Day: March 10, 2021

Chatbot startup Heyday raises $5.1M

Montreal-based Heyday announced today that it has raised $6.5 million Canadian ($5.1 million in US dollars) in additional seed funding.

Co-founder and CEO Steve Desjarlais told me that the startup’s goal is to allow retailers to support more automation and more personalization in their online customer interactions, while co-founder and CMO Etienne Merineau described it as an “all-in-one unified customer messaging platform.”

So whether a customer is sending a message from Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Google’s Business Messages or just via email, Heyday brings all that communication together in one dashboard. It then uses artificial intelligence to determine whether it’s a customer service or sales-related interaction, and it automates basic responses when possible.

Heyday chatbots can provide order updates or even recommend products (it integrates with Salesforce, Shopify, Magento, Lightspeed and PrestaShop), then route the conversation to a human team member when necessary.

There are other platforms that combine customer service and sales, but at the same time, Merineau said it’s important to treat the two categories as distinct and trust that a good service experience will lead to sales in the feature.

Heyday screenshot

Image Credits: Heyday

“We believe that helping is the new selling,” he said.

Desjarlais added, “We’re really against the ticket ID system. A customer is not a ticket …
I truly believe that every single customer is a relationship with a brand that needs to be nurtured over time and that will give more value to the brand over time.”

Heyday was founded in 2017 and (Read more...)

7 Creative Sales Prospecting Ideas To Spice Up Your Outreach

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase, Inc. 

Are you and your sales team able to easily generate all the pipeline you need to achieve your ever-increasing revenue targets?

Prospecting seems to be getting harder for most sales professionals. The ability to break through the noise, get the attention of decision-makers, set meetings and create qualified opportunities isn’t easy. 

Find prospects that match your ICP with Crunchbase Pro – try it free

It’s been 10 years since Aaron Ross wrote Predictable Revenue. In those 10 years, we’ve seen the emergence of the pure-play prospecting function with sales development reps and business development reps.

Unfortunately, most of the specific approaches described in Predictable Prospecting stopped working predictably years ago.

Now there are more channels than ever, and with technology that makes it easy to scale undifferentiated messaging, our prospects have gotten better at putting up walls and ignoring our outreach attempts.

All is not lost, though. There are committed professionals out there who have found ways to consistently set themselves apart and overcome these challenges. They’ve gotten creative, hyper-relevant, and even injected a bit of fun, to open the very doors that have appeared closed and locked (Read more...)

Gold Exploration in Québec: Cartier Resources and the Benoist Project

The following content is sponsored by Cartier Resources

Gold Exploration in QuebecCartier Resources

Gold Exploration in Québec, and the Benoist Project

Gold exploration in Québec has a long and rich history. This legacy creates opportunities for the next generation of companies that have a strategy and the technology to uncover the next deposits of gold.

Today’s infographic highlights the work of Cartier Resources and its Benoist Project, located in the heart of the gold-mining region of Quebec, the Abitibi Greenstone Belt. Let’s dive in and see how the company is building on history to make new discoveries.

Building on History: Exploration at The Benoist Project

The Benoist Project has a history of work dating back to 1935. Prospectors first discovered mineralized boulders on the shores of Pusticamica Lake. Since then ~36,000 meters of exploration drilling revealed a gold deposit on the property.

In 2020, Cartier resources delivered a maiden resource on the property which revealed 234,000 ounces of gold (Measured and Indicated), with the help of modern exploration techniques.

Cartier Resources is drilling its 100%-owned Benoist Project to expand the resource at the Pusticamica deposit and discover new areas of gold mineralization adjacent to a known gold resource.

Data, Knowledge, and Technology in Action

Cartier Resources is deploying the latest in mineral exploration innovation, OreVision-IP. This technology reveals the next group of Pusticamica deposit-type targets.

Previous geophysical surveys using standard IP technology failed to detect the deposits at depth. However, OreVision-IP revealed more gold and exploration targets between 150 meters and 450 meters.

OreVision-IP generated (Read more...)

Sales & Startups: Jessica Cunningham’s Path to Bloomberg

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase, Inc. 

The Crunchbase “Female Founder Series,” is a series of stories, Q&As, and thought-leadership pieces from glass-ceiling-smashers who overcame the odds and are now leading successful companies.

Photo Credit: Lisa Berg Photography

Jessica Cunningham, Director of Business Development at Bloomberg Second Measure, is building out the leading provider of data analytics.

After spending over a decade as a sales leader at startups and large corporations, Jessica joined Second Measure. Recently acquired by Bloomberg, Second Measure analyzes billions of credit card transactions to provide valuable insights into company performance and consumer behavior.

We asked Jessica about the lessons she’s learned throughout her journey and the advice she has for others looking to join the startup world.

Q: What, in the earlier parts of your career, best prepared you for this particular role? 

A: Way before I was in sales, I embarked on a career in acting. Let’s just say I got very accustomed to rejection and not taking it personally. I think this is an essential trait to be successful in sales and particularly at a startup.

Q: What was the best piece of advice you (Read more...)

ESG Investing: Finding Your Motivation

This post is by Marcus Lu from Visual Capitalist

ESG investing and common motivations

ESG Investing: Finding Your Motivation

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are a set of criteria that can be used to rate companies alongside traditional financial metrics.

Awareness around this practice has risen substantially in recent years, but how can investors determine if it’s a good fit for their portfolio?

To answer this question, MSCI has identified three common motivations for using ESG in one’s portfolio, which have been outlined in the graphic above.

The Three Motivators

According to this research, the three primary motivations for ESG investing are defined as ESG integration, incorporating personal values, and making a positive impact.

