OurCrowd has led a $ 20 million investment in Rewire, a provider of cross-border online banking services for expatriate workers. The Series B will be used to add new products to its platform, such as bill payments, insurance, savings, and credit and loan services. Rewire has also secured an EU Electronic Money Institution license from the Dutch Central Bank to support its European expansion plans.
Read more here.
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Robotic process automation has taken the enterprise world by storm by providing a set of tools for those doing repetitive, volume-based tasks to use software to remove some of that labor to let those people focus on more complicated tasks. Today a startup that’s taken some of that ethos and is applying it to more individualized work — that of salespeople — is announcing some funding.
Dooly, a Vancouver, Canada-based startup that has built a set of AI-based tools that automate the busywork that goes into updating data in their sales software, and namely Salesforce, has picked up $ 20 million in funding to build out its business, which to date has picked up a number of customers among the sales teams of enterprise-focused software companies. They include Airtable, Asana, Intercom, Contentful, Vidyard, BigCommerce, Liftoff and CrowdRiff.
Its aim is to make sales software more useful for salespeople by eliminating the work that goes into inputting data into those systems.
“Really they’ve just created a mountain of virtual filing cabinets,” Kris Hartvigsen, Dooly’s founder and CEO, said in an emailed interview with me. “Filing cabinets just wait for drawers to be opened — or in the case of enterprise software, reports to be pulled and data to be input. We know people are capturing information across the business and our job is to make sure that the people and systems across the business have a better, faster, more far-reaching way of staying informed.”
The funding is being announced today, but it was actually raised in two tranches that had not previously been disclosed. A $ 3.3 million seed round was led by Boldstart Ventures and also included BoxGroup. Its $ 17 million Series A, meanwhile, was led by Addition, with Boldstart and BoxGroup again participating, along with Battery Ventures, Mantis (representing musicians The Chainsmokers) and SV Angel.
Alongside the VCs, there are a number of interesting strategic individual investors, too. Daniel Dines and Brandon Deer of UiPath (the RPA connection clearly is not one that I’m imagining!); Allison Pickens, the ex-COO of Gainsight; Zander Lurie of SurveyMonkey); Jay Simons, ex-CEO of Atlassian); Harry Stebbings; and other unnamed investors are all also involved. Ed Sim of Boldstart is joining Dooly’s board of directors with this announcement.
The challenge that Dooly has been built to solve is that while there are a lot of tools out there now to help salespeople source leads, manage the progress of their sales, give them advice and other helpful material to supplement their charm and the basic strength of a product, manage customers once they’ve signed on, and so on, all of them still require something important to work: a time commitment from salespeople to keep them updated with information. Ironically, the more tools to help them that are built, the more time salespeople need to spend feeding them data.
Even more ironically, one of the big daddies of the problem — the somewhat overweight Salesforce — has published figures (cited by Dooly) that say salespeople spend just 34% of their time selling. The rest (minus trips to get coffee to stay caffeinated) seems to be about data entry.
The idea with Dooly is that you turn it on, connect it to what you are using — starting with Salesforce — and Dooly lets you make notes which it then organises and puts into the right places in the rest of your apps.
“When a salesperson starts using Dooly, the ‘aha moment’ is pretty immediate,” Hartvigsen said. “Whether they want to do quick pipeline edits or push their notes to Salesforce, we don’t ask the user to learn any new patterns they aren’t familiar with, we just automate a bunch of things they hate doing, often comparing those traditional chores to clerical work.” For example, he notes, when they sync a note, Dooly automatically updates any Salesforce with any contacts found in the meeting, updates fields, adds to-dos, logs activities, and pushes messages to the appropriate internal stakeholders on Slack, all in the same motion.
The product currently also integrates with Slack, G-Cal and G-Drive, because, Hartvigsen said, “we see this as an area where there is the most immediate friction and an area that was in need of disruption.” He added that the plan is to add more integrations over time. “We see need to expand the solutions that anchor to our connected workspace, with our near-term focus being the systems that touch revenue teams,” he said.
The design of Dooly seems to be about investing a little in order to save more. On average people are using Dooly between 2.5 and 5 hours each day, but Hartvigsen claims that right now the system helps people make up for more hours each week in lost productivity. Its pricing starts at $ 25 per user per month, going up depending on features and use.
There are quite literally thousands of products out in the market today, and among them hundreds of strong ones, being built to help salespeople with different aspects of getting their jobs done. I’ve written about quite a few of them, and I’ve actually asked companies about whether they are tackling the very issue that Dooly has identified and is trying to fix.
They weren’t, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t. Chief among them are companies like UiPath and Salesforce, which sit on different sides of this problem and could well move into it as they keep growing. (Having UiPath as a backer by way of its founder and a senior executive points to a relationship there, which is interesting.)
In the meantime, there have been some other interesting innovations using AI to improve the sales process, with companies like Pipedrive, Clari, Seismic, Chorus.ai and Gong all using natural language, machine learning and big data analytics (itself helped by AI) to improve how sales get done.
“The first thing we noticed when we met the Dooly team was the thoughtful design-first approach to product that engendered tons of customer love. This love was inherent not only on popular ratings sites like G2 Crowd but also in the individual usage and viral adoption throughout companies with only one initial user,” said Ed Sim, founder and managing partner at Boldstart Ventures in a statement. “Dooly is revolutionizing the note-taking experience for customer facing end users from sales to customer success to product.”
