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teams “shorten their sales cycle, increase win rates, and close more deals by removing the burden of missing data, outdated demo environments, and time-consuming demo prep.”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.

Avoma Series A

Conversational Sales vendor Avoma closed on a $12 million Series A led by Headline, with participation from Storm Ventures, Global Founder Capital, Zoom Apps Fund, Operator Partners, Industry Ventures, and existing investors K9 Ventures, Dragon Capital, and Twin Ventures.  Founded in 2017, Avoma has garnered $15 million in total funding.

Avoma combines meeting management, an AI assistant, CRM synchronization, and conversation intelligence into a unified tool.  Other features include meeting snippets, conversational analytics, and keyword searching.

“AI does the first draft, but then you have notes and can go back and highlight notes and provide more context if you need to,” remarked CEO Aditya Kothadiya.

Avoma’s integration partners include

  • CRM: Salesforce, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zoho
  • Video Collaboration: Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet
  • SEP: Salesloft, Outreach, and Groove

The funds will expedite the build-out of their meeting lifecycle assistant.  According to TechCrunch, Avoma will focus on three pillars: AI, user interface, and workflow integrations.   It will invest in its machine learning and natural language processing for notetaking and enhance the user experience.

“Since our launch, we have helped over 300 customers and tens of thousands of professionals save multiple hours per week with AI-generated notes and collaboration and improve meeting outcomes by 30% with actionable insights,” posted Director of Marketing Yaagneshwaran Ganesh on LinkedIn.  “But so far, we have probably accomplished a small percentage of our vision.  Our goal is to not only assist you in notetaking and CRM data entry, but also to help you research attendees, get real-time coaching recommendations, send a follow-up calendar invite, and more.”

Avoma call notes

One of the core value propositions of conversational sales services is their ability to improve the presence of sales reps during calls.  Once relieved of notetaking, sales reps no longer need to delay conversations to jot down notes; instead, they can focus on meeting attendees, gather non-verbal cues, and better manage the discussion flow.

“As a product leader, I was constantly in meetings and spent time taking notes. With every new product, I would hand it over to the customer or product market team but would find that during meetings, I was not listening to what was going on because I was taking notes.  We wanted to apply technology to this so we would make sure nothing was lost.”

Avoma CEO Aditya Kothadiya

Avoma claims that this improved meeting presence results in a thirty percent improvement in meeting outcomes.  Furthermore, reps no longer need to toggle between four or five applications to “prepare for a meeting, take notes, participate, and follow through with participants with action items.”

“With so much context switching and information loss in disparate tools, knowledge professionals spend over 20% of their time on low-value admin tasks,” blogged Kothadiya.  “And that’s why there is an urgent need to streamline and automate workflows across the meeting’s entire lifecycle.”

Avoma is targeting mid-market customers and enjoys “obsessed customers,” according to Jeff Fein, a partner at Headline.  The firm has been using Avoma internally and “loved it.”

“It helped in our own processes, and when we talked to their customers, they were obsessed, many of them saying they could not live without it,” said Fein.  “They said it made their work that much more efficient.  We heard that more consistently, and it piqued our interest in a huge way.”

Avoma has quintupled growth each of the past three years and now supports over three hundred customers.  Success has been built with a lean team of only 15 employees, but the firm plans to quadruple its US and Indian headcount over the next year.  Hiring will focus on the engineering, product, and go-to-market teams.

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.

Linked Sales Navigator Repackaged SKUs

LinkedIn will be repackaging its Sales Navigator SKUs in late January.  The service has already begun notifying customers of the change.  Unlike product releases which they roll out over multiple weeks, the new packaging will be implemented across all customers simultaneously.

Sales Navigator retains its original SKUs from its early days, so repackaging was in order.  Before making any changes, LinkedIn interviewed or surveyed over 2,000 customers, discussed customer requirements with sales reps, and analyzed product usage.

