It is clear that as the pandemic has taken hold in 2020, in-person meetings have gone by the wayside. Yet sales teams still need a way to demo their products for potential customers, particularly SaaS vendors. Enter Demodesk, an early stage-startup and Y Combinator Winter 2019 grad, which is building an online sales demo platform.
Today the company announced an $8 million Series A led by Balderton Capital with participation from Target Global. The company has now raised a total of $10.3 million, including its seed round announced last year.
Demodesk has built a platform to deliver online sales demos remotely with a dash of intelligence to help busy sales people set up the meetings in a more automated fashion. Even though the startup wasn’t thinking about raising money until next year, COVID has accelerated the need for a tool like this in the market, says CEO and co-founder Veronika Riederle.
“We originally planned to raise our next round around the beginning of next year, but because COVID happened, we were able to raise earlier and the money basically enables us to grow a little bit faster now and to build the tool faster because there is so much demand in the market,” Riederle told TechCrunch.
The demand has increased because during COVID, sales teams still need to meet with customers, and Demodesk provides a way to do that. Riederle says that the product is significantly different from general meeting software like Zoom, WebEx or GoToMeeting.
While these tools generally allow screen sharing, she says DemoDesk does something different that separates it from these offerings. Instead of a live version of your desktop or a recording where the two parties are seeing the same thing, Demodesk provides a virtual desktop in the cloud where the salesperson can see notes and other information that the customer can’t see, while still letting the customer view the presentation or demo.
What’s more, the virtual approach enables companies to capture data about the demo to help sales teams understand what worked well and what didn’t, something that wouldn’t be possible with traditional screen sharing.
In addition, the company added a new scheduling tool to the product this year that lets customers and sales teams share available times. “You can just select a time that works for you, fill out some data and then we automatically send a calendar invite, put it in the sales person’s calendar, send out a reminder, and then of course automatically prepare the meeting because we know who the meeting is with beforehand. So we do everything from scheduling, preparing the meeting, then assisting you during the meeting,” Riederle explained.
When the meeting is over, Demodesk can share the notes from the meeting automatically with Salesforce or other CRM tool.
The company has 22 employees today, but the goal is to get to 50 by the end of next year. As she grows the company, Riederle says that diversity and inclusion is a key consideration. In fact, diversity is part of the company’s five core values. As an international company, she says that makes diversity even more important, but it’s also about not having just one way of thinking.
“If you have a more diverse set of employees on the team, you just typically come up with better ideas because you are more creative. You think in different ways and have more interesting discussions,” she said.
The company, which launched in 2017, has grown to 150 customers. While these are mostly software companies, Riederle reports she is seeing other industries use the platform, like a solar panel company, which was going door-to-door prior to the pandemic, and has used the tool to continue doing business when visiting customers isn’t possible.
She sees this trend continuing, even post-COVID, because doing online demos is more efficient, less costly and better for the environment because you don’t have to travel to the meeting.