Jun
26
2018
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YC grad ZenProspect rebrands as Apollo, lands $7M Series A

ZenProspect, a startup that emerged from the Y Combinator Winter 2016 class to help companies use data and intelligence to increase sales, announced today that it was rebranding as Apollo. It also announced a $7 million Series A investment.

The round was led by Nexus Venture Partners. Social Capital and Y Combinator also participated. Apparently Y Combinator liked what they saw enough to continue to invest in the company.

Apollo helps customers connect their sales people with the right person at the right time. That is typically a customer that is most likely to buy the product. It does this by combining a number of tools including a rules engine to automate prospect routing, a lead scoring tool and analytics to measure results at a granular level, among others.

Apollo analytics. Photo: Apollo

The company also uses data they have collected from 200 million contacts at 10 million companies to match sellers to buyers along with the information in the user’s own CRM tools — typically Salesforce. Apollo is making this vast database of company and contact data available for customers to use themselves for free starting today.

Apollo CEO and founder Tim Zheng says the company was born out of a need at a previous venture. He was working at a startup that was floundering and sales had flatlined. When they couldn’t find a product on the market to help them, they decided to build it and saw the number of users increase from 5000 to 150,000 users in just five weeks. That eventually reached a million users.  As he spoke to friends at other Bay area companies about what his company had done, he heard a lot of interest, and decided to turn that sales tool into a company.

The company launched as ZenProspect in 2015 and went through Y Combinator in 2016. They were the third fastest growing company in that YC batch, generating $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) during their tenure. In fact, they were profitable out of the gate, using their own software to sell the product.

Zheng points out that there are thousands of sales tools out there, but he said, even if you bought every one of them and stitched them together you still wouldn’t have a great sales process. Zheng says his company has figured out how to solve that problem and provide that structure to deliver the best prospects to sales people to close deals.

The company works closely with Salesforce as 80 percent of its customers are using data inside of Salesforce in conjunction with the Apollo tool. It’s worth noting, however, that Apollo is not built on top of Salesforce platform. It just integrates with it.

They target both early stage startups looking to increase sales and established enterprise customers with huge sales teams. So far it’s been working. Today, Apollo has 500 customers and 50 employees. With the current influx of money, they expect to get to 120 in the next 12 -18 months.

Sep
19
2017
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Salesforce Einstein celebrates its first birthday with several new features

 Salesforce launched Einstein, its artificial intelligence platform just one year ago this week. As it celebrates its first birthday, it’s worth taking a look back at the first year and looking at a couple of enhancements they’re adding as a birthday surprise. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that Einstein isn’t actually a product at all, even though Salesforce markets… Read More

Apr
05
2017
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InsideSales expands chummy Microsoft relationship with new Dynamics platform integration

two business people, shaking hands, shot from above | date created: 2007:04:30 | notes: canon EOS 1-Ds Mark II | release references: mr2.pdf, mr6.pdf | release status: MR | date created: 2007:12:17 | notes: canon EOS 1-Ds Mark II | release references: mr2.pdf, mr6.pdf | release status: MR Microsoft has had a fair bit of investment action with InsideSales, the startup with a unicorn valuation of $1.5 billion, and today they are expanding that relationship with some product integration. The companies announced that InsideSales Playbooks will be available on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. Playbooks offer customers a set of recommendations aimed at sales teams, such as the… Read More

Jan
31
2017
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Tact brings intelligent sales assistant to new Slack enterprise edition

Business people standing in conference room shaking hands Tact, the AI-driven sales tool that uses software smarts to simplify sales tasks, today announced integration with the newly announced Slack enterprise product, Slack Enterprise Grid. Tact, which currently has a mobile app and Amazon Echo integration (along with in-car integration in private Beta), sees messaging tools like Slack as a logical extension of the platform. It can help automate… Read More

Jan
18
2017
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InsideSales $50 million round includes another Microsoft investment

Business people standing in conference room shaking hands InsideSales, a predictive analytics platform which helps salespeople focus on finding and engaging prospects at the right time and in the right way, announced a $50 million round today with a couple of strategic investors — Microsoft and the Irish government.
The round was led by Polaris Capital, a long time investor, along with newcomers QuestMark Partners, and the Irish Strategic… Read More

Dec
12
2016
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Tact grabs $15 million Series B to make CRM easier to use

Closing the sale -- contract signing. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software was born with the best of intentions — to create a record of customer interactions. The problem, salespeople will tell you, is that it becomes a chore. Tact has been designed to add an intelligent layer to CRM — and today it got $15 million to make CRM easier to use. The Series B round was led by Upfront Ventures. Microsoft… Read More

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