Hub, a productivity platform for technical pre-sales, has formally launched with $1 million in seed funding.
CEO Freddy Mangum and CTO Karl Gainey founded Hub in 2020. The pair both had experience in technical sales and recognized the challenges of using spreadsheets to manage their business.
They researched and surveyed sales engineers at big and small companies alike, discovering that many of these professionals were spending a lot of time doing things like “wrangling data to report to management, forcing individual contributors to enter data into a CRM (customer relationship management) system.”
“Performing these kinds of mundane tasks was taking time away from them actually selling,” said Mangum. “We also came to the conclusion that technical sales professionals have been the unsung heroes of sales, behind the scenes driving enterprise.”
So they set about creating a better way for presales, solution architects and sales engineers to manage their day-to-day technical sales activities.
Then COVID hit, and obviously, as Mangum puts it, digital selling became much more real.
“That really accentuated the need for specific commercial tooling,” he said.
San Francisco-based Hub was born. The company describes its offering as a SaaS application that “securely interconnects and complements popular CRM systems and productivity applications.”
As a personalized productivity platform, Hub is designed to help individual contributors manage the sales process. By gaining greater visibility into every step, the goal is to better analyze and do more accurate forecasting so an organization can better “identify investment areas while taking corrective actions in real time,” Mangum said.
“Our tool can help them automate the mundane tasks and put the focus on high-value tasks to actually win more business,” he added.
Targeting technical sales professionals is an underserved market, according to Mangum, which presents tremendous opportunity.
Investors in the company include Tom Noonan, general partner of Atlanta-based TechOperators (and former chairman and CEO of Internet Security Systems, which was acquired in 2007 by IBM for $1.3 billion) and SalesLoft CEO and co-founder Kyle Porter.
To Noonan, the pandemic presented the challenge of keeping an enterprise sales force effective while working remotely.
“The biggest concern was not that sales people couldn’t engage with customers. It was how the technical part of the sales cycle was going to be conducted remotely, such as the concepts demonstrations integrations, the modifications, all the things that have to be articulately communicated, and also aligned with the customer’s needs,” he told TechCrunch. “And to me that just made the need for this model of selling that we’re in today.”
Looking ahead, Noonan believes these teams are going to question why they spent so much time on travel and on-site activities.
“More and more customers have actually gotten accustomed to remote interactions and even more importantly, many of the customers are not working in a place of business now either,” he said. “And that leaves a huge challenge for the solution architects, because they are the glue that bridge between a buyer saying that’s interesting, and an organization concluding that the capabilities of whatever system is being sold to them truly meets their needs both from a technical perspective and integration perspective and a functional perspective.”
Hub, he believes, can help address that challenge.
With a diverse founding team (Mangum is a Bolivian immigrant and Gainey is Black), Hub aims to reflect that diversity in its team. Its developers are based in Argentina, for example.
“As someone who graduated from ESL when I came to this country it is important that opportunities not be closed off to people just because of language barriers,” Mangum said.