#PowerToTheSalesperson CRV’s Investment in Ciro: Connecting Sales Teams to the Right Small Businesses at the Right Time
By Anna Khan and Veronica Orellana
If you ask any sales representative what is critical to their success, they’ll most likely reply with two things — 1) finding the best leads and 2) reaching out to them at the right time. To do this successfully, reps must rely on accurate and contextualized data, but when you sell to local companies, finding accurate data on those small and midsize businesses can be painfully hard. The small business economy is vital to the U.S. There are 32 million SMBs and they are credited with just under two-thirds of the net new jobs created since 2000 — but getting timely access to them and assisting them with their needs is still a largely offline process.
This rings even more true in a recessionary environment because spending gets cut to the essentials and priorities get stricter. Sales reps need to make their data as actionable as possible without having to use too many disparate tools in their tech stack. The more one tool can consolidate both the prospecting and the outbound, the more sticky it will be.
When CRV first met Ross Geiger, co-founder and CEO of Ciro, and his co-founders David Winer and Richard Lee, it was clear they acutely understood the pain of selling to local and small businesses:
- As the previous vice president of sales at YAPI, Ross led a high-velocity SMB sales team. His team would spend hours calling phone numbers on purchased datasets, only to find out that a lot of the data was out of use and no longer applicable.
- David started his career at Bain, and most recently spent two years as a product manager at Google working on their Google Play team where he had to ingest trillions of data points on consumer behavior into the product.
- Richard also started his career at Bain, and then went on to become the COO of BuildZoom, one of the largest construction marketplaces, where he led growth and revenue. As COO, Richard dealt with aggregating large disparate data sets, a challenge similar to what Ciro is tackling.
It was clear from seeing the team interact that they were longtime friends (the trio met over a decade ago when they attended Brown University together) with a shared goal to disrupt a broken and inefficient market segment. Today we’re excited to announce that CRV is leading Ross, David, Richard and the team’s $3.8 million seed round.
While in Y Combinator, Ciro launched an early version of their sales intelligence layer with strong customer adoption. The platform provides sales teams with up-to-date company information, which signals when a business might be interested in buying. Without Ciro, sales teams have to gather this disparate information themselves and then, manually use the information to target their leads. Sales teams can create workflows that can eliminate delays and bottlenecks because Ciro automates many of these manual time-consuming tasks. This frees salespeople up to focus instead on what they love doing most… selling and helping their customers alleviate inefficiencies.
Ciro’s strong customer feedback was a standout feature of the company, as was the founders’ bias toward execution. As one customer pointed out,
“Historically engaging with these small businesses has been terrible. Our sales team would spend ten minutes figuring out who the doctor is that they needed to speak with, and with Ciro this is much easier because the accuracy of the data is so high.”
Customers are also finding a lot of value in the triggers and workflows that Ciro offers,
“I need to know the most amount of information at the right time. The real true value is being able to enrich the data and get it into whatever platform I want.” — Ciro Customer
We’re thrilled Ciro is challenging the traditional $5B sales data market in the U.S., and can’t wait to watch them build out the primary intelligence layer for sales teams. Ciro is hiring — get in touch if you want to join an incredible team.
At CRV, we love working with early stage founders who know first hand the paint points their customers face, it’s a big part of the reason we decided to partner with the Ciro team. Earlier this month CRV announced that it secured $1.5B across two funds to lead rounds in ambitious early projects led by people we trust. If you’re heads down working on an early stage company that’s keen to alleviate enterprise customers’ pain points, get to know our team and reach out, it’s never too early to begin a discussion with our investment team.