SalesKen raises Series A from Sequoia; Unitus, Dell Foundation book exits

SalesKen raises Series A from Sequoia; Unitus, Dell Foundation book exits
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5 Mar, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) powered sales assistant platform SalesKen has raised $8 million in a Series A round from Sequoia Capital India. The round also saw a partial exit by early investors Unitus and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

Arin Capital Fund I, a seed investor in the company in 2013, had sold its stake to Unitus in 2014, according to data sourced from VCCEdge.

The company will use the Series A capital to expand to the Asia Pacific and North American markets, a statement said.

In 2010, Surga Thilakan and Sreeraman Vaidyanathan set up an e-learning company iSTAR Skill Development to train sales and customer service agents. It was backed by Unitus Ventures first in 2013, and Michael and Susan Dell Foundation in 2015. SalesKen was an internal product in the company and investors in iSTAR were given mirror shares in the new entity in 2019. In the same year, SalesKen then hived off as a separate commercial entity.

“Companies squander a third of their customer acquisition costs on preventable lead losses. They also face the unpredictability of sales outcomes and an inability to replicate success at scale. Salesken.ai helps them by enabling sales teams, in real-time, during their customer conversations, and in adopting a more scientific approach to sales management,” Surga Thilakan, CEO of SalesKen, said.

SalesKen’s proprietary technology provides salespersons sales tactics and best-selling practices across industries, visibility on skill gaps in a company’s sales team through qualitative analytics of sales pitches and intelligence on lead qualification to navigate pricing discussions, apart from sentiment analysis of customers in real-time.

“Inside sales has many unique management, training and scaling challenges, but is often the most productive form of sales for companies across a range of industries. Salesken enables higher productivity for this segment of users and brings a step function in their performance,” Shailesh Lakhani, managing director at Sequoia Capital India, said.

Sequoia India has been expanding its business-focused software-as-a-service (SaaS) portfolio from its current fund. The firm backed consumer packaged goods focused SaaS company Samya.ai in January. More recently, it led the Series C round in software engagement solution provider Whatfix.