NMA Ventures is investing $300,000 in a Santa Fe-based startup with automation software that gathers customer information for sales and marketing teams.
It’s the first commitment by NMA, an Albuquerque-based microfund that received $1.6 million last spring from the state’s Catalyst Fund. NMA is one of six local venture funds with Catalyst backing to invest in early-stage startups around the state.
NMA chose software-as-a-service company Fusion Funnel LLC for its first investment because it has proven technology that’s already generating revenue from customers, plus a solid management team that’s carved out a rapid path to market, said NMA Managing Partner Dorian Rader.
“They have a really good team, a quick-moving market and some early-adopter customers already on board,” Rader said. “That means this capital won’t be used to prove a concept, but rather, to further develop and grow the company’s market.”
That reflects NMA’s basic goal of funding startups that not only offer unique technology to meet proven market needs, but that demonstrate potential for rapid development, said NMA general partner John Chavez.
“We’ll only do deals that are sufficiently vetted on risk parameters and return metrics,” Chavez said. “We’re seeing some very interesting deal flow, but we want to make sure our dollars can really move the needle for companies.”
Fusion Funnel CEO Brad Morrison said the NMA investment will allow his team to fully integrate its automation software into well-established sales and marketing platforms like SalesLoft, or customer relations management systems like salesforce.com.
Morrison is a specialist in marketing automation technology who moved to New Mexico from California eight years ago. He started a consulting firm here, and then built the Fusion Funnel software to help sales and marketing teams be better informed before engaging prospective customers.
“I found that so many meetings are wasted because the teams don’t have enough information,” Morrison said. “They spend time gathering information about the people they’re meeting with when they should have had that ahead of time.”
Morrison’s system automatically gathers intelligence for marketers in advance of direct outreach to make “cold calls” to customers more effective. It continues collecting critical information on marketer-developed leads for salespeople who directly engage interested clients. Then, all that is immediately available for account executives who seal the deal with a customer’s buying team.
State Economic Development Secretary Matt Geisel announced the NMA investment this morning at the Santa Fe Business Incubator, where Fusion Funnel will now be located. The company employs four people, plus contractors.
NMA expects to make another seven to nine investments from its $4.2 million fund over the next two to three years, Rader said.
“Most investments will be in the $300,000 to $600,000 range,” Rader said. “But we’ll partner on deals with other investors, so some investments could easily rise above $1 million.”