These goals are not mutually exclusive, though, and an investor may relate to more than just one.

#1: ESG Integration

This motivation refers to investors who believe that using ESG can improve their portfolio’s long-term results. One way this can be achieved is by investing in companies that have the strongest environmental, social, and governance practices within their industry.

These companies are referred to as “ESG leaders”, while companies at the opposite end of the scale are known as “ESG laggards”. From a social perspective, an ESG leader could be a firm that promotes diversity and inclusion, while an ESG laggard could be a company with a history of labor strikes.

To show how ESG integration may lead to better long-term results, we’ve compared the performance of the MSCI ACWI ESG Leaders Index with its standard counterpart, the MSCI ACWI Index, which represents the full opportunity set of (Read more...)

Welcome to Bloxburg, public investors

As Roblox began to trade today, the company’s shares shot above its reference price of $45 per share. Currently, Roblox is trading at $71.10 per share, up just over 60% from the reference price that it announced last night. That effort finally set a directional value of sorts on Roblox’s shares before it floated on the public markets. 

Roblox, a gaming company aimed at children and powered by an internal economy and third-party development activity, has had a tumultuous if exciting path to the public markets. The company initially intended to list in a traditional IPO, but after enthusiastic market conditions sent the value of some public-offering shares higher after they began to trade, Roblox hit pause.

The former startup then raised a Series H round of capital, a $520 million investment that boosted the value of Roblox from around $4 billion to $29.5 billion. TechCrunch jokes that, far from IPOs mispricing IPOs, that $4 billion price set in early 2020 was the real theft, given where the company was valued just a year later. Sure, the pandemic was good for Roblox, but seeing a 5x repricing in four quarters was hilarious.

Regardless. At $45 per share, Roblox’s direct listing reference price, the company was worth $29.1 billion, per Renaissance Capital, an IPO-focused group. Barron’s placed the number at $29.3 billion. No matter which is closer to the truth, they were both right next to the company’s final private price.

So, the (Read more...)

Talk Is Cheap, VCs Should Show Us Traction From Their Diversity Efforts

This article is part of the Crunchbase Community Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and a Crunchbase user. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on the Crunchbase blog.

Please note that the author is not employed by Crunchbase and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of Crunchbase, Inc. 

It’s 2021, and VC firms still have a glaring gender and racial diversity problem. Despite having access to technology, they aren’t utilizing it in a way to level the playing field. Global VC funding for female founders dramatically dropped this past year. 

Crunchbase data showed that more than 800 female-founded startups globally received a total of $4.9 billion in venture funding in 2020, through mid-December, which was a 27 percent decrease over the same period last year. The drop is extremely disturbing considering the efforts of VC firms and diversity groups, founded by VCs, that have been around for years that have not made much of an impact. 

The amount of funding received by Black and Latinx founders is even worse. One percent of VC-backed founders are Black, according to a study by RateMyInvestor and DiversityVC. As of Aug. 31, 2020, Crunchbase found that Black and Latinx founders raised $2.3 billion in funding, representing just 2.6 percent of the total $87.3 billion in funding that has gone to all founders. Moreover, it should be noted that the majority of female founders who received venture funding are white, (Read more...)

Read the Best 100 Books Over and Over Again

This post is by naval from Naval

Many claim to read, but very few understand

Naval: The Beginning of Infinity reminds me the most of Gödel, Escher, Bach in that it is very wide-ranging and stitches together ideas from many different disciplines. It’s very difficult to understand and follow completely. Everyone claims to have read it, but, as far as I can tell, very few people understand it.

I had this experience in college when I first found Hofstadter’s work. I remember that I put it on my bookshelf and I started reading it, and I started reading it, and I started reading it. About a year later, I was probably halfway through it. Then I just ran out of time. I had other things going on.

I remember that I would approach my other friends in college and would say, “This is a great book, you should read it.” And a week later they’d roll back and say, “Yeah, I read Gödel, Escher, Bach. It was great.” And I felt like the stupidest person in college.

It was only years later that I realized nobody had read it. When you get older, you get more confident in those confessionals, where you either say, “I didn’t read it” or “I read it at a constant pace and when I encountered something I didn’t understand, I kept going.”

I confess, to this day I have not read all of Gödel, Escher, Bach. But at least at this point, I’ve gone through and found the parts that were most (Read more...)

Stockton’s Basic Income Experiment

This post is by Fred Wilson from AVC

I have been interested in the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) since first hearing about it from my partner Albert years ago. I’ve mentioned it on and off here at AVC a bunch since then.

NYC will get its own UBI experiment if front-runner Andrew Yang is elected Mayor. Yang proposes to spend $1bn a year (out of an almost $90bn annual budget) providing $2k a month to 500k of NYC’s neediest citizens.

The theory of UBI is that giving people direct cash payments is more efficient and more effective than providing services to them via third parties. For example, if giving someone $2k a month keeps them in their apartment, the cost of operating homeless shelters and other housing for the homeless goes down. There are many more examples.

Skeptics of UBI point to the welfare system of the “Great Society” and other efforts to suggest that it won’t work and can’t work. They believe it will lead to idleness, drug use, gambling, and other societal ills.

So I read with interest of an experiment the city of Stockton CA did where they gave 125 randomly selected individuals making less than $46k a year a monthly stipend of $500.

The results are interesting. Researchers at the University of Tennessee and University of Pennsylvania concluded that this sample group saw many benefits including helping people get better jobs, better living situations, and better self worth. There was no evidence of increased drug use, gambling, joblessness, or any of the (Read more...)