The Wire, People.AI’s new Next Best Action service.