South African sales tech app Skynamo secures $30 million
Leading US software investor, Five Elms Capital, is investing US$30 million in Skynamo, a South African field sales app and management platform provider that's on a mission to help manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors eliminate sales admin, strengthen customer relationships, and sell more.
Skynamo, whose field sales mobile app and cloud-based management platform is used by more than 6500 users at 650 companies, will use this investment to accelerate adoption of its platform, while scaling up operations to improve service to its rapidly growing customer base in the US, UK and Southern Africa.
Why investment in Skynamo?
A leading US investor in fast-growing B2B software businesses that users love, Five Elms Capital has backed Skynamo because “we are convinced it has the perfect combination of strong value proposition and a relentless culture of delighting both customers and employees to become the leader in field sales technology”, says Fred Coulson, Managing Partner of Five Elms.
The field sales industry is in a state of disruption, with both businesses and field sales professionals needing to adopt new technologies if they are to survive the digital shift. And that's where Skynamo comes in, helping field sales teams become more knowledgeable by providing quick and accurate answers while onsite with customers.
This investment follows Five Elms Capital’s recent investments in remote video tech firm OpenReel (US$19 million), practice management software developer Karbon (US$10 million) and Colombian customer monitoring startup Playvox (US$25 million).
How exactly does Skyname facilitate business?
Skynamo increases sales rep productivity and effectiveness by digitising paper-based processes, automating administrative tasks, and enabling easy access to customer and product information in the field. GPS technology provides managers with a real-time view of sales activity and sales rep effectiveness in the field, so they can coach their reps remotely. Field sales teams using Skynamo typically double – and in some cases triple – the number of customers they visit per week and increase revenue by up to 20% in the first year.
Skynamo integrates with ERP and accounting software such as Sage, Acumatica, SAP, Xero and Quickbooks to provide field sales reps with the latest product and customer information and order history while on the road or onsite at a customer. Skynamo’s integration capability streamlines the ordering process and improves order accuracy, order fulfilment and time to invoice for field sales teams on the road.
Unlike other CRM and sales automation applications, Skynamo is a mobile-first application designed to provide a better end-user experience for mobile users. Mobile-first design ensures data entry is easier – improving the volume and quality of data collected in the field. Offline capability enables users to continue working on their mobile devices even without internet access.
“Field sales reps have been left out in the cold by the technology industry for far too long,” says Sam Clarke, CEO of Skynamo. “By putting all time-saving functionality and accurate information in the palm of their hands via our mobile app, Skynamo transforms sales teams from order-takers to value-adding consultants to their customers.”
Five Elms Capital upping investment ante
Focused on investing in fast-growing B2B software businesses that users, Five Elms provides capital and resources to help companies accelerate growth and further cement their role as industry leaders. To date, with US$700-plus million assets under management and a global team of 50+ professionals, Five Elms has invested in more than 40 software platforms globally Hubbs, an event management solutions provider; Userlane, a provider of digital adoption solutions; and SingleOps, a provider of field services solutions for the green industry.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”