Our Investment in Vivun: An End-to-End Platform for an Underserved and Important Function!
Matt Murphy, Partner at Menlo Ventures @mmurph
Grace Ge, Investor at Menlo Ventures @gracewenge
We’re excited to announce our investment in Vivun and back a team uniquely qualified to build the next great SaaS company. Presales has always been an incredibly important function, but there hasn’t been a platform that optimizes their workflows or takes advantage of the valuable product information they gather every day. Presales (commonly referred to as sales engineering or sales consulting), has flat out been underserved. So many functions in the sales process, as seen below, have application choices and yet from a headcount and ability to influence outcomes standpoint, presales is arguably as or more impactful than any of those represented below. Presales teams are stuck retrofitting other tools or using Office tools (excel/word/email). We love when we see that dynamic because we know there is a huge opportunity, and so did the Vivun team!
The great thing about the Vivun team, and a key attribute we look for in searching for a team to solve a problem, is they’ve lived it. Matt Darrow and John Bruce both spent many years in Presales roles. Matt was formerly VP of Product and VP of Presales at Zuora. John was most recently VP of Worldwide Sales Engineering at SignalFX and previously Sr. Director of Sales Engineering at Zuora.. They built internal solutions at those companies and knew the problem existed industry wide and needed a product built bottoms up. Not only did they see the potential to create a system of record for deals in the presales stage, and optimize the workflows of presales staff and managers, but they recognized one of the biggest lost opportunities from presales was product insights! Presales are interacting with customers all the time, running trials/POCs, and understanding customer needs. Yet that information is generally shared anecdotally to sales reps and product teams. Vivun captures these customer requirements at the source and makes them directly accessible by product teams and sales. This has been a hit! Companies spend an inordinate amount of money on product analytics, trial and error, etc., but they don’t spend enough time getting feedback from the source: presales.
In speaking to presales and sales executives, it was clear, most every company recognized the problem and tried to solve it on their own, but none did a good job.
Vivun fills that void by powering the entire presales workflow. “Hero” by Vivun is an AI-powered platform that helps teams scale, beat the competition to product-market fit, revive dormant opportunities, and unlock vital sales intelligence to close deals faster. It fills a critical need for enterprise software companies, at a time when competition and the prize for getting product-market fit right is at an all-time high. Vivun’s vision goes beyond being a workflow, to insight, and that’s why their approach is so transformational.
We first met Matt over the summer via Zoom due to Covid which was quickly followed by a long socially distanced walk. Matt immediately impresses with his energy, passion and vision for the opportunity, but also his operational command of the business. Our first questions were around why this hadn’t been done before, and while there was no simple answer, the best one was no one like Matt ever decided to pursue it. What Vivun is offering is truly unique in the market. Matt and John have keyed in on the fact that once you become the system of record for Presales, a host of value-add opportunities follow.
The Series B quickly followed the Series A, by only four months, which is testament to our conviction about the team, the opportunity, and the momentum they are experiencing. Ordinarily we would have waited a year or so for an inflection to pursue the next round, but it was clear to us this was a special opportunity, and we couldn’t wait!
We are excited to welcome Matt, John, and the entire Vivun team to the Menlo portfolio! They are mission-driven, grounded, yet ambitious entrepreneurs. Vivun is off to a fast start and trusted by companies like Snowflake, Autodesk, Dell and Harness. In fact, it was our portfolio company Harness who loudly and helpfully advocated the value prop.
This investment is a great fit for us. We see a massive opportunity in neglected, underserved enterprise workflows to be automated and improved via digitization and AI. We’ve backed several such companies pursuing similar innovation such as 6 River Systems (acquired by Shopify), Alloy.AI, Harness, Benchling, Heap Analytics, and Scout RFP (acquired by WorkDay). So, if you have a unique insight around an unaddressed workflow where you’ve felt the pain, we’d love to hear your vision and passion to make it better for those following you into that function. We continue to be surprised on the upside in terms of the number, impact, and TAM of such opportunities.