While venture capitalist and private equity companies are moving away from entrepreneurs seeking funds to get their startups through the recession, a couple of investors are rewarding one young startup that is just hitting its stride.
Software startup InsideView Jan. 15 said it banked $6.5 million in a second round financing from its current investors Emergence Capital Partners and Rembrandt Venture Partners.
InsideView, whose funding now totals $14 million, will use the cash infusion to expand sales and marketing operations and to further develop its platform. InsideView CEO Umberto Milletti told eWEEK he believes the money and corresponding efforts will help his company carve out a new niche in "sales intelligence."
InsideView makes SalesView, a kind of business intelligence application. But
instead of analyzing information about internal company operations, SalesView ferrets out information on prospective customers from the Internet.
For example, SalesView "smart agents" scour SEC filings, some 20,000-plus media sites such as Hoovers and Reuters, and social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn for information on possible sales targets and mash up the info with the sales team's CRM application. This enables salespeople to get a more holistic profile of the lead.
Ariba, Omniture, Borland Software, Pervasive Software and IBM are a handful of companies whose sales teams use SalesView to corral sales prospect and sales cycle information in one central hub. Milletti said this efficiency helps customers boost sales.
"We do a lot of data aggregation, kind of like a big search engine for salespeople, but we can inject that information right where people want it," Milletti said. "Our customers tend to use sales force automation CRM applications."
CRM software market leaders Microsoft, Landslide Technologies, Oracle, Salesforce.com and SugarCRM have noticed the value, agreeing to integrate SalesView into their CRM apps.
Though Milletti won't reveal specific numbers, the growth percentages for InsideView in 2008 underscore why the new funding was warranted. InsideView posted a 410 percent sales growth from 2007 to 2008 and 185 percent growth in the number of paying customers year to year.
Why such explosive growth? Ironically, it seems the onset of the recession actually helped InsideView succeed. Milletti explained his theory:
"Customers are all looking [into] how to accelerate their sales cycles. In the second half of last year, that became a key focus for companies that saw the tough economy coming and started thinking about how to get more done with the people they have because they couldn't hire a whole bunch of salespeople."
"InsideView's management team has shown a remarkable ability to grow its business despite a series of economic shocks," said InsideView board member and Emergence partner Brian Jacobs, whose company has bankrolled Salesforce.com, SuccessFactors and other Web 2.0 companies.
"What's made InsideView so attractive from our perspective is both the strong user adoption of SalesView and its highly differentiated Sales 2.0 technology."
If only all companies had such a shingle to point to during the recession.