There is a small but elite group of founders in the Uncork family who decided to not only take another ride on the new company rollercoaster but also graciously allowed us to back them for the second time. This list of intrepid souls includes Manish Chandra with Poshmark; Jessica Alter with FounderDating; Jack Abraham with ZenReach; Jonathan Abrams with Nuzzel; and — with our most recently announced investment — Bob Moore with Crossbeam.
Jeff backed Bob’s first startup RJMetrics back in 2010 and worked with Bob and co-founder Jake Stein through the highs of early growth and follow-on fundraises, the lows of the business becoming over-extended and needing to scale back, through selling to Magento in 2016, and spinning out Stitch which was subsequently acquired by Talend at the end of last year.
Having had a taste of success (but having also accumulated many hard-won lessons learned and lots of entrepreneurial scar tissue along the way), we were pretty sure that Bob would want another bite of the apple. We were obviously thrilled when he came in to give us an early look at a new idea he was working on.
Philadelphia-based Crossbeam, which officially launched earlier this month, is a SaaS product attacking the last part of the commercial stack to be touched by automation and software: partnerships. Sales, marketing, product, and customer success have been well-served by software for many years but business development and partnership organizations are still reliant on email, spreadsheets and — gasp — telephone calls to get stuff done.
Today, partnership teams have to dance around commercial confidentiality (nobody is going to provide another company with their customer list or unfettered access to their CRM) as they’re assessing opportunities, meaning that important strategic decisions are often made based on gut feel, personal relationships and incomplete (or zero!) data.
At its core, the Crossbeam platform acts as a data escrow service, allowing commercial teams to safely share obfuscated customer data with potential partners, providing information on overlapping customers and prospects while keeping the rest of their data private and secure.
What does this mean in the real world? Well, imagine qualifying your sales leads based on intelligence from your partners. Imagine choosing new partners based on real data about how they’ll grow your addressable market. Imagine eliminating channel conflict. Imagine pricing your M&A deals based on hard data. All these use cases and more are now possible thanks to Crossbeam.
The rise of the API economy has made it easier than ever for software services to connect and companies to work together. It has also brought along a new universe of data pipeline and warehousing tools that allow for the standardization and secure storage of data in a way that makes it possible for apples-to-apples comparisons between disparate companies and systems.
Crossbeam solves a very real problem I faced inside my startup and we believe that the timing is absolutely perfect for this company to create a new multi-billion dollar category. We’re beyond excited to work with Bob and co-founder Buck Ryan, alongside an all-star cast of co-investors including First Round Capital, Village Global, and the Slack Fund.
If your company works with partners and you’d like to learn how Crossbeam can make your life 10x easier (and your partner relationships 100x more productive) then feel free to drop me a note in the comments below or on Twitter.