As businesses brace for a slowing global economy, they are seeking avenues to streamline budgets, including trimming their SaaS expenses. Sales tech, in particular, is known for being fragmented with an array of highly specialized solutions. That’s why Yi Shi started FlashIntel with an ambitious goal: offer an all-in-one sales platform to consolidate the sales tech stack.
“Instead of buying five licenses, you might just only need one now,” Shi told TechCrunch in an interview. By reducing the number of sales solutions, businesses save on not only software but training costs because they have fewer tech platforms to introduce to their staff.
FlashIntel claims to support the end-to-end sales cycle — from lead intelligence, sales engagement, email verification, mailbox warmup, to auto-dialing. Such an integrated platform that can potentially substitute functionalities of the likes of ZoomInfo and SalesLoft sounds too good to be true, but some investors are convinced.
FlashIntel recently closed a $10 million seed funding round from investors including Celtic House Venture Partners, Uphonest Capital, Hat-Trick Capital. Founded only last year, the startup now employs around 100 people — quite a big headcount considering its “five-digit” registered user base and “three-digit” paid customers.
As a fourth-time founder who’s taken one company public in China, grown another to unicorn valuation and sold the last one, Shi is confident in FlashIntel’s all-inclusive, modular approach. A key differentiator of the platform, according to Shi, is its auto-dialer which can enable a salesperson to make 400-500 calls a day, ten times more than traditional dialers according to Shi.
Since the connection rate is just about 5-7%, it means a person using FlashIntel could have one live conversation every 20 calls they make. Sales calls are basically a number game, said the founder.
The “key to doing software sales is how many live conversations a salesperson can have with prospective customers,” he added.
The other core strength of FlashIntel is what Shi calls “intent-based selling.” The platform tracks prospective customers’ procurement intent through signals like recruitment updates, a website’s changing tech stack, and content a company posts and topics it discusses on social media. When a client shows an intent of buying new software, FlashIntel then tells the vendor to approach them.
FlashIntel doesn’t aim to build everything itself and has integrated with other major CRM through their APIs, which users can pay for separately.
“Every industry goes through a cycle where “long union must lead to separation and long separation must lead to a reunion,” said Shi. “Ultimately, there needs to be a healthy balance. For instance, to what extent should one adopt the “all in one” approach?”
With teams in the U.S., Canada, India and Malaysia, FlashIntel has recently appointed a former Salesforce and ZoomInfo executive as its vice president of sales.
Aside from saving costs, FlashIntel also wants to help boost customers’ revenues. To that end, Shi, a solo founder, turned his entrepreneurial experiences into best practices as part of the startup’s consulting service for enterprises.
The article was updated on August 21, 2023, to clarify that FlashIntel doesn’t have CRM features and as such cannot replace Salesforce.