The Hyde Park Angels “New Investment Series” profiles our most recent investments by examining the portfolio company and its future trajectory from two perspectives: the portfolio company’s CEO and the HPA leader who made the deal happen. This edition focuses on RepIQ.
RepIQ is an AI-powered sales intelligence platform that recently raised a Seed Round of $1.1M, including investments from Hyde Park Angels, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Amicus Capital, Arba, Tao Huang (Former COO of Morningstar), Jeremie Bacon (CEO of Synap) and Kadir Rathnavelu (Amazon Executive). We spoke with HPA Deal Lead and RepIQ Board Member Eddie Leshin and CEO and Co-Founder Shawn Carpenter to learn more about the company and its opportunities for future growth.
Give an overview of RepIQ, what it does, and how you first conceived of it.
Shawn: RepIQ is a sales intelligence engine. Working at Google and then managing the sales team at YCharts, one of the things that I saw very clearly is data is super powerful in helping salespeople be effective. But it’s something that’s not leveraged as much as it is in other industries. People are trying to make investments in data, but they are still mostly doing ad hoc queries on Google and LinkedIn, and they’re also using up to 15 different systems. A lot of this sales data is not being captured in a way that is useful in helping the sales teams’ focus.
Everybody that we talk to has the same challenge. “How do I find my ideal customer to sell to?” And then, “How do I find the people by role that I should contact?” We’re solving both of those problems, and we can do things with the data where you can run some of these queries in a matter of minutes and get hyper-focused on a market. Then you can get all the information that you need in terms of people in a matter of minutes. It might take you weeks to months to compile this data on your own. The data asset we’re building is extremely valuable and much more efficient.
You mentioned sales professionals could be using up to 17 different tools. Can you walk me through what they are doing now versus what the process would look like on RepIQ?
Shawn: YCharts is good example to go through, and it’s really how I got the idea that we should build RepIQ. At YCharts we use DiscoveryOrg on the front end to buy leads of financial advisors. We then take those leads, put them into Excel and filter out which ones we want to work on. Then, we upload those into Inside Sales to do dialing into those leads. Any leads that we start to get some traction with, we enter all of that data into Base, which is our CRM. Then from there, we’re tracking how many calls we make, demos set, and deals closed in Google Sheets. There’s also Marketo and Hubspot in the background doing some inbound marketing. It’s still hard for us at YCharts to understand who our ideal customer profile is and which methods of outreach are working really well. It’s also hard to understand what’s the sweet spot in terms of size of firm, assets under management, and more.
With RepIQ, finding the ideal customer profile is very straightforward and simple. Finding the contact information to then do the outreach is also straightforward and simple. Then, all our tracking on the email side is automatically allowing outreach, and our system sees the firmographic data – the size of the firm, the geo, what’s being sent out. All that is happening automatically. Our system is that live front end that’s helping them generate all this activity and focus their efforts without any input on their end.
Eddie: A lot of time and energy is wasted on data and information, not only on just the type of company that you’re searching for but the other types of companies that compete with it. Then, really trying to keep that information organized and analyze your day-to-day efficiently is a real challenge. RepIQ is approaching the idea of how to bring all this information together in the best way.
When you think of a recommendation engine, you think about Amazon. How is RepIQ applying an Amazon ethos in this industry?
Shawn: My cofounder, John, was at Amazon and has eight patents on the recommendation engines there. He was lead inventor on six of them. As soon as we started talking about this company, both on the data collection side with pattern matching and different types of matching to classified companies, we saw we could pair data we have on companies and people with outreach information and make recommendations based on where we saw success. We have the real-time dashboard that shows every interaction to the second. We also have a leader board that stack ranks where you have a lot of engagement.
Would RepIQ see itself as a data analytics company?
Shawn: We view the data and the analytics as the foundation of the company. Right now, we’re at over 1.2 million companies that we’re tracking and we’re running hundreds of crawlers. There’s tons of data collection efforts that we’re doing that add a lot of value for the salespeople and for the enterprise value of RepIQ.
You look at the marketplace, there’s Microsoft that acquired LinkedIn, but otherwise, there are very few firms that have the amount of data that we have on companies and people. Three to five years from now, the amount of data that’s going to be coming out through social media and through company websites is going to give us even more opportunities to give the right signals to salespeople to help them figure out who they should be targeting and when they should be reaching out.
I personally hate the amount of mass emailing that happens in a lot of sales organizations because I get so much of it. When you get salespeople that are being really strategic and smart about their outreach and they have a true value prop, that’s when things start to get interesting. Then it doesn’t feel like a sales process. It’s more of a partnership. That’s what we are working towards.
Shawn, shifting gears, why did you decide to pursue venture capital to build RepIQ?
Shawn: We started thinking about what type of company we wanted to build, and set out to build a large company. We wanted to get investors who understood that it takes some investment upfront to track the team and to build up a platform that is large enough and unique enough to be able to scale. With HPA, I’ve had a great experience with YCharts. I think the diversity of the membership is super powerful in allowing us to access different leaders within the community. As we go to market, we plan to leverage as much as we can to help with introductions and scale up the business.
Eddie, from your perspective as an investor, what makes RepIQ unique of interesting in the market?
Eddie: RepIQ is really simplifying the way that salespeople analyze and use data and content to help make them more efficient and better able to present data. In addition, the team is very unique. They have a tremendous amount of business experience. They have worked at some very innovative and successful companies prior to starting RepIQ. That tried-and-true experience is valuable because they understand how to pivot, how to hire, manage, control expenses, how to raise capital, and how to go to market. Both Sean and Jonathan [Suchland, RepIQ Co-Founder] are very experienced and very talented.
Shawn, how has working with Eddie helped grow your business?
Shawn: Eddie has been a great board member. He’s given us really good, smart advice in terms of go-to-market strategy. He understands we are looking to build a large sustainable company, and has the attitude of “let’s do it right.” “Let’s not take shortcuts to get to market as fast as we can. Let’s think through what’s the best thing for the business and for everyone involved including investors.” That’s something that we look for with all our investors.
Along those lines, how do you see RepIQ growing in the future?
Shawn: Data coverage is first. We’re talking about 1.2 million companies right now, and we have two million people in the system. Those numbers could grow in the next three to five years to where we have 50 million people and around 10 million to 15 million companies. There’s a lot of coverage outside of the US and coverage of people with different roles that we’ll be building out. That’s going to be a never-ending process. Then the data that we’re collecting on those companies and people will also be expanding so that we’ll have more data points per company and person.
We will also partner with companies like Salesforce to do lead enrichment. I think that’s only going to become a bigger and bigger market. As more and more people are using online tools and signing up for various services, lead enrichment becomes extremely powerful. Once I know your email address, I know what company you work at, who you are, and a lot more, so I can help you validate leads.
Finally, we’ll be making really smart recommendations. I can envision a world where three to five years from now, you’d give me your thousand customers, and I can tell you the next thousand you should probably target based on everything I know. The same thing will start to happen with people. I can look at your network and find additional people that would be valuable for you to know. I think there’s almost endless possibilities to leverage data, recommendations, and AI to make the process simpler and easier for both sides.
Eddie: The user activity will really impact RepIQ’s ability to make better and better recommendations about resources and contacts within companies. With this data they can give you access to information that’s not only real-time and qualified, but also accurate and effective. The more users that come onboard, the more effective the tool becomes. I think that they’ll be growing virally within companies because once one person uses it, they’ll see the value of all the information that they are able to gather, plus the analytics and the tools and the word will spread. Other salespeople will want to learn more about the tools, and in the end want to use it as well. I really think this will be socially growth-oriented within companies.