“Dooly is relentlessly focused on building a user-first experience for its customers to seamlessly create workflows and unlock new revenue opportunities,” said Lee Fixel, founder of Addition, added. “We are thrilled to support Dooly as it continues to scale and enhance the sales function for more businesses.”
Early Stage is the premier “how-to” event for startup entrepreneurs and investors. You’ll hear firsthand how some of the most successful founders and VCs build their businesses, raise money and manage their portfolios. We’ll cover every aspect of company building: Fundraising, recruiting, sales, legal, PR, marketing and brand building. Each session also has audience participation built-in — there’s ample time included in each for audience questions and discussion.
Israeli online migrant workers bank Rewire today announced the completion of a $ 20 million Series B financing round. The Tel Aviv-based company, which develops cross-border online banking services for expatriate and migrant workers worldwide, also said that it has obtained a significant line of credit from a leading bank.
Read more here.
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What is working in the office going to look like in a post-COVID-19 world?
That’s something one startup hopes to help companies figure out.
Saltmine, which has developed a web-based workplace design platform, has raised $ 20 million in a Series A funding round.
Existing backers Jungle Ventures and Xplorer Capital led the financing, which also included participation from JLL Spark, the strategic investment arm of commercial real estate brokerage JLL.
Notably, JLL is not only investing in Saltmine, but is also partnering with the San Francisco-based startup to sell its service directly to its clients — opening up a whole new revenue stream for the four-year-old company.
Saltmine claims its cloud-based technology does for corporate real estate heads what Salesforce did for CROs in digitizing and streamlining the office design process. It saw an 80% spike in ARR (annual recurring revenue) last year while doubling the number of companies it works with, according to CEO and founder Shagufta Anurag. Its more than 35 customers include PG&E, Snowflake, Fidelity and Workday, among others. Its mission, put simply, is to help companies “create the best possible workplaces for their employees.”
Saltmine claims to have a 95% customer retention rate and in 2020 saw 350% year over year growth in monthly active users of its SaaS platform. So far, the square footage of all the office real estate properties designed and analyzed by customers on Saltmine totals 50 million square feet across 1,500 projects.
Saltmine says it offers companies tools to do things like establish social distancing measures in the office. Its platform, the company says, houses all workplace data — including strategy, design, pricing and portfolio analytics — in one place. It combines and analyzes floor plans with project requirements with real-time behavioral data (aggregated through a combination of utilization sensors and employee feedback) to identify companies’ design needs. Besides aiming to improve the workplace design process, Saltmine claims to be able to help companies “optimize their real estate portfolios.”
The pandemic has dramatically increased the need for a digital transformation of how workplaces are designed and reimagined, according to Anurag.
“Given the need for social distancing capabilities and a greater emphasis on work-life balance in many office settings, few workers expect a complete ‘return to normal,’ ” she said. “There is now enormous pressure on corporate heads of real estate to adapt and modify their workplaces.”
Once companies identify their new needs, Saltmine uses “immersive” digital 3D renderings to help them visualize the necessary changes to their real estate properties.
“I saw the same pain points and unmet needs in office real estate that I did in the residential market,” she said. “Real estate is the second-largest cost for companies and has a direct impact on their largest cost — their people.”
Looking ahead, Saltmine plans to use its new capital to (naturally) do some hiring and continue to acquire customers — in particular, seeking to expand its portfolio of Global 2000 companies.
Saltmine has about 125 employees in five offices across Asia, Europe and North America. It expects to have 170 employees by year’s end and to be profitable by the end of fiscal year 2021.
The company’s initial focus has been in North America, but it is now beginning to expand into APAC and Australia.
JLL Technologies’ co-CEO Yishai Lerner said JLL Spark was drawn to Saltmine’s approach of making data and analytics accessible in one place.
“Having a single source of truth for data also facilitates collaboration across teams, which is important, for example, in workspace planning,” he told TechCrunch. “This reduces inefficiencies and improves workflows in today’s fragmented design, build and fit-out market.”
JLL Spark invests in companies that it believes can benefit from its distribution and network — hence the firm’s agreement to sell Saltmine’s software directly to its customers.
“As JLL tenants and clients continue to embrace the future of work, they are seeking technology solutions that keep their buildings running efficiently and effectively,” Lerner said. “Saltmine’s platform checks all of the boxes by streamlining stakeholder collaboration, increasing transparency and simplifying data management.”
Skin is the largest organ in the body comprising approximately a total area of approximately 20 feet and serves as the body’s first line of protection. As the pandemic has lighted the importance of self-care and with people spending more time at home, the use of skincare products has increased; 40% of skincare users reporting using products more often than they did in 2019. Heyday is on a mission to make skincare more accessible. The startup operates a number of studios across the country that take the experience of getting a facial out of the spa and into more convenient locations. Rather than just focusing on facials, Heyday concentrates its efforts on building an educational experience for its user so that they can build an enduring skincare routine. This includes working with one of the company’s 300+ estheticians to develop tailored regiments. Also, available is a robust e-commerce store that offers a curated selection of vetted brands. AlleyWatch caught up with Cofounder and CEO Adam Ross to learn more about Heyday’s progress since we last spoke after its Series A round in 2018, challenges faced during the pandemic, expansion plans, and the latest round of funding from investors that include Level 5 Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau, and Fifth Wall Ventures.