A startup called Infer, led by a former Yahoo search engineer, plans to help salespeople identify potential business customers by gathering useful information from news sites and the Web. For example, marketing department job postings online might be one clue of a company’s readiness to buy marketing software.
Once the domain of high-tech hedge funds and companies like Google or Facebook, tools that make predictions by mining and analyzing large quantities of data are slowly trickling into the mainstream business world, says Infer CEO Vik Singh, who was recognized by MIT Technology Review in 2009 for his work at Yahoo (see “Innovators under 35: Vik Singh”).
Singh left Yahoo in 2009 to build Infer, and has operated it quietly since. His company is announcing $10 million in financing today from four venture capital firms, led by Redpoint Ventures and including the high-profile firm Andreessen Horowitz. By assessing a simple score to each customer lead that a sales department receives, the software attempts to give clearer direction about which efforts will have the most payoff.