Seismic Raises $20M in Round Led by Software Growth Equity Fund

After tripling revenues in 2014, Encinitas, CA-based Seismic says today it has closed a $20 million round in Series B funding led by JMI Equity, the growth equity firm that specializes in software and services.

Seismic was founded in 2010 to advance what co-founder and CEO Doug Winter calls “sales enablement software” that helps sales teams at big companies close deals by continually updating their electronic sales and marketing materials with fresh data. About half of Seismic’s customers are in financial services, where a lot of research and time is spent preparing deal presentations that also must be monitored closely to ensure regulatory compliance.

While Winter says Seismic’s revenue tripled in 2014, he won’t provide any specific numbers on Seismic’s sales or customers. The suburban San Diego company plans to use the capital infusion to expand its own sales and marketing team, and to continue product development. Seismic has doubled its headcount since mid-2013, and now employs about 55 people in both San Diego and Boston.

Winter was previously a co-founder of Objectiva Software Solutions, and continued to lead the business after Document Sciences acquired Objectiva in 2004, and after EMC acquired Document Sciences in 2008.

The Seismic founders self-funded the startup until 2013, when the company raised $4.5 million in a Series A round led by Sigma West managing director Pete Solvik, who is a Seismic board member. Sigma West also participated in the latest round, which brings the total raised by Seismic to more than $24.5 million and adds JMI general partner Peter Arrowsmith to the board.

Like a lot of things, the Internet has brought some dramatic changes to the business of corporate sales over the past 15 years. Sales teams these days don’t just knock on doors like the copy machine salesman of years past.

Seismic represents a continuation in a wave of cloud-based sales management software that began with the rise of Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), and its rivals include Seattle’s Highspot (which raised $9.6 million just two months ago), Mountain View, CA-based Fileboard, and San Francisco’s ClearSlide.

Today, big companies still deploy huge sales teams, but Winter says, “Enterprise software is becoming more consumer-like, lighter and easier to use.”

The big difference now in sales engagement software is that buyers are more deeply educated about their market, Winter says. With technology changing more or less continually, they want to understand those changes and how new products and services differ. Yet according to Forrester Research, most executive buyers complain that salespeople cannot provide relevant examples or case studies.

As a result, Winter says, “We see a lot of companies trying to put a lot more content into their marketing. You need to know a lot more about your buyer. Seismic enables a salesperson to respond to what a particular buyer is looking for and needs.”

Winter says the “LiveSend” and “LiveShare” features of Seismic’s software provides analytic insights that enable sales reps to see what sales materials a prospective buyer is reading, and how the buyer is interacting with the content. The company says this enables sales marketing teams to ensure that their materials are targeted and used effectively, shortening the sales cycle, and improve “win” rates and customer satisfaction.

Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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