Jun
03
2021
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Gong going gangbusters, grabs $250M Series E on $7.25B valuation

Gong, the revenue intelligence startup, has been raising capital at a rapid pace, and today the company announced another $250 million on a $7.25 billion valuation, a number that triples its previous valuation from last summer.

Franklin Templeton led today’s festivities with participation from Coatue, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia, Thrive Capital and Tiger Global. The company raised $200 million last August at a $2.2 billion valuation, and has now raised $584 million, $450 million coming in the last year.

What is making investors open their wallets and pull out such large sums of cash? The company is helping solve a hard problem on how to bring more intelligence to the revenue process. They do this by using artificial intelligence to listen to every customer interaction, whether that’s a sales or service call (or anything else), and use that information to determine valuable information like who is most likely to buy and who is most likely to churn.

It’s been going well and CEO Amit Bendov says the company’s performance really validates the valuation. While he wasn’t ready to discuss specific numbers, he did say that ARR grew 2.3x between Q1 last year and this year, and he says Q2 is on pace to triple ARR.

“The valuation is up about 3x from last summer, but sales are more than 3x. We have high logo customers. [Last year], it was still unclear how COVID was going to impact us. People believed [our business] was going to do well [during the pandemic], but it wasn’t as obvious. Now, it is obvious. And all the […] financials are way better, so from a pure financials [perspective] our multipliers are pretty reasonable for our revenue trajectory,” he said.

With all this growth, the company is adding employees at a rapid pace. It closed the year with 400 people, and is up to around 550 today with a goal of reaching 950 by year end. It has partnered with a consulting firm called ReadySet, which helps companies build diverse and inclusive organizations, and Bendov says they are an equal-pay company.

Women represent around 40% of the employees and around 4% are Black, a number he hopes to increase by growing the Atlanta office. In the office in Israel, he has set up employment and training programs to build bridges to the Arab community.

Bendov says he looks forward to meeting his U.S. employees in the coming weeks when he’ll be visiting the Atlanta office for the first time.

 

Sep
01
2020
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Fresh off $200M Series D, Gong acquires early-stage startup Vayo

Gong announced a $200 million Series D investment just last month, and loaded with fresh cash, the company wasted no time taking advantage. Today, it announced it was buying early-stage Isreali sales technology startup Vayo. The companies did not share terms of the deal, but Gong CEO Amit Bendov said the deal closed a couple of weeks ago.

The two companies match up quite well from a tech standpoint. While Gong searches unstructured data like emails and phone call transcripts and finds nuggets of data, Vayo looks at structured data, which is essentially the output of the Gong search process. What’s more, it handles large amounts of data at scale.

“Vayo helps find customer interactions at a large scale to identify trends like customers likely to churn or usage is going up, or your deals are starting to slow down — and they do this for structured data at scale,” Bendov told TechCrunch.

He said this ability to identify trends was really what attracted him to the company, even though it was still at an early stage of development. “It’s a perfect fit for Gong. We take unstructured data — emails, audio calls video calls — and extract insights. Customers, especially with a large organization, don’t want to see individual interactions but high order insights […] and they’ve developed [a solution] to identify trends on large data volumes for customer interactions,” he said.

Vayo was founded in 2018 and raised $1.7 million in seed capital, according to Crunchbase. Joining forces with Gong gives them an opportunity to develop the technology inside a company that’s growing quickly and is extremely well capitalized, having raised more than $300 million in the last 18 months.

Avshi Avital, CEO at Vayo, who has joined Gong with his four fellow employees, gave a familiar argument for selling the company. “With Gong we found the perfect partner to realize this mission faster and maximize the impact of the technology we built given the scale of their customer base and growth potential,” he said.

The plan is to fold the Vayo tech into the Gong platform, a process that will take three to six months, according to Bendov.

Aug
12
2020
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Gong raises another $200M on $2.2B valuation

For the third time since last February, Gong has raised a significant sum. In February, the company scored $40 million. In December, it grabbed another $65 million. And today, it was $200 million on a $2.2 billion valuation. That’s a total of $305 million in less than 18 months.

Coatue led today’s cash infusion, with help from new investors Index Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and Thrive Capital, and existing investors Battery Ventures, NextWorld Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and Wing Venture Capital. It has now raised a total of $334 million, according to the company.

What is attracting this kind of investor attention? When we spoke to Gong about its Series B round, it had 300 customers. Today it has around 1,300, representing substantial growth in that time period. The company reports revenue has grown 2.5x this year alone.

Gong CEO Amit Bendov says his company is trying to create a category they have dubbed “revenue intelligence.” As he explains it, today sales data is stored in a CRM database consisting of descriptions of customer interactions as described by the salesperson or CSR. Gong is trying to transform that process by capturing both sides of the interaction, then, using artificial intelligence, it transcribes and analyzes those interactions.

Bendov says the pandemic and economic malaise has created a situation where there is a lot of liquidity in the market and investors have been looking for companies like his to invest some of it.

“There’s a lot of liquidity in the market. There are very few investment opportunities. I think the investment community was waiting a little bit to see how the market shakes out […] and they are betting on companies that could benefit long-term from the new normal, and I think we’re one of them,” Bendov told TechCrunch.

He says that he wasn’t looking for money, and in fact still is operating off the Series B investment, but when firms come knocking with checkbooks open and favorable terms, he wasn’t about to turn them down. “There are CEOs schools [of thought] that tell you to raise money when you can, not when you need to. It’s not very diluted at this kind of valuation and it was a very easy process. […] The whole deal closed in 14 days from term sheet to money in the bank,” he said.

Bendov said that taking the money was “pretty much a no-brainer.” In fact, he says the money gives them the freedom to operate and further legitimacy in the marketplace. “It gives us the ability to buy companies, make strategic investment, accelerate plans, and it also, especially since we cater to large enterprise customers, it gives them confidence that this company is here to stay,” he said.

With around 350 employees today, it hopes to add 100 people by the end of the year. Bendov says diversity and inclusion is a “massive priority” for the company. Among the steps they’ve taken recently is opening a recruiting hub in Atlanta to bring more diverse candidates into the company, working with a company called FlockJay to train and hire underrepresented groups in customer success roles, and in Israel where the company’s R&D center is located, helping members of the Arab community with computer science backgrounds to learn interview skills. Some of those folks will end up working for Gong, and some at other places.

While the company has grown remarkably quickly and has shown great promise, Bendov is not thinking ahead to an IPO just yet. He says he wants to grow the company to at least a couple of hundred million dollars in sales, and that’s two to three years away at this point. He certainly has plenty of cash to operate until then.

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