Outreach, a Seattle, Washington-based software startup developing a semiautomated sales engagement platform, today announced that it’s raised $114 million in a series E funding round led by private investment manager Lone Pine Capital, with participation from a wealth of new and existing investors including Meritech Capital Partners, Lemonade Capital, DFJ Growth, Four Rivers Group, Mayfield, Microsoft Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Spark Capital, and Trinity Ventures. It values the company at a whopping $1.1 billion and follows a $65 million series D venture capital round in 2018, bringing Outreach’s total funding to date to $239 million.
CEO Manny Medina said the cash infusion will allow it to double its machine learning team, expand its international footprint, and further grow its partner ecosystem, adding that he expects Outreach to reach an annualized sales rate of $100 million within the next year. Currently, the company has over 3,300 customer accounts with 50,000 users, including recognizable names like Adobe, Cloudera, Eventbrite, Showpad, Glassdoor, Zenefits, Okta, Zendesk, and DocuSign.
“That’s right: Outreach is officially a ‘unicorn’ and the only one in the rapidly growing sales engagement space,” said Medina, a former Microsoft director. “Through market education and creating a product that delivers on the promise of an inherently better workflow for all customer-facing teams we have built the sales engagement category from the ground up and are uniquely positioned to leverage this momentum across the entire enterprise. This funding will enable us to continue innovating directly for the end user, using the latest in machine learning and natural language processing to deliver a platform that is easy to use and provides immediate value through every action.”
Outreach’s suite of tools tap AI to automate repetitive sales tasks like rescheduling meetings and booking times on behalf of coworkers, and to prioritize key customer touch points. It delivers analytics and engagement prospects to sales reps through platforms from Microsoft (for example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Outlook) and Salesforce, and soon through SAP, which it expects to support in the coming months.
Through a unified dashboard hosted on Amazon Web Services, reps can quickly queue up activities like calls, texts, and emails with auto-populating templates and custom fields, drawing on data sources like LinkedIn (in addition to Twitter, Owler, Compile, Datanyze, and others) to surface times, channels, and other info relevant to tasks at hand. Outreach supports triggers for things like adding sales prospects to sequences and call recording, and can autonomously send emails, provide call quality feedback, and more.
Administrators and managers are afforded full control over user profiles, enabling them to build out teams and role hierarchies for targeted reporting and governance. And Outreach says that all sensitive data’s encrypted both at rest and in transit over public networks, and that its products are compliant with SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, and EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.
“As enterprise [software-as-a-service] veterans, we have watched the sales engagement space evolve and grow into a critically important category that offers a compelling, hard dollar value proposition to customers,” said Meritech Capital Partners managing director George Bischof. “Outreach is the clear category leader in terms of technology, customer traction, and vision, and we are pleased to support their innovative vision for all customer-facing teams.”
The “AI in sales” trend shows no sign of losing steam. According to a Salesforce survey conducted earlier this year, nearly half of all salespeople believe that AI has a role to play in guided selling capabilities, like opportunity rankings, and about 66% characterize machine learning’s ability to glean customer sentiment and engagement as “transformative.” Meanwhile, 65% say AI-powered insights into business developments, emails, and calendar data would “make them more effective in their job.”
It’s not surprising that AI-driven sales engagement startups continue to attract funding, then. People.ai, which takes into account customer contacts and activity to deliver actionable insights, late last year raised $30 million. Automated conversations firm Conversica raked in $31 million last October, and Chorus.ai — a startup developing artificial intelligence (AI) that listens in on sales calls — secured $33 million in a series B round less than six months ago.
Outreach was founded in 2013 by Medina, Andrew Kinzer, Gordon Hempton, and Wes Hather after the four pivoted away from their first startup — GroupTalent — which provided software recruiting tools for businesses. Outreach employs 315 people and says it’ll reach 450 by the end of 2019.