Sales intelligence-focused Return Solutions has officially closed its pre-seed round at $1.1 million, according to an announcement. Founders Greg Dvorken and Tracey Halvorsen are ready to shed the early-stage startup label and gain traction by proving their technology works with a large-scale enterprise client like Virtusa Corporation, as well as the partner companies it serves.
This pre-seed round lumps together all the money the company has raised to date, along with a recent investment from TEDCO, the Maryland agency that supports early-stage companies and led the investment round.
Return Solutions, which made this year’s RealLIST Startups roster, puts marketing and sales data analytics in context for companies on a micro and macro level. The software moves beyond what Dvorken calls “vanity metrics” of clicks, open rates and pageviews to connect data plainly to business outcomes and the company’s bottom line. The client work with digital transformation consulting firm Virtusa Corporation is an opportunity for Return Solutions to prove its tech works at scale.
“We’re not asking for investors to take a gamble,” Halvorsen told Technical.ly about how, despite current economic headwinds making investors more conservative with funding, the founders expect Return Solutions to have a successful seed round in the future. “We’re going to be able to demonstrate the value, efficiency and [return on investment] to the enterprise now that we’re engaging with Virtusa and their partners.”
The predicted economic downturn, Halvorsen believes, is a boon for the company because that’s when businesses most need the efficiencies and metrics Return Solutions provides. The team at Return Solutions seeks to democratize information so that everyone in a large organization can see the batting average and performance of the bits of communication and information from sales and marketing teams. In other words, the company’s tech makes plain the data that customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Hubspot give out.
“[Return solutions software] is taking what a CRM was kind of imagined to solve for and we’re turning that kind of inside out,” said Halvorsen. “To allow anyone in the organization to get an idea of how people have used certain things to move a deal forward or not.”
By the end of the year, Dvorken and Halvorsen plan to grow the company from 12 to 30 employees. Some of the company’s current employees include developers from Ukraine. The growth hinges on hitting sales targets and the success of the Virtusa Corporation account. There’re also plans to further develop the software, through AI and machine learning, by using data from the day-to-day use of Virtusa Corporation’s partner organizations.
Dvorken and Halvorsen are taking a measured approach to the future of Return Solutions. The search for seed investors is something the duo isn’t taking lightly because they know these next funders will be in it for the long haul.
“We know a lot about certain things, but we’d love to have some partners that have seen it and have a portfolio that shows that they understand where we’re going with things,” Dvorken said.Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
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