LinkedIn Head of Product and Solutions Marketing Nicole Desjardins discussed a number of her team’s learnings with GZ Consulting:

  • Users want to increase their productivity with an integrated sales stack that avoids data silos and app switching.  “Our customers believe that in order to effectively meet this need, it is critical to seamlessly integrate sales workflows both within and beyond Sales Navigator (e.g., sales stack, CRM).”
  • CRM integrations are a priority for customers.  To prioritize customer value delivery, the future Sales Navigator lineup has CRM integrations as the only top differentiator.  This will “massively clarify” lineup positioning and deliver more value to customers.

    Currently, Sales Navigator only offers full integrations and data synchronization with Salesforce and MS Dynamics 365.
  • Customers are looking to increasingly leverage the data stored in their CRM and expect applications to bisynchronously share data.
  • Buyer intent is “hot in the market” as customers are looking to leverage intelligent signals in a real-time manner.  Sales reps want to “know when to act.”

The new Sales Navigator SKUs are based on a pair of packaging design principles: Customers can use all of the features in the licensed package, and it should be clear which package best meets the needs of each customer.

According to Desjardins, the new packaging enables positioning that is “clear and easy to understand” and aligns to value. In addition, the new packaging will help customers and sales reps  “easily identify the offering that best suits their needs.”

“What I’ve been preaching is that SN is not just one product – it’s an integrated approach to the daily sales process.”

LinkedIn Customer

The legacy SKUs followed a Good / Better / Best packaging structure, but the new SKUs support a Good / Best / Best with CRM packaging with the top tier similar to the mid-tier but containing all of the CRM connector and data sharing functionality. The new packages consist of a “foundational use case, the best of Sales Navigator for non-CRM integrated customers, and the best of Sales Navigator for CRM.”

“Customers will be able to use all of the features they have purchased: CRM features will be the only differentiators for the top tier.  Additionally, we have planned investments to further expand and deepen our CRM capabilities.”

The Core offering is designed for quota-carrying sales reps and supports targeting, lead and account tracking, and communications.  Features include

  • 50 InMails per month (this allotment is the same across all three SKUs).
  • Advanced Search
  • Account and Lead (contact) List Building
  • Guided in-product best practices
  • Account Map, a tool for mapping out the buying committee
  • Up to 10,000 Saved Leads and Accounts

The Core edition is designed for quota-carrying individuals with limited tech stacks.  Core helps sales reps “target the right buyers, understand who they are, and reach out in an informed way,” said Desjardins.

The Advanced tier supports sales teams with administrative and reporting functions, including usage reports.  Product differentiators include

  • CSV Account uploads for tracking key customers and prospects
  • Smart Links (customer-specific landing pages with attachments and multi-media links).  Smart Links may be shared by email, InMail, chat, etc.  Smart Links Analytics tracks who has viewed and downloaded which content. Sales Navigator also tracks Smart Link forwards, providing deeper insights into the Buying Team.  Sales reps are alerted when content has been viewed or forwarded.
  • Team collaboration tools such as shared lists, shared searches, TeamLink (leveraging co-workers’ networks), and collaboration alerts based upon shared features.
  • Buyer engagement alerts and buyer intent.  “Buyer interest is a predictive score based on LinkedIn data from employees at this company,” states the firm.  “This score is an indication of an account’s interest in buying from your company.  It considers key factors like employee interaction, InMail acceptance, ads engagement, company page engagement, and more.”
  • SNAP integrations such as embedded profiles, BI integrations, and a CRM widget.  SNAP integrations are available for CRMs (Salesforce, MSD 365, HubSpot, SAP, Oracle, SugarCRM, and Pega), SEPs (Outreach, Salesloft, Groove, XANT/InsideSales, YesWare, MixMax), and ABX Platforms (Demandbase).

    SNAP integrations do not share data, but they support profile viewing and limited Sales Navigator functionality.  For example, the HubSpot connector provides sales reps with profile viewing, InMails, Icebreakers, Introduction Requests, Related Leads for companies and contacts, and Connections.

The Advanced edition helps teams “forge deeper relationships through real-time sales intelligence and seamless collaboration,” said Desjardins.  “Advanced is the best Sales Navigator for businesses if you’re not integrating with CRM.”

