MindTickle, a startup that is helping hundreds of small and large firms improve their sales through its eponymous sales readiness platform, said on Monday it has raised $100 million in a new financing round.
SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led the Pune and San Francisco-headquartered startup’s new financing round, which is a combination of debt and equity. Existing investors Norwest Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Canaan, NEA, NewView Capital, and Qualcomm Ventures also participated in the round, which according to a person familiar with the matter, valued the eight-year-old startup at roughly $500 million, up from about $250 million last year.
The vast majority of this $100 million fund is equity investment, said Krishna Depura, co-founder and chief executive of MindTickle, in an interview with TechCrunch. He declined to disclose the specific amount, however, or comment on the valuation.
We used to live in a seller’s world, where buyers had a small selection of choices from which they could pick their products. “You wanted to buy a car, there would be only one new car model every four years. Things have changed,” said Depura, noting that customers today have no shortage of companies trying to sell them similar lines of products.
While that’s great for customers, it means that companies have to put more effort to make a sale. Regardless of what these firms are attempting to sell, they are competing with dozens of other companies, if not more, and trying to reach customers whose patience is dropping at an alarming level.
A decade ago, as Depura watched Facebook and gaming firms like Zynga develop addictive products and services, he wondered if some of these learnings could be baked directly into modern age sales efforts. That was the inception of MindTickle, which now helps companies train their customer-facing teams.
MindTickle, whose name is inspired from the idea of gamifying mindsets, allows companies to train and upskill their salespeople at scale, and uses role playing methods to help them practice their pitch, and how they should handle a customer’s queries.
Depura said the platform helps salespeople measure their improvement in revenue metrics and offers feedback on the calls they made. The platform utilizes machine learning engines to serve personalized remediations and reinforcements to salespeople, he said.
More than 200 enterprises, including more than 40 of the Fortune 500 and Forbes Global 2000 firms, are among MindTickle’s clients today — though, citing confidential agreements, the firm said it can’t disclose several names. Some of the names it did share include MongoDB, Nutanix, Qualtrics, Procore, Square, Janssen, Cloudera, Dexcom, Merck & Co., and Benetton Group.
More importantly, its clients have publicly praised the startup’s platform. As of this writing, MindTickle is ranked as the top product for enterprises and fifth best product for sales on G2, a popular marketplace for software and services.
As for the business side, the startup said its revenue has grown by over 170% in the past year and it is hopeful to end the year at an annual recurring revenue of more than $30 million. Like several other SaaS startups, MindTickle has also been immune to the virus.
In fact, it has seen a surge in its customer base and usage in recent months as firms shut offices and moved work to remote platforms to avoid their exposure to the coronavirus, said Depura. “Today, our platform is being used in ways we had not even envisioned,” he said, adding that at some firms, finance departments and HR teams have also moved to MindTickle. “We are seeing a major shift.”
“MindTickle’s track record of growth, quality of product and marquee customer base highlights their strengths,” said Sumer Juneja, Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, in a statement. “By delivering engaging and personalized training to users, MindTickle is uniquely placed to support businesses to increase revenue generation and extend critical capabilities within their existing workforce.” The Japanese investment group, which began conversations with MindTickle about three months ago, says it is exploring more investments in SaaS categories.
The new fund will allow MindTickle, which employs about 400 people in the U.S., Europe, and India, to further establish this new category, said Depura. The startup is also developing new product features and will deploy the new funds to further grow in Europe, and the U.S., which is already one of its key markets.