Vancouver software startup Traction Complete began as one of Traction on Demand’s first products. In 2019, it became one of a handful of spinoff companies from Traction on Demand.
Under the shadow of Traction on Demand, Traction Complete has quietly grown to serve hundreds of clients, helping Asana, Cisco, Coveo, DocuSign, and Zendesk sell better with Salesforce.
“We are fortunate to have a bunch of great customers, but most of the world has never heard of us.”
-David Nelson, Traction Complete
When Salesforce acquired Traction on Demand’s Salesforce consulting business in early 2022, Traction on Demand’s tech spinouts, including Traction Complete, were not part of the deal.
Now, armed with $6.7 million CAD ($5 million USD) in Series A financing, a trio of products, and a roster of big-name clients, Traction Complete is ready for the spotlight, as the company gears up for growth as an independent firm.
“We are fortunate to have a bunch of great customers, but most of the world has never heard of us,” Traction Complete CEO David Nelson told BetaKit in an interview.
“The idea is to throw some fuel on the fire, grow faster, try and capture market share … continue with the roadmap that we have for the business, [and] let the world know that we exist,” said Nelson.
The startup’s all-equity, all-primary Series A round, which closed in late 2022, was led by Vancouver-based Pender Ventures and San Francisco’s Thomvest, with support from other undisclosed investors.
Though this marks the first time Traction Complete has raised its own capital, this round does not represent the firm’s first outside investment: Salesforce Ventures has previously put money into the company, joining a Traction Complete cap table that also includes other ex-Traction on Demand employees.
Traction Complete provides Salesforce apps designed to help organizations make sense of their data and automate sales and marketing-related processes. The startup currently offers three revenue operations products, focused on data cleanup, account hierarchies, and matching and routing, respectively.
“We believe that data can be this incredible instruction set for businesses if done properly,” said Nelson. “And so we’ve been on this mission to help reduce data complexity, trying to automate as much as possible.”
Founded in 2007 by Greg Malpass, Traction on Demand was a dedicated Salesforce consulting and application development firm that has since been folded into Salesforce. Nelson first joined Traction on Demand in 2013, after Malpass brought him in the help “catalogue” Traction on Demand’s intellectual property and figure out what the company could bring to market as a product.
Traction Complete started as one of Traction on Demand’s first products. It is one of a handful of spinoffs that Traction on Demand has created from its Salesforce products, a group that also includes Uncommon Purpose, Traction Guest, and Traction Rec, which has also recently received investment from Pender.
Nelson served as Traction Complete’s managing director from 2017 until early 2022—when he became CEO—helping incorporate the company in 2019 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Traction on Demand. Traction Guest was also sold off during this time.
When Salesforce snapped up Traction on Demand’s Salesforce consulting business last year, the British Columbia tech firm kept its spin-off companies out of the deal.
While Traction Complete operated independently prior to the Salesforce acquisition, Nelson said that with its recent capital raise, the startup is now “truly independent.”
“This round of funding really solidified that, because now there’s a separate independent board, separate shareholders,” said Nelson.
According to Nelson, Traction Complete first began fundraising for this round in 2021, during what was a particularly favourable startup funding environment. When Salesforce’s Traction on Demand acquisition offer came across the table, Traction Complete put those plans on the “backburner” before resuming the process amid much more challenging market conditions.
Despite this, Nelson said the startup faced few headwinds, which the CEO chalked up to the fact that it first began building relationships with investors in 2021, and was able to demonstrate growth in the meantime. “I think it made it a lot easier than perhaps it could have been if you’re just starting cold right now in these very uncertain times,” he added.
“There’s just so much more that we want to accomplish.”
-David Nelson, Traction Complete
Pender managing partner Maria Pacella noted that Traction Complete aligns with Pender’s “investment thesis of enterprise systems of insight and workforce empowerment.”
“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with the team on their journey to “rev-up” RevOps and empower sales teams worldwide,” Pacella added.
Pender, which has also invested in Traction Rec, focuses specifically on B2B software and healthtech startups. The Vancouver VC firm has been staffing up recently as it raises its second fund, for which it has set a $100 million CAD target.
Traction Complete plans to invest its Series A capital in hiring and product development, as the company looks to build out more sales and marketing data-related capabilities for its customers.
While its former parent company exited to Salesforce, Nelson noted that Traction Complete isn’t just looking to be acquired. “If we had wanted to do that, we could have packaged up the [Traction on Demand] product companies in the [Salesforce] acquisition last year.”
“There’s just so much more that we want to accomplish,” the CEO added.
With files from Meagan Simpson.
Feature image courtesy Traction Complete.