I’m excited to announce that FirstMark has led a $12.5M Series A investment in Crossbeam, alongside Salesforce Ventures and Hubspot Ventures, with existing investors Uncork, First Round and Slack Fund participating.
At its core Crossbeam is a data escrow service. It allows companies that are partnered with each other (or looking to be) to combine their data sets (mostly customers and prospects) in a secure, trusted, compliant way, into a third party data warehouse (Crossbeam). They can then run analytics, without exposing the raw data behind the scenes, to identify opportunities to partner together.
While the opportunity around secure data sharing is both huge and multi-faceted, Crossbeam is starting with the world of partnerships for software companies.
This area is particularly ripe for innovation. Partnerships are essential force multipliers for SaaS companies to dominate their respective industries, but they are particularly difficult to put in place. Any partnership & alliance professional will be very familiar with the problem: when talking to a partner, you’re fishing around to get a sense for which ones of their customers or prospects you’d be interested in reaching out to, but the partner may not be willing to share that information, unless you reciprocate and give them a sense for which of your customers or prospects *they* might be interested in – a classic prisoner’s dilemma situation. Both you and the partner go through a slightly awkward dance, revealing a little bit but not too much, until you eventually get to a small number of names. Sales and marketing people may do the same exercise directly with their peers. All of those are generally done as one-offs, through emails and perhaps a spreadsheet. Ultimately the result is suboptimal for everyone involved.
While just about every enterprise function (sales, marketing, HR, finance, etc.) is inundated with SaaS vendors, partnerships & alliances has been underserved. For a company like Crossbeam to exist and thrive, the cloud ecosystem needed to reach maturity: cloud-based systems of records needed to be in place and widely adopted; APIs needed to be fully developed and ubiquitous; and the number of SaaS companies at scale needed to increase rapidly, the way it has over the last few years. All of this has happened, and the timing is now right.
As often in early-stage investing, a big part of our excitement also revolves around the team: CEO Bob Moore, his co-founder and CTO Buck Ryan and the rest of the Crossbeam team.
Bob, in particular, is a very special kind of founder, and I’m thrilled to get a chance to work alongside him. To get a sense for his incredible thoughtfulness and grit, check out this video, filmed at one of my Data Driven NYC events a few months ago, where Bob discusses his prior entrepreneurial experiences at RJ Metrics and Stitch Data – a really good watch, full of lessons and inspiration for anyone interested in entrepreneurship!
Crossbeam is live today and already used by dozens of companies. If you are a software company with an active partnerships & alliances program, or are in the process of building one, you can easily set up your data in Crossbeam, invite teammates, and connect with partners – for free. https://www.getcrossbeam.com/get-started/
And, of course, Crossbeam is recruiting, both at their Philadelphia HQ and remotely: https://getcrossbeam.com/careers/