SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Customer relationship management (CRM) systems and networking platforms like LinkedIn have been helping salespeople close deals for 20 years. But they still aren’t much help for dealmakers in fields like investment banking, private equity, venture capital, consulting and real estate where sales are more personal, collaborative and driven by long-term relationships. For them, finding a connection and understanding the strength of a relationship and the context around it means the difference between closing a deal and losing it. A new type of platform is needed: relationship intelligence.
Affinity meets that demand. The leader in relationship intelligence today announced an $80M Series C funding round led by Menlo Ventures with participation from Advance Venture Partners, Sprints Capital, Pear Ventures, Sway Ventures, MassMutual Ventures, Teamworthy and ECT Capital Partners / Brian N. Sheth.
By aggregating the ‘data exhaust’ produced by daily interactions and communications such as email interactions and calendar meetings and analyzing it with machine learning, Affinity delivers up-to-the-minute insights into professional relationships, revealing who in the organization has the best chance of opening doors and closing deals.
“Affinity brings the power of relationship intelligence into sharp focus, giving teams the data and context to close business,” said Tyler Sosin, partner at Menlo Ventures. “At Menlo, we started as a customer of Affinity only to quickly learn we could not live without it. As investors, it dawned on us that Affinity is tackling a universal problem faced by a wide swath of industries. That’s when we knew we had to chase these guys down and invest. It helped that we were tracking Affinity…in Affinity.”
Some studies have found that up to 70% of company profiles and contact information in traditional CRM systems are incomplete or out of date. Affinity automates this ‘data drudgery’ problem away by constantly updating contact records and tracking activity. It also enhances company profiles with information such as revenue, staff size and funding from a range of proprietary data sources, providing a complete picture of a prospective organization and increasing the chances of closing a deal.
Affinity scores the strength of relationships using ML models that assess factors such as communication frequency, recency, cadence and response time. Affinity has analyzed over 18 trillion emails and 213 million calendar events to build its relationship intelligence graph. Its platform currently powers over 500,000 new introductions and tracks 450,000 deals per month. In total, the Affinity platform has made 10 million warm introductions.
According to Gartner, the worldwide CRM software market grew 12.6% to $69B in 2020. These CRM systems are designed to accelerate transactional sales in sectors such as retail, hospitality and consumer goods.
“Traditional CRMs are little more than a digital Rolodex that require constant data entry to stay relevant,” said Ray Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Affinity. “Today, when we’re all connected, success in the relationship economy is not about who you know, it’s about how well you and your team know them. We can tell you that without the drudgery of manual data entry. That’s the currency for dealmaking success.”
Founded in 2014, Affinity has raised $120M to date. It has over 1,700 customers in 70 countries, including venture capital firms such as Bain Capital Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, private equity firms such as SoftBank Group, investment bankers such as Woodside Capital Partners, financial services firms such as Fidelity Investments, real estate companies such as Tishman Speyer, insurers such as American Family Insurance and enterprises such as Nike, Qualcomm and Twilio.
Affinity plans to use the new funding to expand its sales and marketing reach into sectors such as investment banking, private equity, real estate and professional services, including accounting, management consulting and law firms. It will also deepen its engineering team to develop several new products that deliver relationship insights where dealmakers spend their working days. Specifically, it will build engineering capability to deliver AI and machine learning-driven insights derived from the trillions of people, emails, connections and activities that Affinity continues to capture. A list of current vacancies can be found on Affinity’s website here.
Source: Gartner Research - Market Share: Customer Experience and Relationship Management, Worldwide, 2020