Over the last few years, B2B marketing has experienced a significant shift due to a move from lead generation to revenue marketing, and has seen the emergence of multiple go-to-market models such as inbound marketing, account-based marketing, and product-led growth.
To help customers make better campaign decisions and to improve their return on marketing investments, Srikrishna Swaminathan, Praveen Das, and Aravind Murthy founded Factors.AI in March 2020. The SaaS startup is a self-serve, AI-powered, verticalised analytics product focussed on B2B marketing.
The Bengaluru and US-based startup stitches the customer journey across ad platforms, website, MAP (marketing automation platform), and CRM (customer relationship management) at a contact and account level.
Speaking about starting up, the co-founders tell YourStory, “We noticed that market leaders such as Freshworks, Palo Alto Networks, Coupa, and MongoDB were investing substantial engineering resources internally to stitch the customer journey, derive actionable insights, and drive agile campaign execution. These investments result in faster time to market, personalised customer experiences, and capturing a majority share of the market. The upfront cost of such internal solutions would be anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million for a medium-sized company, with ongoing maintenance.”
Explaining the workings, Srikrishna says:
“We have built a proprietary AI engine, which mines the customer data and recommends actions for the marketing team to drive higher conversions, faster, and at higher ACV (annual contract value).”
In addition, the startup has a self-serve analytics interface along with pre-defined checklists, which gives instant insights for all – removing dependencies on data experts.
“Our clients are able to connect marketing investments to revenue, optimise their marketing mix, and have real-time visibility into the go-to-market funnel across marketing, sales, and customer success,” Srikrishna adds.
The team and the USP
Srikrishna and Praveen were part of the leadership team at InMobi and worked together for seven years. Aravind is an ex-Google engineer and was previously at Freshworks, after the latter acquired Chatimity, an AI-based social chat platform in 2016. Srikrishna and Aravind were classmates at RV College of Engineering, Bangalore. Factors.AI has a team of 25 members at present.
According to Srikrishna, the startup’s USP is its proprietary AI engine that is custom-built for B2B marketing use cases. The AI engine can automatically analyse customer journeys at the user and account level, identifying anomalies and root causes for any outcome or KPI.
“This is a very unique approach, not available in other B2B marketing analytics solutions. Our nearest competitors include Bizible (Adobe), FullCircle Insights, and Thoughtspot in the BI (business intelligence) space,” he says.
The business and plans ahead
Based on estimates from investor presentations of public market firm Hubspot, global enterprise analytics marketing is worth $30 billion, of which marketing analytics is $10 billion, says Srikrishna.
The startup caters to the marketing operations and analytics community via SMAC, an invite-only Slack group having over 300+ marketing practitioners and leaders from companies like Freshworks, Chargebee, Hey Digital, etc. Members get access to resources and a forum to connect, engage, and grow through peer learning.
Factors.AI recently raised $2 million from Elevation Capital and Emergent Ventures, apart from angels like the founders of InMobi, Girish Mathrubootham of Freshworks, Krish Subramanian and Rajaraman Santhanam of Chargebee, and Ramakant Sharma of Livspace.
“We charge customers on usage-based pricing based on the number of monthly tracked users on the website and the number of CRM contacts. Our current customers have an average contract values of $10,000-$24,000, and as we expand our GTM and product capabilities, we will be moving to higher contract values,” Srikrishna says.
The private beta version of the startup went live in April 2021, and it is currently working with 12 paying design partners and has a strong pipeline. Early design partners include Chargebee, Plivo, Hiver, Slintel, DesignCafe, YourStory, Livspace, AdPushup, and Verloop.
“The buyer persona for our product is the CMO and the user persona is the Marketing Operations team in B2B/SaaS companies. Our target is to onboard 50 customers by the end of the year and hit $1 million in recurring revenue,” Srikrishna adds.