The Advanced Plus edition adds full CRM functionality, including

  • Auto-saving Sales Navigator Leads and Accounts from CRM
  • CRM information in Lists such as Opportunities and past customers who have moved to new companies
  • CRM-powered Lead Recommendations
  • The ability to include or exclude matched CRM leads in Sales Navigator searches
  • CRM Activity writeback (e.g., InMail, Notes, Messages, Smart Links)
  • Create CRM Leads and Contacts directly from Sales Navigator.  These are limited information records (e.g., Company Name, Contact First and Last Names, and Title) as LinkedIn does not share member data.  Contact and Lead Creation also upload fields entered by reps such as email, phone number, and opportunity role.
  • The Data Validation flag warns users when a contact is no longer at a company listed in the CRM.  If the company differs between LinkedIn and the CRM, a “Not at Company Flag” is written to the CRM.  The flag is displayed to the rep and available as a trigger for contact clean-ups and removal from marketing campaigns.

With the Advanced Plus edition, users will be able to “surface actionable intelligence on your books of business, improve productivity by automating key processes, and leverage data to update stale information and make better decisions,” said Desjardins.

At renewal, customers will be offered one of five customer service packages that are “set by the size and scope of your program.”

“We know that onboarding is a critical stage for customer success, so we’re investing in hands-on, human-led onboarding for new customers and existing customers when they grow by a significant amount to accelerate their time-to-value,” stated a LinkedIn FAQ on the new service plans.  “Our customers have different needs and expectations for training, so we’ve invested in world-class resources: on-demand training for all customers at every stage of the customer journey in seven languages. Training is created and led by specialists who are experts in best practices and our product.”

Programs with a minimum of 50 licenses will have a Customer Success Manager that supports periodic Program Health Checks, a tailored Customer Success Plan, Strategic Value Reviews, and ongoing Success Coaching.

Alyce for Salesloft

Keeping on the gifting theme, Boston-based Alyce announced a partnership with Salesloft to support “smart gifting” on the Salesloft Sales Engagement Platform.  The partnership lets sales and marketing teams natively send gifts through Salesloft. 

Alyce appears within the Salesloft People page side panel, where reps can select a gift and personalize the message.  Gifting options include physical gifts, gift cards, subscriptions, branded swag, on-demand services (e.g., in-home massage, portrait session), experiences (e.g., walking tours, helicopter rides), and donations.  Alyce’s AI suggests three gift choices, but reps can select other choices from the marketplace.

“Actionable insights, seamlessly integrated together can help your sales team say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time with the right gift to drive action that’ll ensure your team hits your targets month after month,” wrote Alyce.

A gifting history provides details on which gifts have been received and how the prospect engaged with the gift, helping revenue teams “optimize follow-up to drive greater impact.”

Alyce employs AI to assist with gift selection from its curated global marketplace.  Alyce recipients are sent a physical or digital notification of a gift, which they can choose to accept, exchange, donate, or decline.

“Our partnership with Salesloft is such a natural match. We are both committed to enabling revenue teams to build strong relationships and improve business results with the help of smart technology.  At Alyce, we are thrilled that our integration with Salesloft is giving marketing and sales teams new gifting superpowers right in their workflow that will allow them to deliver meaningful moments, increase revenue, and create greater impact.”

Alyce CEO Greg Segall

In a case study, Salesloft enjoyed a 50% increase in alignment between BDRs and strategic marketing with Alyce and drove a 9% increase in meeting attendance.  Furthermore, twenty percent of gifts sent resulted in new opportunities.

“Through the platform, we have uncovered an increase in the sales team’s ability to sell to our target personas,” stated Nabiha Balala, Senior Manager of Enterprise Marketing at Salesloft. “Alyce has been such a game-changer. It’s organically become part of our everyday sales process.”

Alyce’s physical gifting is currently limited to the US and Canada. However, gift cards may be sent to the US, Canada, Britain, and Ireland.

Alyce raised a $30 million Series B in April.


