I’m pleased to announce that LeadGenius has closed a $6M Series A led by Sierra Ventures. This is an important milestone for the business, but before talking about what will happen next, let’s start by looking back.
When we launched LeadGenius 12 months ago, we thought that lead generation would be only one of several interesting applications we’d build using crowds. The overwhelming market response proved us wrong; lead generation is the killer application for virtual workers, and a crucial issue within the B2B landscape. The reason is simple – the process of finding new customers is still a difficult and manual process that’s faced by every B2B sales team. Sales and marketing automation platforms like Salesforce and Marketo have been able to make sales processes more efficient, but they still leave the heavy lifting to salespeople; they aren’t able to automate the process of finding new customers in a maze of data.
Many parts of the sales process are still a black art, relying on individual judgment and experimentation by sales development teams to learn what works. These teams must figure out how to identify potential customers repeatedly, accurately and at scale, understand how to engage with these groups with messaging that works, and determine how to prospect out to them in a way that results in a sale.
LeadGenius automates this process. We scour the web to collect as much customer data as possible and use human beings to curate that information and determine which factors are relevant to a sale, allowing us to match buyers and sellers at an unprecedented scale. That’s exciting for two reasons. First every B2B sales team faces the problem of finding new buyers, and second, it suggests a future in sales and marketing technology that can transfer much of the sales development grunt work to intelligent software. Today, LeadGenius can identify the universe of buyers for a given product, search for signals indicating readiness to buy, and capture, track, and respond to prospects who show purchasing intent. Over the next five years, our goal is to automate as much of the B2B sales process as possible.
We’ve been working with over 120 companies. It’s been exciting for all of us to watch these clients rapidly grow their own sales efforts with us:
- One of the world’s largest social media sites has been using LeadGenius to kickstart targeted ad sales to SMBs. The huge variety of specialized user-generated content, the changing nature of SMBs, and the small size of the sales team meant that matching buyers and sellers efficiently was tricky before LeadGenius. Using LeadGenius, the team has been able to move ad inventory faster than ever before.
- One of the world’s largest job sites uses LeadGenius to track and categorize the entire universe of companies that are hiring – the people who should be listing jobs on their site but who aren’t already.
- Stripe has been using LeadGenius from their first sales hire for activities ranging from identifying brand-new startups at the point of launch, to analyzing massive clusters of potential customers discovered via the web to determine which could become Stripe customers.
We’re thrilled to have Sierra as a partner in this effort; Tim Guleri will be joining our board of directors. Tim is that rare unicorn in Silicon Valley – a technical VC with operational experience as a sales founder. At Octane, Tim took a sales technology company all the way through a 3.2 billion dollar acquisition by E.piphany. He has since taken several companies public or through billion dollar exits and a similar trajectory is predicted with us. Tim shares our vision that technology and humans together can revolutionize the way that companies sell, and is a firm believer in the social values that we’re committed to as a company (paying fair wages and ethical treatment of our worker community).
Raising this round was a big step in a long journey. In the months ahead, we’ll be investing heavily in the product itself to streamline the customer experience, expanding our ability to collect and reason about data at scale, rapidly growing our global worker community and introducing LeadGenius to more sales and marketing teams.
Last, a special thanks to those folks who helped us reach this milestone: our seed investors who took a bet on the founding team, our awesome LeadGenius team in California, our customers, and most importantly, our community of global workers, the backbone of our business. Starting with a pool of just ten workers in a Mumbai slum, we’ve scaled up to work with hundreds of virtual workers from over 50 different countries. The stories we hear on a regular basis on how LeadGenius provides work that improves our workers’ lives continue to inspire us.
There’s a revolution happening in sales technology, and we plan to be at the forefront of it.
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