Aaron Frazin signed up more than 150,000 users for Charlie, an app that automatically gathers information about people on your appointment calendar.
There was just one problem: “Thousands of people were downloading it every single week without us spending anything on marketing, but no one was eager to pay. It was clear we built something viral, but not monetizable,” he says.
The company, also named Charlie, recently raised $1.6 million from GoAhead Ventures, a Silicon Valley fund that also backed Chicago startup Popular Pays, based on related technology that people will pay for. Frazin previously raised $1.8 million from Lightbank and Hyde Park Venture Partners.
Frazin’s new app, called Detective, aims to automate the research that salespeople do before they make a call. It focuses on browser automation, automatically bringing up information about sales prospects. Detective works with Salesforce software. When a salesperson clicks on a customer or prospect in the company’s internal Salesforce database, Detective automatically gathers information about it and brings it up in the user’s browser. The app can be triggered in other ways, too.
Sales intelligence software is a hot area, but Charlie faces plenty of competition, such as LinkedIn and InsideView.
Frazin says customers pay $50 to $150 a month per user for Detective. He says his company has gone from losing money to cash flow-positive last month. Headcount has grown to a dozen from five people just six months ago. He plans to use the new investment to continue hiring, primarily in sales and technology.Read Original Article