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Venture Capital News: Handshakez Secures $3.6M Series A

AUSTIN, TX, Handshakez today announced that it has closed $3.6 million in venture capital financing. The Series A round was led by Austin Ventures
Handshakez today announced that it has closed $3.6 million in venture capital financing. The Series A round was led by Austin Ventures with additional investment by First Round Capital, FLOODGATE, CrunchFund, Valhalla Partners and Thinktiv.

Handshakez uniquely brings business relationships out of email and into private, collaborative spaces that foster transparency and engagement -- and debuts a new class of analytics to predict and drive customer success. Led by Jason Wesbecher, previously VP of Strategic Accounts at Jive Software; Scott Brittain, previously VP Engineering at Solarwinds; and Michael Osborne, previously Chief Revenue Officer at Bazaarvoice, the company is launching with 50 clients live on its collaboration and analytics platform.

"The act of shaking hands is as old as commerce itself -- and signals engagement, trust and balance between two people," said Handshakez co-founder and CEO Jason Wesbecher. "This engagement has been under enormous strain in the last two decades by CRM technologies that have not kept up with the needs of the modern customer. The term CRM itself is wildly out of touch: customers don't want to be managed, they want to be engaged. Handshakez is solving this today by humanizing and simplifying front end processes to put the customer at the center of the relationship."

Modernizing the Enterprise
The simultaneous emergence of mobile, social, cloud and big data trends are re-shaping the enterprise and disrupting traditional systems of record. For B2B sales teams, where selling involves a complex maze of people and processes, these systems have not only failed to effectively engage customers, they have created a culture of one-to-one email and time consuming data entry. Handshakez transforms the enterprise front office and leapfrogs systems of record with a collaborative approach that engages clients directly and opens up new vistas for measurement.

"There is a tremendous opportunity to take customer relationships out of email and bring new levels of collaboration to an age old sales process," said Thomas Ball, General Partner at Austin Ventures. "Successful enterprise companies like Jive and Yammer have proven that engagement, not record keeping, is the future. Handshakez has what it takes to build an industry-leading company in this space: seasoned leadership, an insider's understanding of the market, and the vision to re-shape front-end enterprise applications around the customer."

Collaboration and Analytics Platform Delivers Results
The HandShakez collaboration and analytics platform reaches across the enterprise firewall to create private, user-friendly spaces that encourage participation, facilitate interaction and deliver measurable insight into the engagement. Clients using HandShakez can now go far beyond traditional CRM workflows or document sharing solutions to foster engagement and transparency for business relationships with:

Curated Rich Media Assets: Presentations, financial models, whitepapers, videos and news items are all easily uploaded and organized.
Highly Social Interactions: Activity streams, @mentions, comments, polls, and LinkedIn integration provide a delightful, collaborative experience.
Seamless Integration: Pre-built integration with popular enterprise tools including Microsoft Outlook and to bring new intelligence into traditional reporting.
Intuitive, Actionable Analytics: Behind the scenes, complex algorithms determine levels of engagement, which is presented as a user-friendly room temperature.

Handshakez is already delivering measurable success to nearly 50 customers live on its collaboration and analytics platform. Results include:

Corel, one of the largest software companies in the world with 100 million users, grew deal sizes by 45% with Handshakez. "Selling to the enterprise can be really complex and expensive. Most CRM tools, as it turns out, are focused more on the vendor than the customer. Handshakez has changed that for us in a special way. This has been a huge win for our customers." - Patrick Nichols, GM of Corel
Punchh, a social loyalty platform for restaurants, increased sales productivity by 20% with Handshakez. "With Handshakez, our sales team can cut roughly ten hours each week of the tedious administrative tasks of traditional CRM. That time savings is a huge competitive advantage." - Gregg Carman, SVP Sales for Punchh
AlterPoint, a network governance provider, boosted renewal rates by 10% with Handshakez. "We manage 1,000 renewals each year. Before Handshakez, we largely used intuition to determine likeliness of renewal. Now, we not only have an objective way to measure the temperature of each client, but we know who is a good upsell candidate." - Danielle Royston, CEO of AlterPoint

"The CRM system alone needs to serve more as a means rather than an end goal of salesforce automation," said Peter Ostrow, VP of Sales Effectiveness at Aberdeen Group. "Using a private showroom to regularly add relevant business content rather than just email effectively allows a salesperson to demonstrate sincerity, expertise, and the impression that they actually care about their customer's eventual success."

About Handshakez
Handshakez is pioneering a new class of front end enterprise applications built around the customer. Led by a team of enterprise software veterans, Handshakez offers a collaboration and analytics platform that brings business relationships out of email and into private collaborative spaces, fostering engagement and innovating new analytics to predict and drive customer success. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is privately held with funding from Austin Ventures, First Round Capital, FLOODGATE, CrunchFund, Valhalla Partners and Thinktiv. For more information, please visit
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