Mobile-First Predictive Sales Tool Clari Raises $20M More To Widen Its Big Data Net

It was just in April that Clari — a mobile-first sales tool that uses data science and predictive analytics to help sales people do their jobs — emerged from stealth with $6 million in backing from Sequoia. Today the company is announcing another funding milestone: a Series B round of $20 million.

Andy Byrne, the company’s founder and CEO, says Clari plans to use the funds to continue building out its product into a full platform, usable not just by sales teams but their managers and others who help build a company’s business strategy, upending the existing stalwarts of CRM in the process.

“We are moving into the era where we are seeing the end of data entry and the rise of data science,” Byrne says. “Data entry is the kiss of death for sales reps. CRM was not designed to simplify a rep’s life. We are giving them a simple experience.” The claim is that this means eliminating some 80% of an existing rep’s data entry needs — hence the mobile-first idea — and “giving back” more time to actually sell.

This latest round was led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation again from Sequoia, as well as Northgate Capital. The round brings the total raised by Clari to $26 million.

“It’s all happened a lot faster than we thought it would,” Bryne says. “It went so quickly due to the progress on product and customer front.”

On the customer front, the company is currently in tests with some 50 large enterprises, mainly in the U.S. but also with some in Asia and Europe. Current, paying customers include Cisco, VMware and Nimble Storage.

On the product front, originally Clari was designed as a freemium product with a couple of tiers in mind. First, as a free productivity platform specifically for sales reps who are provided with data insights based on various data sources on their phones and CRM apps (a more detailed breakdown of how the service works is here).

And secondly, as a paid service that the reps’ management can use to help steer those reps in more strategic ways — once the manager dashboard is activated, the product switches into a per-user, per-month model, charged at between $50-60 per user, per month.

It’s the latter part of the business that is seeing some interesting traction now also with another tier of users in the area of sales operations and with sales executives.

The company currently uses around 15 different “sources” to compile what Byrne refers to as “data exhaust” — the huge dump of information that comes from all of the daily work that sales reps produce as part of their jobs, from emails and calendar entries to CRM records and presentation materials through to files stored in Dropbox and Box, LinkedIn profiles, news feeds, Salesforce, Sharepoint and so on.

“The early evidence that we’ve found is that the predictive analytics can be used to help sales execs increase forecasts,” he says. “For some of these companies that is incredibly important.”

Ultimately, the aim will be to expand Clari’s API to take in even more data sources — conceivably anything that an organisation wants to include. “We are reorganising that content around the only things that matter to sales, deals and relationships. We are serving them insights that they can act quickly on to build those.”

The idea of Clari remaining, in Byrne’s words, “laser focused” on sales and CRM disruption, while expanding to more than just sales reps, has been one of the attractive features for investors.

“There are a number of companies looking to ‘fix’ CRM, but we gravitated to Clari’s holistic approach — yes, they offer an innovative mobile experience for sales reps, but more significantly the platform improves the quality and predictive capabilities of every aspect of the sales cycle,” said Ajay Agarwal, a partner at Bain who is joining Clari’s board. “Clari’s approach addresses the problem of getting good data from the field, but the platform also turbo-charges sales by turning that data into intelligence for the entire organization. From our perspective, this makes Clari a silver bullet for any sales-driven company.”