Lead generation is a critical cornerstone in the world of sales — in a seemingly infinite sea of potential customers, you need to know who wants to buy, or who might buy, what you are selling so that you can focus your pitches (and your time and energy) in a more focused way. Today, a startup that’s building tools for businesses to help with that lead generation specifically in B2B sales is announcing a big round of funding on the back of strong growth in the last year.
Qualified, a pipeline generation platform designed specifically for users of Salesforce, has raised $95 million in a Series C round of funding, money that it plans to use to continue building out its technology and expanding its overall business. The funding is being led by Sapphire (once the venture arm of another big CRM player, SAP, now independent), with major participation from Tiger Global and previous backers Norwest Venture Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures. (Salesforce led Qualified’s Series B last year.)
Valuation is not being disclosed but for a reference point, PitchBook put it at $376 million last year, and it has likely grown to more than a simple valuation of $376+95 million, given Qualified’s other growth: revenue for the San Francisco startup is up 400% year on year, and net customer retention is currently at 150%, CEO Kraig Swensrud told me in an interview. Customers include Autodesk, Fujitsu, GE Healthcare, GrubHub, HashiCorp, iHeartMedia, LaunchDarkly, Matterport, Netskope, OwnBackup, Poly, Recurly, Talend, Transplace, and Vonage.
Swensrud’s focus on Salesforce is both practical but also cultural. Not only is it the most popular CRM package in use these days, giving Qualified a very qualified audience of potential customers, so to speak, but both he and his co-founder Sean Whiteley used to work at the company — respectively as CMO and a SVP — and thus know both its potentials but also its shortcomings in terms of functionality.
(Fittingly, Qualified now calls its platform the “Pipeline Cloud,” a reference to the nomenclature that Salesforce uses for all of its own product lines.)