Washington and New Brunswick-based IntroHive, a platform that lets companies leverage and analyze their enterprise and employee data to get introductions to sales leads, announced today that it raised a $1.8 million Series A round led by GrowthWorks Atlantic and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF). Since launching in beta in February 2012 and is now being used by over 40 companies. It will be using the funding to expand its sales and marketing efforts to onboard customers across North America.
Co-founded by Jody Glidden and Steward Walchli, formerly of Chalk Media, a company that was acquired by RIM in 2008, the duo pursued the opportunity after recognizing the untapped potential to increase sales leads by leveraging data enterprises already have access to. “Enterprises have this amazing data around who everybody in the organization could potentially introduce them to, who is the best person to make any particular introduction,” said Glidden in an interview with BetaKit. “The first problem we’ve decided to tackle is around business development because most of the other systems out there for providing introductions were broken.”
The company works by integrating with an enterprise’s backend to then create a search engine and robust social network of employee contacts, showing companies who knows who best and who would be best to ask for an introduction. It takes data from existing CRM systems like Salesforce, mail servers, mobile phones and an employee’s LinkedIn profile if they choose and lets business development professionals request introductions internally.
One key aspect of IntroHive is that all employee information remains anonymous, so if a sales manager runs a query, they find out that three employees know of a desired contact and using the company’s technology identify who would be the best person to make the introduction. At that point they send an invitation which the anonymous employee can choose to accept or reject, with the company having incentive programs in place to encourage employees to make the introduction.
“A lot of times companies, especially the very large enterprises we focus on, they already have incentive systems in place. President’s Clubs that top salespeople get to go on these big trips, other people in the company get left out,” Glidden added. “But with this, if I get called on with ‘somebody wants to meet your college roommate because they want to hire him or…you make that introduction and it leads to something important, you could potentially go to the President’s Club.”
The SaaS startup has a volume-based approach to its monthly subscription pricing which starts at $20 per user, and the company is working with both large enterprises all the way down to startups who want to use the platform to leverage the contacts of their advisors and board members for introductions.
There are other startups looking to help B2B enterprises leverage their employees’ social graphs or networks to generate more sales leads, including Megree and Reachable, a social CRM platform which released an update earlier last month, and leverages an employee’s social graph on networks like Facebook. However, Glidden pointed out that many employees do not feel comfortable publicly giving up access to their Facebook friends of even LinkedIn contacts.
When asked why sales managers just couldn’t run a query on LinkedIn to see who might be connected internally to a targeted sales lead, he also noted that in order for that to be effective they would have to make sure everyone was on the professional network. Up next for the company, it will look to use the funding to sell to enterprise users, in addition to working more closely with potential partners like Radian6, a social analytics platform owned by Salesforce. With B2B enterprises constantly looking to widen the top of the sales funnel, IntroHive could be one tool that will look to help them do just that.