I’ve been running a series on Offline Marketing Automation (E-Gifting and Event Marketing) this week: My other posts:

Postal.io $22M Series B

A Second City Improv show is one of the most popular Events on Postal.

Offline Marketing Automation Platform Postal.io closed on a $22 million Series B led by OMERS Ventures, with current investor Mayfield Fund also joining the round.  The series raised total funding to $31 million.

The funds will be directed toward growing the Postal.io team, ongoing product development, and international expansion.  The firm is looking to address the lack of tracking, attribution, automation, and scale in the $120 billion market for direct mail, personalized incentives, branded swag, and corporate gifting.

Postal offers an “expansive marketplace featuring high-end, locally curated items from specialized vendors” that foster “meaningful experiences to drive better engagement with prospects, increase conversion rates, and boost employee engagement.”

“Teams that were once manually sending offline touchpoints are now able to efficiently automate and track direct mail, branded company swag, personalized gifts, and virtual events at scale.  We help companies leverage this proven channel with a frictionless, team-agnostic platform.  Companies are using Postal.io across their organization to deliver more meaningful, impactful, and delightful experiences.”

Postal.io CEO Erik Kostelnik

Events began as mostly marketing activities, but with so many employees working from home, roughly half of their events are employee team-building activities or celebrations.  Postal claims an average attendance rate of 90% for its events.

Postal offers a concierge team that operates as an “extension of your marketing team.”  Postal Concierge assists with managing “curated, branded, specialty items, and experiences that are guaranteed to surprise and delight your prospects and clients.”  The Concierge team also assists with event customization and talent booking.

A Postal collection that provides a set of coffee or tea options.  The collection is being displayed with the rep’s name via a Magic Link.

Another feature is collections.  Instead of picking a single item, the rep sends a link to an array of themed items, allowing the user to choose from the collection.  Thus, a drink collection would include coffee, tea, and cocoa options.  Likewise, a cocktail-making event would offer a mocktail option.


Part II continues with a discussion of the Postal Marketplace and integrations.

Sendoso $100M Series C

With travel restricted and many executives continuing to work from home part-time or full time, face-to-face meetings and tradeshows will remain difficult for the foreseeable future. One of the successful workarounds has been offline marketing and e-gifting. Firms such as Sendoso, Alyce, PFL, and Postal have had significant success in rising above the din of digital marketing. I will be posting a set of articles on these firms over the coming days, beginning with Sendoso’s recent funding round.

San Francisco-based e-gifting platform Sendoso closed on a $100 million Series C round and announced plans to open a European headquarters in Dublin.  The Irish office will include a dedicated logistics and supply center to support the firm’s 20,000 global customers.  The new facility supports its multinational customers and expands its opportunities within the EU.  Beyond logistics and warehousing, the Dublin office will host an engineering team, marketers, customer success, and an inside sales team focused on European sales.

The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and raised Sendoso’s total funding to $152.7 million.  Existing investors Oak HC/FT, Struck Capital, Stage 2 Capital, Craft Ventures, Signia Venture Partners, and Felicis Ventures also participated.

“We believe Sendoso offers the most comprehensive end-to-end gifting platform in the market,” said Priya Saiprasad, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.  “Their platform includes a global marketplace of curated vendors, seamless integration with existing tools, global logistics, and deep analytics.  As a result, Sendoso serves as the backbone to enterprises’ engagement programs with prospective customers, existing customers, employees, and other key stakeholders.”

Sendoso Funding Rounds (Source: Crunchbase)

CEO Kris Rudeegraap termed the round a “major milestone” for the firm.  The funds will be deployed to expand its products, services, and global footprint, including the Dublin facilities.

Sendoso sends corporate swag, regular physical gifts, and gift cards on behalf of its sales and marketing clients. In addition, the platform supports gift ordering, logistics, packing, custom packaging, and shipping.  Sendoso is integrated with CRMs, MAPs, and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, Marketo, Outreach, Salesloft, and Groove.  The firm has also partnered with ABM Platforms Terminus, Demandbase, and RollWorks.

