Several years ago, co-founders Leena Joshi, Ben Cheung and Erik Buchanan experienced frustration with the amount of manual work they were putting into collecting information about sales and marketing accounts. The tools in the market were focused solely on the collection of information, they say, instead of curating what was actually relevant, actionable and up to date.
Cheung and Buchanan -- drawing on their AI and machine learning expertise -- saw the potential to boost sales and marketing productivity by applying AI algorithms to workflows. Their work, together with Joshi's, spawned CloseFactor, a platform that aims to harvest actionable information about companies from disparate sources.
"Built to harness the vast potential in automating manual research by employing machine learning techniques at scale, CloseFactor helps business-to-business sales and marketing teams identify the right target accounts to go after -- including the right people at those accounts -- so go-to-market teams have the blueprint to execute their strategy and hit their goals," Joshi said. "Our goal is to become the go-to-marketing operating system for revenue teams."
Prior to co-launching CloseFactor in 2019, Joshi, Cheung and Buchanan had long been in the business of building business-to-business technologies. Joshi spent several years in senior roles at VMware, Splunk and Redis Labs, while Cheung sold his first startup, virtual assistant platform Genee, to Microsoft for an undisclosed amount. Buchanan also held a role at Microsoft before joining Google and then moving to LinkedIn as head of machine learning for LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
CloseFactor identifies different accounts by analyzing attributes across closed won deals (deals in the final stage of the sales cycle), sales strategies and CloseFactor's own data to identify an ideal customer profile and how many accounts fit that definition. On top of that, CloseFactor segments accounts by those readiest to buy by curating insights, including hiring trends and new projects or initiatives a target business is undergoing.
CloseFactor also gives a bird’s-eye view of all accounts, stack-ranked by those readiest to buy.
"CloseFactor automates account research, giving you a deep dive into every one of your accounts -- including current or future projects and initiatives, as well as the decision-makers and influencers you should be reaching out to," Joshi said. "With CloseFactor, you can now engage the right buyers with the right message at the right time. No existing tools provide this type of automation or visibility at scale."
CloseFactor, whose customers include LaunchDarkly, Chronosphere, Sourcegraph and Zuora, competes both with intent data providers and contact databases like ZoomInfo. But the platform's momentum evidently has investors impressed. Vertex Ventures led a $15.2 million Series A round in CloseFactor, with participation from Sequoia, bringing the startup's total raised to $20.5 million.
Joshi said that the recent infusion will be put toward scaling up CloseFactor's product development efforts and creating a go-to-market team, as well as building several new workflow integrations.
"We’ve already grown 5,411% since our first revenue quarter and plan to continue to focus on solving problems for our customers," she said. "The biggest competitor we face in deals today is the status quo. The way revenue teams define their ideal customer profile and target market is broken, leading to massive inefficiencies in their sales and marketing execution."
Palo Alto, California-based CloseFactor currently has 20 employees and plans to hire this year.