By 2020, more than 40% of the American workforce, or 60 million people are expected to be independent freelancers. While dozens of tech platforms exist to help companies find freelance talent, Torchlite is the first platform that helps them manage, collaborate with, and evaluate that talent in the niche area of digital marketing.
Torchlite is a SaaS marketplace that connects businesses to digital marketing experts who develop, manage, and execute campaigns through a collaboration platform. Torchlite was founded in 2015 by CEO Susan Marshall, CMO Shawn Herring, and CTO Dustic McCormick. Susan has over 20 years’ experience in product management and marketing at successful tech companies in the world like Apple, Adobe, and Salesforce. Shawn had previously built and managed the global demand generation team at ExactTarget, which was one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the world before being acquired by Salesforce.com.
Susan recognized that while there are many marketers, the race to create tech with the newest bells and whistles has resulted in a shortage of employees who possess skill sets specialized enough to actually utilize the latest advances in their field. Using her relationships with developers, she wanted to create a platform to connect companies with specialized marketing freelancers, or essentially a CRM for freelancers in the marketing domain.
The digital marketing landscape is unbelievably competitive. There are thousands of agencies trying to help companies with their ongoing digital marketing and more than 3600 marketing tech providers that solve point problems for businesses of all sizes. Torchlite claims to be the only company that enables businesses to assemble a team of highly trained digital marketers, provide a project manager to coordinate campaigns, and give access to a proprietary online dashboard where business owners have complete visibility to track their marketing goals.
Torchlite’s top segment is mid-sized business owners who can’t afford to hire a team of on-site specialists and want to be found online. Target industries include digital marketing, healthcare, financial, manufacturing and any other industries in need of digital marketing experts. According to Forbes.com, the lower middle market has between $5M and $50M in revenue and has between 100 and 1,000 employees with at least one dedicated marketing manager.
Torchlite has three plans and pricing that matches marketing needs. Prices range from $1,999 per month to $5,999 per month. It also offers a custom pricing model. It also has a basic plan for small businesses that costs $500 per month.
Based on a bottom-up TAM analysis, the total available market is estimated to be $1.2 billion. It assumes its target mid-market has over 200,000 businesses, but it believes that it can address only about 25% of those customers, who are in the Midwest. That represents about 50,000 customers, and represents $1.2B in ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) at $2,000/month (12-month contracts).
Torchlite initially soft-launched in its home market of Indianapolis and after its success launched nationally in late March 2016. It hit $1 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) in six months and hopes to double it by the end of 2016. It has 30 customers to date.
Torchlite uses an account-based marketing and selling model to reach and convert B2B customers. Its direct selling model includes sales units that carry a $2M ARR quota. Once a target account is identified, it uses social selling and inbound marketing tactics to get an introduction meeting, which is the first step in its sales process. From there, it goes into Discover, Playbook Development, and Proposal phases.
It has aggressive web traffic, lead, and conversion goals, which are tracked through Salesforce. Its web traffic is over 4,000 and it expects to reach 10,000 by the end of the year and generate about 400 leads/account targets through inbound and outbound activities.
Torchlite has raised about $850,000 through 10 investors in 2015 and has been hiring aggressively. Susan says they like smart saavy angels who understand the space and can provide leads and advice. It is also talking to potential channel partners that will resell it into specific niches.
Regarding exit, Susan says she can see Torchlite getting acquired by a marketing tech company that wants to get more market share in the small/mid market or enhance their product portfolio with marketing management and collaboration solutions.
This segment is a part in the series : 1Mby1M Deal Radar 2016