Sales reps can order gifts and send follow-on emails to customers and prospects via the Outreach / Sendoso integration.

According to Sendoso, customers enjoy a 55% net increase in new opportunities by “creating authentic connections that show prospects you care.”  The firm suggests that marketers “send a coffee eGift before an event to encourage prospects to stop by your booth.”  Reps can then “show them you’re listening by sending personalized gifts based on their interests and hobbies. If they’re a sports fan, send them a blanket with their favorite team or give them tickets to a game.”

In the absence of face-to-face meetings, e-gifting has helped build relationships and break through the digital noise.  According to HubSpot platform data, virtual selling became significantly more difficult due to a flood of messages during the pandemic.  For example, sales emails spiked 59% in Q2 2020 compared to pre-Covid levels, causing a thirty percent drop in buyer response rates compared to before the pandemic.

“Everyone was stuck at home by themselves, saturated with emails,” said Rudeegraap. “Having a personal connection to sales prospects, employees, and others just meant more.” Sendoso claims that it has the “marketplace selection and logistics precision of Amazon.com,” but with greater personalization.  For example, Sendoso supports handwritten notes, special boxing, and an Amazon partnership that routes Amazon orders to Sendoso for repackaging.

“There are a lot of things we do uniquely in terms of what we have built throughout our software, gifting options, and logistics centre. We really personalize our gifts at scale with handwritten notes, special boxing, and more,” something that Amazon cannot do.  We have built a lot of unique technology and logistics software that would make it hard for Amazon to compete.” He said that one of Sendoso’s integrations is actually with Amazon, so Sendoso users can order through there, but then the gift is first routed to Sendoso to be repackaged in a nicer way before being sent out.”

Sendoso CEO Kris Rudeegraap

Rudeegraap is a former sales executive who found gift-sending valuable but cumbersome.  This experience led him to found Sendoso in 2016 with Chief Alliances Officer Braydan Young.  The firm has fulfilled three million gifts over the past half-decade.

“I was manually packing boxes, grabbing swag, coming up with handwritten notes,” he recalled. “It was inefficient, but it worked so well. So I dreamed up an idea: why not be able to click a button in Salesforce to do this automatically? Sometimes the best company is one that solves a pain point of your own.”

Sendoso has 500 global employees with plans to grow its headcount by thirty percent by the end of the year. Sendoso did not disclose its valuation, but TechCrunch estimated it at $640 million.


Continue to part I of my coverage of Postal.io which closed on a $22 million Series B last week.

Drift the Latest RevTech Unicorn

Drift Founders Elias Torres and David Cancel.

Drift became the latest RevTech unicorn following a strategic equity investment by Vista Equity Partners.  The firm did not disclose the size of the investment nor its valuation, only that the valuation exceeded $1 billion.  Vista will hold a majority stake in Drift when the transaction closes in Q4.

“In partnership with Vista, Drift will continue to invest in its customers’ success while expanding its product leadership, scaling globally and bringing Conversational Commerce to more B2B businesses,” announced the firm.

Vista exclusively invests in enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses.

Cancel told TechCrunch that Drift’s goal wasn’t to create a unicorn but that he and founder Elias Torres are proud to be examples for other Latino entrepreneurs:

“Drift is now part of the less than 1% of #latinx founded companies to ever achieve that milestone [$1B+ valuation].

Elias Torres ⚡️ and I believe we have a responsibility to pay it forward, to inspire other people, who are often marginalized and don’t believe they can break the glass ceiling to know that they too can do it. So today we want our #latinx community to know that together we have taken another step forward in our fight for an equitable future.”

Drift CEO David Cancel

Drift, which offers “conversational commerce for B2B,” has over 50,000 sales and marketing customer teams on its Conversational Sales platform.  Drift integrates chat, email, video, and artificial intelligence to power conversations on the website and with sales reps.

75% of its customers were described as mid-market enterprise clients by Cancel.  Customers include ServiceNow, Okta, Grubhub, Mindbody, Adobe, Ellie May, and Snowflake.

