The first step of any salesperson is to figure out who to pitch, but some of them are wasting time targeting the wrong prospective clients.
That's the premise behind Node, a startup that says its platform uses artificial intelligence to find sales leads. In "stealth mode" for the past 2.5 years, the company is now announcing a $10.8 million venture financing round led by Avalon Ventures, with participation from Mark Cuban, NEA and Canaan Partners.
Cuban told TechCrunch that he invested because "it is an incredible company that is changing the game for sales intelligence." He says that with Node, "selling is no longer hunting and gathering. They make it a knowledge approach."
Falon Fatemi, founder and CEO at San Francisco-based Node, says that her work experience at Google helped her understand how to build search algorithms that help businesses. She says that Node's platform is a "search engine without a search box." It's "people-based intelligence."
She summed up her business by saying that "the main problem that we’re solving is that we’re essentially facilitating the discovery of the right person at the right company at the right time and even suggesting the right message to reach out."
While Node is targeting salespeople right now, she hopes to eventually build platforms for other categories. In the future, Node will be "recommending the next hire, next job opportunity or even dating."
There have been a flurry of investments in sales startups, as investors believe there's a large market opportunity in sales efficiency. Salesforce Venture, Box Group and 500 Startups have been the most active in the category.
Node previously raised more than $5 million in seed funding.