Seven years after social-media monitoring firm Radian6 put Fredericton on the technology map by selling out to Salesforce.com for US$326-million, the pretty provincial capital has another hometown contender hoping for a repeat success in the enterprise software business.
Introhive Inc., founded in 2012 by ex-BlackBerry executives Jody Glidden and Stewart Walchli, has raised US$15.2-million in new financing led by Toronto’s Lake Bridge Capital and aims to tap venture-capital backers for up to US$50-million more by next spring.
The fast-growing 105-person firm is on track to generate about $10-million in annualized revenue by year’s end from about 50 clients including consultants Ernst and Young, Grant Thornton LLP and Alvarez & Marsal Holdings LLC; law firms Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and McCarthy Tétrault LLP; and National Bank of Canada, with more than 100,000 individual users. But its key relationship is with consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an early user of Introhive software in its Canadian operation that is now deploying the tool globally and referring customers to the New Brunswick firm.
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“We’re getting leads all over the world thanks to PwC,” said Mr. Walchli, head of business development.
Introhive sells a “relationship intelligence” tool that increases the effectiveness of customer relationship management (CRM) software sold by the likes of Salesforce.com (an early Introhive investor). The problem, said PwC partner and global front office transformation leader Philip Grosch, is that most professionals don’t keep on top of constantly evolving contact information, meaning their data is often out of date.
Introhive’s software addresses that problem by constantly monitoring users’ e-mail, calendar, social-media accounts and phones for updated contact information that can be periodically added to their CRM tools en masse with two clicks, saving hours in the process.
“I refer to it as automat[ing] the mundane,” Mr. Grosch said. “It sounds trite, but it’s actually a big deal … We know Introhive is enhancing adoption [of CRM tools by making] the platform work for PwC professionals, not make PwC professionals work for the platform.” The tool also enables firms to determine which of their employees have the strongest connections into organizations they are targeting for business relationships based on their digital interactions it monitors.
Mr. Walchli and Mr. Glidden sold enterprise application developer Chalk Media Corp. to BlackBerry in 2009, then conceived the idea for Introhive due to their own frustrations trying to keep up with third-party relationships once they joined the smartphone pioneer. “Everybody has this problem with their CRM,” said Mr. Walchli, who is based in the Washington area (the company is officially domiciled in Delaware but its operations and intellectual property are in Fredericton). He said Introhive has had little trouble winning new business globally and expects to be selling into 20 countries by the end of the year, up from eight now. “We’re pushing on open doors because people are so heavily invested in CRM,” he said.
Joe Cashion, managing partner with Lake Bridge, said “Jody and Stewart have proven that they know how to build a software company … we liked that they had a clear strategy to build relationships with massive clients” starting with their Canadian operations and expanding from there. “It’s a very clear value proposition for organizations globally.”
As part of the financing, Lake Bridge bought out early Introhive backer GrowthWorks Capital, although most of its investment is new equity issued by the startup. Espresso Capital is also providing a loan amounting to less than 20 per cent of the total.