Most small businesses, which form the backbone of an economy, today don’t have the resources to handle their IT needs. Take restaurants, for an example. They have likely outsourced this job to contract IT professionals to reduce expenses.
Every time they need to buy a point-of-sale machine, a printer, new computers, or assign business emails to employees, they reach out to a trusted IT advisor, who then works with vendor partners to secure products and services that the business needs.
“SMBs are often so focused on helping customers that they end up strapped for time to select the right technology that suits their business needs. Increasingly, more and more IT channel partners are assuming the role of trusted advisors to these SMBs for their technology needs,” said Shruti Ghatge, co-founder and chief executive of Zomentum.
These IT advisors play an immensely crucial role in helping companies with their sale. For even giants like Microsoft, it’s the reseller partners who drive much of their sales. But these professionals are still using legacy tools.
Ghatge, who earlier worked as an investor at Accel, spotted an opportunity in this space and is tackling it with her new startup Zomentum. The U.S.-headquartered startup’s platform allows IT partners to bring their entire sales process together, a phenomenon she said is helping them increase their revenue and close more sales in less time.
On Tuesday, three-year-old Zomentum, which aims to build a strong IT partner network that can serve as an effective sales channel to promote the hyperlocal IT market, said it has raised $13 million in its Series A round from Elevation Capital and Accel (existing investors), and Greenoaks Capital. The new round, which brings Zomentum’s to-date raise to $17.1 million, also saw participation from Eight Roads Ventures.
Citing internal research, Zomentum said average IT partners on its platform are able to create documents 70% faster, close twice as many deals with a 600% increase in deal value, and are seeing 2X increase in conversion.
“We see an opportunity to leverage the power of AI and data science to enable business insights for these channel partners. We want our partners and their clients to leverage AI-enabled Business Intelligence to help gain actionable insights and take smart decisions, something that until now, was available only to enterprises,” said Rahil Shah, co-founder and chief technology officer of Zomentum, in a statement.
More than 80% of Zomentum customers today are in the U.S., and Ghatge said the startup will deploy the fresh capital to expand its presence in the market and broaden its product offerings with features such as vCIO, QBR, assessments.
Lucile Cornet has been appointed Partner with Eight Roads Ventures Europe, a firm focusing on startups in Europe and Israel. Cornet is its first female Partner. Eight Roads is backed by Fidelity and has over $6 billion assets under management globally.
Cornet will be focusing on the software and fintech sectors and previously led a number of investments for the firm, having risen from Associate to Partner within five years. It’s an out of the ordinary career trajectory when VC is notorious for having a ‘no succession’ culture, unless partners effectively buy into funds.
Cornet commented: “I am hugely optimistic about what is to come for European technology entrepreneurs. We are seeing more and more amazing founders and innovative businesses across the whole European region with ambitions and abilities to become global champions, and I look forward to helping them scale up.”
Speaking with TechCrunch, Cornet added: “I feel so, so fortunate because I think we’ve been living during a once in a lifetime transformation in general in tech and also in Europe. To build some of those companies, and just be part of the ecosystem has been fantastic. I know how much more exciting things are going to be in the next couple of years.”
Cornet previously led investments into Spendesk, the Paris-based spend management platform; Thinksurance, the Frankfurt-based B2B insurtech; and Compte-Nickel, one of the first European neobanks which was successfully acquired by BNP Paribas in 2017. She also sits on the boards of VIU Eyewear, OTA Insight and Fuse Universal.
France-born Cornet’s previous career includes investment banking, Summit Partners, and she joined Eight Roads Ventures in 2015. She was a ‘rising star’ at the GP Bullhound Investor of the Year Awards 2020.
Commenting, Davor Hebel, managing partner at Eight Roads Ventures Europe, said: “We are delighted with Lucile’s success so far at Eight Roads. She has made a huge impact in Europe and globally since joining the firm. She has a tremendous work ethic and drive… identifying the best European companies and helping them scale into global winners. Her promotion also speaks to our desire to continue to develop our best investment talent and promote from within.”
Speaking to me in an interview Hebel added: “We always believed in a slightly different approach and we say when we hire people, even from the start, we want them to have judgment, and we want them to have that presence when they meet entrepreneurs. So it was always part of the model for us to say, we might not hire many people, but we really want them to have the potential to grow and stay with us and have the path and the potential to do so.”
In 2020, Eight Roads Ventures Europe invested in Cazoo, Otrium, Spendesk, Odaseva and most recently Tibber, completed eight follow-on investments and exited Rimilia. The firm also saw its portfolio company AppsFlyer reach a $2 billion valuation.