BrightFunnel Raises Funding To Build Smarter Marketing Predictions

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Marketing startup BrightFunnel is announcing that it has raised a small “advisory round” of slightly less than $1 million from some big-name investors.

Co-founder and CEO Nadim Hossain served most recently as the vice president of marketing at PowerReviews (which was acquired by Bazaarvoice). In that role, and in other jobs as a marketing executive, Hossain said that with his background in economics and econometrics he expected to be “swimming in CMO insights,” but that turned out not to be the case.

Instead, Hossain said he found “production tools” with limited analytics, at least on the level of what a CMO would want to know.

“I remember being at a board meeting in May of 2011, and they asked me questions where I didn’t know the answers,” he said. ” My self identity is as someone who can get at the numbers and get at the truth, and I had to make guesses. It just made me feel not authentic and wonder, why don’t I have the answers? These are knowable questions.”

So at BrightFunnel, he’s trying to build tools that will given him the answers that he was looking for. The eventual goal, Hossain said, is to create “the Google self-driving car for marketers.” In other words, customers should be able to identify how much money they want to spend on a campaign and what their revenue targets are, and with BrightFunnel’s recommendations, the marketing plan should basically run itself.

The company isn’t quite there yet. Instead, Hossain said, it’s more like navigation app Waze. Its current features include identifying the marketing “levers” that can lead to increased revenue, as well as analyzing performance trends by campaign and channel. BrightFunnel also integrates with marketing automation systems including Marketo, Eloqua, Pardot, Act-On, and Hubspot.

And yes, it offers predictions about the revenue impact of marketing campaigns. Hossain estimated that those projections are within 10 to 20 percent accuracy — not just on the conversion rate but also how long it will take to close the sale, which is particularly important for the business-to-business marketers that BrightFunnel is targeting.

One of Hossain goals is to improve that accuracy, which he said is “blows [marketers] away” but is not quite up to snuff for statisticians.

Anyway, here are the investors:

Paul Albright, former CRO, Marketo
David Gutelius, former Chief Social Scientist, Jive Software
Ryan Holmes, founder and CEO, HootSuite
Steve King, former CEO, DocuSign
Scott Kleper, founder and CTO, Context Optional (Adobe Marketing Cloud)
Tim Kopp, former CMO, ExactTarget (Salesforce.com Marketing Cloud)
Chris Maeda, former CTO, KANA Software
Mark Organ, CEO, Influitive and co-founder, Eloqua (Oracle Marketing Cloud)
Venkat Rangan, CTO, Clari and founder, Clearwell Systems (Symantec)
Russell Siegelman, former VP, Microsoft, and Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers