Bliinx, a Montréal-based startup that aims to map out interactions with contacts for professional teams, has raised a $1 million CAD pre-seed round of financing. This brings the startups’ total raised to date to $1.2 million.
“Our vision is to make business relationship management collaborative, productive, and easily accessible.”
The round was led by Altair Capital, a San Francisco-based investment firm. Other participants include 500 Startups, Panache Ventures, and undisclosed strategic angel investors. Bliinx will use the funding to increase product development speed and hire new team members. The raise is the result of a product pivot from an external application to a Microsoft 365 embedded solution.
“Having the right information is crucial to building strong professional relationships, however, that information is siloed into many tools like your inbox, calendar, LinkedIn, [customer relationship management], project management, and team messaging apps,” said Bliinx founder and CEO Frédéric Melanson.
“Most professionals waste hours and countless opportunities by manually managing that information,” he added. “We put it at your fingertips and give you insights that we’ll make you and your team more productive.”
Bliinx was founded in 2019 to alleviate the pain of using heavy and complicated customer relationship management tools for business relationship building. The solution integrates directly into a user’s inbox, calendar, and Microsoft Teams applications, and aggregates company touchpoints with contacts into a relationship timeline that it analyzes to recommend actions and follow-ups.
When Bliinx participated in 500 Startups’ Seed Accelerator program earlier this year, it was developing an external application. Two weeks in, Melanson said the team had to start from scratch to build a solution that could be integrated and better aligned with the needs of the market.
“We got an immediate traction with customers,” Melanson told BetaKit. “Our daily active usage went from almost zero to 80 percent.”
The solution is currently only available in private beta, which Bliinx is conducting with a handful of consulting firms. The company plans to launch the tool to the public in September and is in discussions with Microsoft to enter the Microsoft for Startups program.
“As business professionals, we are always looking for tools that can enhance our own productivity and efficiency,” said Igor Ryabenkiy, managing partner at Altair Capital. “Bliinx is a unique product that is ideal for creating valuable and productive business relationships in the simplest and easiest way – directly in the email client.”
Melanson told BetaKit the company is seeing an increase in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, because although teams are remote, companies still are required to work on business development and interact with clients.
Notably, the pre-seed round was opened and closed in the middle of the pandemic. Melanson said remote working was part of the original vision of Bliinx, which is one of the reasons the company is able to “thrive in a complicated situation.”
“We think that work will be inherently different after COVID-19,” Melanson said. “Even when things settle down…. people will have a new way to work, whether it’s with tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, and we’re really happy to be [a part of] that transition.”
Despite the gravity of the current global crisis, Melanson acknowledged the pandemic has had a net positive impact on the business because the shift to remote working will help Bliinx demonstrate the product’s value.
“Our vision is to make business relationship management collaborative, productive and easily accessible to all,” he said.
Image source Burst