According to a recent Salesforce survey, nearly half of all salespeople believe that AI is critical in guided selling capabilities. AI-driven sales engagement is a hot space and Outreach is one of the first unicorns from this field.
Seattle-based Outreach was founded in 2013 by Manny Medina, Andrew Kinzer, Gordon Hempton, and Wes Hather. They had earlier founded GroupTalent, which provided software recruiting tools for businesses.
Outreach’s suite of tools tap AI and machine learning to increase the volume of sales meetings, automate and streamline communication with sales prospects, and create a more efficient workflow for salespeople. It offers one system to track all touch points, from phone calls to emails to LinkedIn messages. It delivers analytics and engagement prospects to sales reps through platforms from Microsoft (for example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and Outlook) and Salesforce, Gmail, and soon through SAP. 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.
Currently, the company has over 3,300 customer accounts with 50,000 users, including recognizable names like Adobe, Cloudera, Microsoft, Eventbrite, Showpad, Glassdoor, Zenefits, Okta, Zendesk, and DocuSign.
Outreach employs 315 people and says it’ll reach 450 by the end of 2019.
In August 2018, Outreach made its first acquisition in its history. It acquired Sales Hacker, a media company focused on sales professionals that runs conferences and produces podcasts, webinars and other original content. Sales Hacker has 150,000 unique blog visitors each month, runs several large sales conferences per year, and facilitates meetups in more than 30 cities every year.
Sales Hacker Founder and CEO Max Altschuler will step into the role of vice president of marketing for Outreach. Sales Hacker will continue to be run independently and its all-remote staff of eight will remain on board following the acquisition.
Outreach follows a subscription business model but doesn’t disclose the details of its financials but says that it has doubled its revenue every year for the past four years. The company expects to reach an annualized sales rate of $100 million within the next year.
Outreach has raised $234 million in funding from investors
Lone Pine Capital, Trinity Ventures, Four Rivers Group, DFJ Growth, Sapphire Ventures, Meritech Capital Partners, Spark Capital, Lemonade Capital, and Mayfield Fund. Its latest funding was in April this year when it raised $114 million in a Series E round that valued it at $1.1 billion.
Outreach will use the funds from the latest round to integrate with all communication channels, bolster engineering efforts, and expand internationally. The company will also try to boost the number of partnerships to grow its customer base.
Several AI-driven sales engagement startups have attracted funding. Sales engagement platform SalesLoft raised $70 million, predictive sales tool People.ai raised $60 million this year, automated conversations firm Conversica raised $31 million in October this year, and conversation intelligence platform developer Chorus.ai secured $33 million in December last year.
Outreach faces much competition even among unicorns. InsideSales, which is also a unicorn, has recently started focusing on AI-driven sales performance management products.