ON THE LONG RUN

We are very proud to continue backing Dolead in its new $15 million financing round. This transaction will give Dolead the opportunity to accelerate its growth.

Photo by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

A lead refers to a contact with potential customers, be it B2B or B2C. Every company needs leads !

Dolead generates leads “at scale” for sales and marketing departments. It does that by managing paid marketing campaigns and providing them with the best search-engine keywords. Until now, this job had to be done manually (say finding the keywords used by people who wish to buy a new set of windows for their home). With Dolead, this intuitive task becomes data-driven and fully automated. The startup doubled its revenue between 2016 and 2017. It will double again in 2018. What an achievement for a company that was launched in 2007 and took the path of hyper growth in 2015 !

Finding the right market-fit and ambition

Dolead is a perfect example of how complex it can be for a team to find its market fit and ambition, and why tenacity is of the essence for investors and founders alike. The team had already pivoted a few times before the 2012 series A financing round:

  • in 2007, Arthur and Guillaume launched an independent search-engine that would transfer a portion of its revenues to NGOs.
  • 5 years on when we met them in 2012, they were working on a content platform optimized for SEO and lead generation.

Yesterday like today, few investors consider SEO content platform as an interesting theme — not me, at least (remember the old “content farms”?). But if you were working on a Machine Learning tech that could optimize paid campaigns (SEA) a multi BN$ market in all major countries, then you could definitely have my interest…

Our investment theory back then is that companies needed algorithms to bid against other search engine algorithms rather than buying keywords manually. It is true now more than ever. And what led us to invest in Dolead was the very basic premise that the product could bring value to any type of company, whatever the size, country and market sector: all companies needs qualified leads !

Endurance is mother of all virtues for founders and VCs alike

Our job is comparable to the one of an impressionist painter : small touches here and there contribute to the bigger picture. Across the years, we helped Arthur & Guillaume recruit engineers and techies, ignite relationships with corporate and investment bankers or more recently appoint an internationalization expert to the board to prepare for future challenges.

I like to think of this deal as a reward for tenacity and perseverance from all parties involved. Endurance is one of the great virtues of a modern VC, and our job must be considered on the long run to be successful.

Dolead was the first investment of the XAnge Digital 2 fund (predecessor of Xange Digital 3, launched earlier this year) in 2012, and we expect its growth rate to accelerate. Back a few years ago from our investment to exit, we worked with Neolane for 7 years, and we’ve been accompanying Believe Digital — a French unicorn candidate — for close to a decade now. I am very happy that our friends at Ring Capital come along with us in the Dolead adventure, as they share our vision of supporting startups on the long run.

And now, the World !

With its mature technology and market proven approach, Dolead is now ready for global expansion. A new challenge begins… How very exciting !

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