Former Eloqua founding executives, Steve Woods and Paul Teshima, have raised a US$5 million seed funding round for their new start-up, a social selling platform called Nudge, led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from existing personal investors, including Jill Rowley, and previous investors in Eloqua, Neal Dempsey and Brad Woloson.
The funding will help Teshima and Woods develop Nudge, which they’re billing as “the first sales platform that focuses on relationships”, as a sales platform designed to help B2B sales teams build stronger relationships with their customers and provide visibility into who has access to decision makers and key accounts.
“The modern buyer has created a need for a transformative shift in marketing,” said Steve Woods, co-founder and CTO of Nudge and bestselling author of Digital Body Language. “We see that same buyer now driving a need for a modern sales approach that focuses on trust over content.”
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Nudge’s Professional Edition is a free application that allows users to integrate their email, calendar and social media accounts to create a unified view of their network, allowing users to track the strength of relationships as they interact across channels.
Providing a metric for relationship strength lets users know the optimal time to re-engage key contacts and which of their contacts are high-value, as well as offering timely and contextual updates on prospects, customers and influencers that can help grow their business.
Eloqua was founded in 1999, and became a leader in marketing automation, before going public and then being acquired by Oracle in 2012 for $871 million.
Teshima and Woods were tempted back into forming a new company by the fact that current CRM solutions don’t provide insight into the relationship between sales professionals and their buyers, and are limited to buyer activities tracked by an organization.
Professional social networks such as LinkedIn don’t provide analytics into day-to-day interactions, and so provide little insight into differentiating strong connections from weak ones.
“Through the Nudge beta, we found that out of 8 million ‘connections’, only 1 in 10 were real relationships,” said Paul Teshima, Nudge co-founder and CEO. “That means that 90% of your professional network is filled with noise that you need to wade through to get to the people who matter.”
Working from the idea that people buy from people they trust and that those relationships are formed over a career, Nudge is being developed as a solution that helps sales professionals manage and leverage those relationships.
For OMERS Ventures, their investment was based largely on the co-founders’ 16-year track record building one of the most prominent marketing automation companies in the world.
“We saw two experienced founders tackling a challenge that every business faces,” said Jim Orlando, Managing Director at OMERS Ventures. “Understanding how to leverage your team’s professional networks to grow your business presents an enormous opportunity for B2B organizations. We knew that when they solve this at scale for enterprises, the value created for customers will be tremendous.”
Founded in 2014 as “the world’s first Modern Sales Platform”, Nudge has attracted investors based on the relationships and trust developed while building a track record with Eloqua.
“Having been a sales leader who worked with the world’s most successful businesses, and now an evangelist of social selling, I believe Nudge is the only solution that proactively leverages relationship strength to bring the salesperson closer to their buyers”, added Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist and top social sales influencer. “That is why I invested in Nudge.”