RTP-based analytics startup Klearly plans to use its recently raised $4 million in funding to scale product capabilities and go-to-market efforts.
The startup, which provides analytics for B2B revenue teams, announced today that it closed on a $4M round led by New Hampshire-based York IE. The round also included multiple investors from the Triangle—Durham’s IDEA Fund Partners, Raleigh’s Front Porch Ventures and Scot Wingo’s Triangle Tweener Fund—as well as New York-based Studio VC.
“It’s validation that we’re doing something right,” Klearly’s CEO and Founder Alex Krawchick said. “People that vote with their money do so because they believe in something.”
[Editor’s Note: we first profiled Klearly in January, 2019, and the startup took home two Greppy Awards last April. Krawchick has also been a guest on both the Friday Nooner and our For Starters podcast.]
Krawchick said the money will go toward the launch of a self-service installation of the Klearly application into customer relationship manager (CRM) and marketing automation platforms (MAPs), dramatically reducing onboarding time for customers. The startup also will boost hiring in go-to-market and technical roles, likely doubling the team headcount this year from 11 to 20-plus.
Krawchick was initially inspired to start Klearly in 2017 after decades of working on B2B revenue teams. No matter the company he was at, they all faced the same problem—it was difficult to tell what they should actually focus on to win customer business and increase revenue. The data was all just too much for any human to process, he said.
“When the CEO would ask me, what should we invest more or less in, I’d say, ‘Well, do you want the real answer? Or do you want the BS answer?’” Krawchick said. “Because the BS answer was, ‘well, I see all these reports and dashboards.’ But the real answer was, ‘I don’t know because we don’t have an intelligent analytics engine to process all the information and really understand what’s influencing both positively and negatively.”
With Klearly’s technology, B2B revenue professionals are advised on which client companies to focus on, based on the data from sales, marketing and customer success arenas.
The road to getting the $4 million in funding, as well as the 10 customers Klearly now serves, included many other avenues for capital, but Krawchick said it was important to pick the right investors.
They wanted people who had been in their shoes before, Krawchick said, not just financial quants but people who really fit in the Klearly culture and ethos.
“We wanted people who can help us see around corners and see the landmines,” Krawchick said. “Any time you raise capital, it’s bittersweet because on the one hand, you own less of the company. On the other hand, it’s really validating and exciting because you get to work with new people who hopefully you’re really excited about getting in the trenches with, and really learning and working collaboratively shoulder-to-shoulder.”
As Klearly enters a growth phase and begins to implement partnerships, Krawchick said being aware of their own strengths and weaknesses was vital in choosing to accept capital.
“It really is not just about money,” Krawchick said. “Over the years, we turned away a lot of money. And for us, it was really about culture. It comes back to the people. That is the number one thing for us. For us, it really is about, is there a good kind of love at first sight? Is the chemistry there?”
IDEA Fund Partners’ Managing Partner Lister Delgado met Krawchick in 2017 when he was just in the early phases of developing the concept for Klearly. Delgado immediately liked the idea and vision, and when the product became a reality in 2019, it was easy for IDEA Fund to invest.
Klearly had all the elements Delgado likes to see in an early-stage startup: a visionary and hard-charging experienced team, a large opportunity driven by a deep pain in the market, and a unique product that is both well-built and differentiated from the competition, Delgado said.
“Revenue teams have the challenge of not always knowing what works and what does not work,” Delgado said. “There is a lot of ‘spaghetti being thrown to the wall to see what sticks.’ Changing market dynamics, like those we have been experiencing over the last couple of years, exacerbate this problem. Klearly helps bring order to the chaos by providing an analytics-driven approach to go-to-market efforts.”
With so many companies right now hoping to build a cushion of cash to reduce risk and continue growth, Klearly is in a prime position.
“Almost every company is currently experiencing a period of uncertainty,” Delgado said. “Klearly is one of the lucky companies to have just closed a round. This gives them the fuel they need to keep their momentum going.”
Gas to the engine
With this funding, for the first time Klearly will be able to turn on its own marketing engine and really start to secure outbound clients. Clients will also be able to connect to their data in minutes and have insights the next day, dramatically breaking the industry standard of around six to nine months.
Choosing to recruit heavily over the next few months, Krawchick is not too concerned about any economic headwinds that may come their way. This is because there still remains a need for the analytics Klearly supplies in any financial environment.
“When the economy’s going really well and revenue teams come to us, they want to know, what can I do more of?” Krawchick said. “On the flip side, when the economy is not doing well, it’s two sides of the same coin. They say, where can I pull back where it won’t affect revenue? And we can help them with that as well.”