Startup Spotlight: ZoomInfo’s market intelligence automation
ZoomInfo operates a database of information regarding organisations and business people, which is of use to those working in areas such as sales and marketing for activities like advertisement targeting.
Like many, the Vancouver, Washington State-based company operates on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, running its database as a platform. ZoomInfo says it has almost 200,000 paying customers, while some 14,000 companies are on its list. Previously known as DiscoverOrg, it acquired Zoom Information in 2019, taking its name.
ZoomInfo has recently renewed AI and machine learning initiatives, bringing in AI that learns from users needs to better deliver tailored intelligence. One such tool identifies the accounts most likely to close by taking into account those with similar traits.
In a press release, Founder and CEO Henry Schuck said: “We continue to innovate to find easier ways for customers to harness our data and make it actionable. With our new AI ICP product, our customers can now easily compare the market intelligence in ZoomInfo with their customer database to identify ideal prospects faster and more effectively than ever before.”
The company has also released mobile applications for access to its platform, reflecting a belief that its users are increasingly on the go, as Shuck explained: “It doesn’t matter if you’re a traditional sales or marketing professional, or have an entirely different job function, the modern B2B professional is mobile. They don’t just need to stay connected – they need to stay informed and opportunistic, too.”
The company has filed for an initial public offering in 2020, hoping to raise as much as $500mn. With the current uncertainty in stock markets due to the coronavirus pandemic, the company held off on any firm date for the offering.
Discord buys Sentropy to fight against hate and abuse online
Discord, a popular chat app, has acquired the software company Sentropy to bolster its efforts to combat online abuse and harassment. Sentropy, monitors online networks for abuse and harassment, then offers users a way to block problematic people and filter out messages they don’t want to see.
First launched in 2015 and currently boasting 150 million monthly active users, Discord plans to integrate Sentropy’s own products into its existing toolkit and the company will also bring the smaller company’s leadership group aboard. Discord currently uses a “multilevel” approach to moderation, and a Trust and Safety (T&S) team dedicated to protecting users and shaping content moderation policies comprised 15% of Discord’s workforce as of May 2020.
“T&S tech and processes should not be used as a competitive advantage,” Sentropy CEO John Redgrave said in a blog post on the announcement. “We all deserve digital and physical safety, and moderators deserve better tooling to help them do one of the hardest jobs online more effectively and with fewer harmful impacts.”
Cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse
Redgrave elaborated on the company’s natural connection with Discord: “Discord represents the next generation of social companies — a generation where users are not the product to be sold, but the engine of connectivity, creativity, and growth. In this model, user privacy and user safety are essential product features, not an afterthought. The success of this model depends upon building next-generation Trust and Safety into every product. We don’t take this responsibility lightly and are humbled to work at the scale of Discord and with Discord’s resources to increase the depth of our impact.”
Sentropy launched out of stealth last summer with an AI system designed to detect, track and cleanse platforms of online harassment and abuse. The company emerged then with $13 million in funding from notable backers including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and his VC firm Initialized Capital, King River Capital, Horizons Ventures and Playground Global.
“We are excited to help Discord decide how we can most effectively share with the rest of the Internet the best practices, technology, and tools that we’ve developed to protect our own communities,” Redgrave said.