Why we raised our $18M Series A
I am thrilled to share that we have closed a Series A of $18 million led by Felicis with participation from BGV, Alven, HarbourVest, Techstars and notable GTM and PLG experts like Elena Verna, former CMO at Miro, Darius Contractor, CPO at Vendr, or Sahil Mansuri, CEO of Bravado. I am so humbled and grateful for the support we got from our customers, our advisors, our board, and the community. My co-founder Francis will share more on this in a separate post.
The timing for this raise is important: the problem we solve at MadKudu has never been bigger.
EVERYONE IS TALKING PLG
BUT IT'S HARD TO GET RIGHT
The current economic conditions are forcing the executives of every company to rethink their customer acquisition and demand models. Years after years, GTM leaders have adapted to each new wave of change: digital marketing, inbound, ABM, etc. Yet, I believe the change we’re experiencing now will make those prior waves seem small.
In a world where cash matters, product-led growth (PLG) and product-led sales (PLS) have become major topics in every boardroom. It’s little debated that product-led growth is the future. GTM veterans like Mark Roberge compare this magnitude of this change to the disruption from on-premise to cloud in talks like this one at SaaStr.
But most companies struggle to build a successful product-led motion. And it is more than just product-led growth. We work closely with hundreds of companies and we’re seeing an overwhelming trend: the emergence of the hybrid funnel. Companies who started with a sales-led motion want to add a product-led funnel. Companies that had a great self-serve motion are now looking to add or grow a sales funnel.
In a time where efficient growth is the name of the game, boards and CEOs are pushing aggressively their organization to operate multiple motions at once, instead of fine tuning a single motion.
WHAT WE GET WRONG ABOUT EFFICIENT GROWTH
This amplifies a major problem: marketing teams spend millions of dollars and thousands of hours building the funnels, e.g. product signups, inbound or ABM. But we put very little attention on how we send that funnel to the sales team. Reps are either bling or overwhelmed with data. Sales does not work leads and accounts the way it could be. This costs millions in potential revenue. Marketing and sales fight each other instead of creating a great customer experience and an efficient growth engine.
I started MadKudu with my co-founder Francis Brero to fight obscurantism in go-to-market organizations and help companies grow more efficiently, starting with lead scoring. We talked to hundreds of CMOs, CROs, VP Growth, VP Marketing, VP Sales and would hear similar stories: PQLs were not converting, MQLs were not being worked the way they should by SDRs, or AEs didn’t have enough insight about their accounts.
We wanted to make it easy to use data to align sales, marketing, CS and product. This, in turn, results in efficient PLS, inbound and ABM motions.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE BEST
We had tremendous successes and a good deal of failures working on this mission. We worked with exceptional teams and below are a few things we’ve learned. It drives what we’re building today.
- Salesforce is not the single source of truth anymore: Salesforce was not built for today’s data-rich world (product usage data, intent data, etc). Modern GTM teams have customer data in multiple systems, which frequently include a data warehouse like Snowflake. We’re building MadKudu to make it easy to work with a “decentralized cloud of customer datasets” instead of requiring all data to be stored in a utopian clean and centralized place.
- GTM teams need their independence from engineering: it sounds like a great idea to have engineers work for the GTM team. It never works in the long term. When the fun of building something new is over, talented engineers go back to building the product and the go-to-market team is left with something impossible to maintain. We’re building MadKudu as a no-code solution so non-technical people can do their work with full autonomy.
- Nobody wants a blackbox: if you have more than 1,000 new users or leads per month, using predictive models is a must. There is too much to lose by not using statistics and machine learning. However, using predictive modeling without explainability will cripple adoption by sales no matter how good the predictions are. We’re building MadKudu around a "glassbox" philosophy focused on transparency to allow users to see how the model works, what assumptions it is making, and what data comes into it. It gives users control and the ability to iterate on the models as needed, thus increasing long-term adoption.
- Hybrid funnels are the future: truly successful teams operate their PLS. Inbound, ABM, and channel funnels together. Those funnels reinforce each other. We’re building a solution that makes this easier, not harder.
HOW AND WHY WE RAISED
We’ve seen some amazing demand in the market and have grown very fast, building one of the largest PLG dataset in the world. Today MadKudu analyzes in real-time the behavior of over 150 million users and leads.This is a 5x volume increase in less than a year. But more importantly, I have been very proud to see MadKudu help the teams at customers like Miro, Dropbox, Cloudera, Amplitude, Plaid, Unity, and Mapbox build a more efficient motion.
The support of our customers is actually what led to this round. Despite the state of the venture capital market, we got lots of inbound interest from investors. They would hear about MadKudu at board meetings. And this is also how I met with our lead investor. Niki Pezeshki, General Partner at Felicis, had two separate board meetings in a span of a week where the CRO/CMO said that they had just implemented MadKudu and that it was making a really, really positive change for their go-to-market strategy, especially around PLG.
We’ve decided to take this capital to accelerate our investment in the platform and build the best experience in the world for our customers.
TIME TO TURN ON EFFICIENT GROWTH!
None of this would be possible without the commitment and initial investment of our amazing customers, Kudus and advisors. It was on their belief and persistence we’ve built this initial foundation. I am more pumped than ever working on the problem of efficient growth with our team and customers.
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