Sandeep Jain, Jeff Gibson
November 11, 2021
Today, Jeff and I are thrilled to announce a $3M investment led by Villi Iltchev and Frances Schwiep at Two Sigma Ventures and Andy McLoughlin at Uncork Capital.
Notable Angels such as Jack Altman (CEO Lattice), Abhinav Asthana (CEO Postman), John Kodumal (CTO LaunchDarkly), Jason Warner (Former CTO @GitHub) amongst others participated in the round as well to support our mission to eliminate go-to-market friction for SaaS vendors and unlocking hyper revenue growth across all sales channels.
Enterprises of all sizes and across all verticals face massive challenges to grow their revenue due to inadequacy of their CPQ (Configure-Price-Quote, a system used by sales to generate quotes) and Billing systems. The CEO of a $100M+ ARR SaaS enterprise put this well:
“Like many, we’ve struggled here with a bizarre cocktail of inadequate 3rd party tools and homegrown duct-tape … you just end up daisy chaining unreliable APIs together and hope that it all works”
Jeff and I faced similar challenges in our respective companies (Atlassian, Palo Alto Networks, Cisco). It takes several months to launch new offerings, it is massively complex to make pricing changes, combining sales-led and web-led sales motions is excruciatingly painful, and implementing usage billing continues to be a nightmare.
We talked to enterprises across different verticals and in fact, all SaaS vendors are facing the same challenges.
CPQ and Billing as two separate tools made perfect sense for the dinosaur era of “one-and-done” selling - where a sales rep sells the product and walks away. Today’s modern SaaS companies are about product-led growth and a land-and-expand sales motion which translates into amendments, renewals and upsell opportunities. Supporting these new sales motions requires a very tight integration between CPQ and Billing systems which is impossible today as these systems come with disparate product catalogs and non-existent or inflexible APIs.
The second major shift is in customer acquisition channels. In the bygone era, enterprise customers came primarily through the direct-sales channel. However, today’s enterprise customers arrive from many different channels - self-serve, direct sales, partners, marketplaces and even from your own product. To serve these new channels, enterprises are forced to either build their own solutions or cobble up multiple point solutions. Both approaches end up creating massive go-to-market friction as there is no longer a single system of truth for product catalog and moving customers across channels becomes extremely tedious.
Finally, SaaS brings pricing and packaging closer to the product and this is causing a rapid shift-left with engineering owning these systems. Traditional tools however cater to IT only and don’t incorporate the concept of strong APIs, testing frameworks or configuration-as-code, all of which are absolutely critical for engineering teams to maintain mission-critical systems of billing and sales.
Pure-play CPQ and pure-play Billing are inherently flawed approaches as putting CPQ and Billing in separate boxes fails to achieve even the basic SaaS GTM. This is the reason why there are no whales in either of these verticals but instead a long tail of multiple vendors with little/no differentiation and intense competition.
The other approach of a separate system to do just usage-based billing only ends up adding complexity to an already existing mess of separate CPQ and Billing tools with more duct-tape and bottomless pit of professional services.
Our vision is an integrated CPQ and Billing platform that is a system of record, a system of intelligence, and a system of collaboration bringing sales, finance and engineering teams together to execute on the most fundamental reason why any company exists in the first place — to be able to scale your customers without any friction.
This is the genesis of MonetizeNow.
If this problem is not addressed earlier in the life-cycle of the enterprise, it becomes really hard to unwind this mess.
Public companies are spending upwards of $100M to solve this problem but still with unsatisfactory results (Playing musical chairs with different CPQ and Billing vendors doesn’t really address the root cause i.e., CPQ and Billing shouldn’t be separate). Others are putting massively large engineering teams (100+ engineers) to solve for this. Both approaches are hugely capital intensive and yet they don't make any noticeable impact in improving GTM.
Powered by our strong engineering-first culture we have built an enterprise-grade integrated CPQ and Billing platform with modern architecture that is blazingly fast with an amazing UX. We are also SOC-2 Type 2 compliant from the get-go, which signifies our commitment to provide a secure platform to our customers.
We are excited about our early users and design partners and plan to go live by Mar 2022. CaptivateIQ, a startup disrupting sales incentive compensation, recently selected us as the Monetization Engine to power their growth.
To quote Christian Borrelli, VP Global Sales CaptivateIQ.
“The legacy solutions don’t really work for the hyper-growth enterprise. They lack flexibility, require an enormous lift just to get implemented, have complex UI, and worst, only end up handling ~20% of the deals (the vanilla ones). Handling amendments or any complexity in the deal structure is a nightmare.
In MonetizeNow, we found a solution flexible enough to handle all our existing use cases and gives us the confidence to continuously develop new go-to-market motions. Ultimately, it allows our reps to minimize the time they spend on quoting and maximize the time spent serving and growing our customer base.”
We are just getting started.
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A case study in how the MonetizeNow CPQ and Billing platform has benefitted CaptivateIQ by getting quotes out the door faster so the Sales team can spend more time selling