Washington, D.C.-based Contactually, which makes a lightweight CRM tool for email, is today announcing it has just closed on a $1 million seed-funding round led by SaaS backers Point Nine as well as Boston Seed, with participation from previous investor 500 Startups and other angels. The company is also announcing the public debut of its new API, which allows third-party developers to integrate contact information, plus email and social media history directly into their apps.
Contactually’s service supports any IMAP-connected account, including Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo, Aol, and others, as well as Microsoft Exchange. There are also plugins for Outlook and Gmail/Google Apps that allow users to bring Contactually directly into their inboxes, and there’s even a “bucket game” designed to make organizing contacts less painful.
The startup is something of a re-imagining of CRM for the social media age. Not only does it work on top of email, it also imports information pulled from social services like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Skype, Flickr, Quora, Klout and dozens more. This extra information helps to fill out richer contact cards, showing not only the basics (name, email, phone, address, etc.) but also where to find people, so you can see what they’re up to on the wider, social web. And like the email add-on Rapportive, Contactually allows you to friend or follow your contacts on those services if you’re not already connected.
On Contactually’s website, there’s an online dashboard where you can keep track of those you need to follow-up with – something you can do by just clicking a button. You can use pre-defined templates to make follow-ups easier for now, but co-founder Tony Cappaert says that in the upcoming version of the service due out in only a matter of weeks, Contactually will start to suggest not just who to talk to, but also what you should say.
“Not only do I follow up with Kelly,” Cappaert offers as an example, “but it’s – share this article with Kelly, or make this introduction to Kelly, or comment on this post she had on Facebook. It’s really trying to automate what you’re doing and how you’re interacting with all the people who are important to you,” he tells us.
Since its launch in January 2012, Contactually has been continually improving upon its dashboard interface, which started off with just a contact list, a simpler set of tools that suggested actions for you to take that day, and some graphs showing your activity. In May, the company added support for team sharing, allowing all users in a group to see who was the last person to contact someone in order for better collaboration. It also began integrating with larger CRMs and other programs, such as SugarCRM, CapsuleCRM, Producteev, and MailChimp, which were added to a list that had previously included Highrise and Salesforce.
Today, Cappaert says that Contactually has tens of thousands of users for its service, “thousands” of whom are paying customers. (It’s a freemium product.) Though he declined to provide hard numbers on revenue, he would say that Contactually was growing its revenue 30 percent month-over-month.
“We’ve been growing really fast on the paid product,” he says, noting that it’s most popular among those in professional services, like realtors, lawyers and financial advisors. “People who need to stay on top of their network to get more business through referrals – those are the people using Contactually the most, and that’s who we focus on,” Cappaert adds.
With the additional funding – and Cappaert mentions it was an oversubscribed round - the plan is to hire around six more engineers and inside sales staff, as well as to continue to develop the new API. The company’s first big API partner is Salesforce, which is integrating it into its Do.com task-management application where it will serve to offer more information about who you’re talking with and push reminders directly into your task list. The company has a few other smaller partners, too, like real estate marketing platform Wise Agent, for instance.
“Over the last several months, we focused on making everything you see internally in Contactually accessible externally through our API,” Cappaert says. With the funding, the team is now working to make the API work in real-time.
Also in the works is an iPhone application (with Android to follow), and future plans to natively integrate with voice platforms like Google Voice and Skype. Though Cappaert couldn’t give a time frame on the latter, he explained that for Contactually to work properly, it would need to follow your activity across all services, not just email, but calls, too. Describing this broader vision, Cappaert explains, “we want to be the personal assistant that helps you stay in touch with the most important people in your network.”