Riding the consumerisation of IT trend that’s blowing the cobwebs off enterprise software, Belgian startup Showpad – which makes iPad software for sales teams — has raised a $2 million Series A funding round from early stage European VC firm, Hummingbird Ventures.
Showpad’s cloud platform hosts sales content uploaded by sales staff and administrators, which can then be accessed via the corresponding iPad software — with the idea being to make it easy for sales teams to have all the necessary sales & marketing info on tap when they’re in front of prospective customers. The latest version of the content required by each user is downloaded locally to their device so it can be accessed offline. Analytics for creating reports on user/content activity within the app are built in to the platform. Usage data can also be exported.
The system also allows administrators to send push notifications, offering a way to communicate with sales staff via in-app broadcasts – a similar feature to the private mobile messaging offering of startups such as Red e App. Showpad is being a little more targeted, though, zeroing in on the specific needs of sales teams, rather than on mobile staff generally. CEO Pieterjan Bouten says it’s competing with the likes of Skura, Model Metrics (acquired by Salesforce) and ScrollMotion.
In a press release, Showpad said it plans to use the funding to grow its own sales and marketing team, and to “invest heavily” in platform development. It also plans to open an office in New York to ramp up to meet “increasing demand” in the U.S., as well as look for partnership opportunities. In October last year it announced a partnership with Jive Software which is using its software to power its own mobile sales team offering, Jive Present.
Showpad, which was founded in 2011 — and does not currently support Android tablets – told TechCrunch it has almost 150 enterprises signed up as customers, and more than 20,000 active users of its software. Customers include BASF, Unilever and Heineken.
Confirming the ‘bottom up’, consumerisation of IT momentum Showpad is riding, Bouten added: “We manage to sign many companies through sales reps themselves trying our solution and then showing it to the management.”
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Barend Van den Brande, Managing Partner of Hummingbird Ventures, said: “We have been more than pleasantly surprised with the excellent feedback we have been receiving from leading customers and partners of Showpad in Europe and in the United States. We hope that our funding will help to accelerate the company’s continuing international expansion.”