“Over the next decade messaging will continue to eat the world and that in order to survive and compete, enterprise businesses will need to flip the traditional model, remove friction, and put customers first. The businesses that win will be the ones that make it simpler for customers to buy from them…

Our bet is that conversations will transform the entire B2B revenue function, and with a partner like Vista, who has helped to transform and grow companies like Marketo and Wrike in recent years, we are excited for what’s next.”

Drift CEO David Cancel

Drift continues on its hypergrowth path, growing ARR 70% in 2020 with a similar growth trajectory this year. However, the company is not yet profitable as it is focused on growth. 

“Our purpose as a company remains simple and consistent: Build a platform that makes it simpler for customers to buy from you. We have an opportunity to bring learnings from the B2C buyer experience to the enterprise and introduce Conversational Commerce as a new B2B category,” said Drift CEO David Cancel.  “Given its extensive experience investing in next-generation SaaS companies, we believe Vista is the best partner to help Drift – and our customers – further these efforts.  I am excited to work with Vista’s team of investors, operators, and technologists who will help us fulfill our ambitious vision and lead the Conversational Commerce category for decades to come.”

Cancel has his eye on taking the company public, with Vista providing a “clear path” to an IPO.

“As a next-generation SaaS company with a strong leadership team, differentiated platform, and passionate customer base, Drift is uniquely qualified and well-positioned to define and lead this new market of Conversational Commerce,” said Monti Saroya, co-head of the Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista. “It is a privilege to partner with talented founders like David and Elias, and we look forward to supporting them and the entire Drift team to help advance their vision to remove the friction from business buying, and in turn, create tremendous value for customers as Drift’s hypergrowth continues to accelerate.”

Boston-based Drift slowed its employment growth rate with the advent of the pandemic but accelerated its hiring in 2021, with an increase of 151 employees since December. In addition, the sales team has grown 33% over the past six months to 136. 

Drift accelerated its headcount growth in 2021 after slowing it at the advent of the pandemic (Source: LinkedIn)

The company appears to have started a consulting organization, growing from 2 to 18 consultants over the past year.  In August, the firm hired Ryan Slinkard as their VP of Professional Services.

RevTech is a field with several minority immigrant founders of unicorns. I have recently also covered Manny Medina (Outreach CEO; Ecuador; $4.4 billion Valuation) and Tope Awotona (Calendly; Nigeria; $3B+ Valuation). Awotona was recently named a board member of SalesLoft, another RevTech unicorn.

SalesLoft Hits $100M ARR (Part II)

(Continued from Part I) SalesLoft also announced that Calendly’s founder and CEO Tope Awotona joined SalesLoft’s Board of Directors.  Both RevTech firms are based in Atlanta.  Porter and Awotona met seven years ago at Atlanta Tech Village.

“It was clear from day one [that] he was an incredible leader who had a clear vision harnessed around delivering delightful customer experiences,” posted Porter on LinkedIn.  “Most of us know the success of Calendly and have learned of Tope‘s fascinating story.  We’re stoked to partner together and grow from his strategic wisdom, leadership learnings, and product-focused excellence.  Our ultimate goal together is helping our current and future customers deliver revenue excellence at scale.”

Salesloft Calendaring Functionality

Porter and Awotona discussed potential conflicts of interest, but those concerns were laid aside.  While SalesLoft has calendaring features similar to Calendly, SalesLoft maintains an open architecture and partner ecosystem with Calendly as a partner.

Porter echoed a recent Gartner observation that SalesTech is in a period of “mayhem” where customers are looking to consolidate their revenue platforms to simplify workflows and operations.  Porter sees SalesLoft as being at the vanguard of this preference for broad, open platforms.

“There’s been massive trends towards digital selling that have taken place,” said Porter.  “And then there’s another trend that we’ve seen emerge, which is companies have been using so many different revenue tools, but they really want to consolidate on a very few that they love, and that’s where SalesLoft comes in.”


Continue to Part III which discusses Porter’s long-term plans for SalesLoft.