May 22, 2024

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It's the Technology

Keyplay, a new Seattle startup led by veteran entrepreneur Adam Schoenfeld, raises $3M – GeekWire

Keyplay, a new Seattle startup led by veteran entrepreneur Adam Schoenfeld, raises $3M – GeekWire

Keyplay founding team, from top left, clockwise: Founding account executive Katie Ferris; Founding Engineer Chris Tice; Director of Content Camille Trent; CEO and co-founder Adam Schoenfeld; Founding CSM Lauren Hayes; and CTO and co-founder Andrew Rothbart. (Keyplay Photo)

Keyplay emerged from stealth mode Wednesday, announcing $3 million in funding and the launch of its subscription-based platform that aggregates and identifies sales leads.

The round was led by MHS Capital. Other backers include GTMFund, Evening Fund, Ascend.vc, former Tableau CMO Elissa Fink, and former Bizible CEO Aaron Bird, among others. 

Serial entrepreneur Adam Schoenfeld and tech vet Andrew Rothbart co-founded Keyplay. The startup aims to replace much of the manual work of sales and marketing teams that typically work with their own CRM systems, data providers and spreadsheets. It will do this by aggregating and identifying potential sales accounts. Keyplay will source this data through company websites, web crawlers, public APIs, and information provided by customers, Schoenfeld said.

“A lot of the technology is in putting these pieces together,” he said. “Then letting our customer customize those things and define them in a specific way for their business. And then all that gets rolled up into scoring that we do on accounts.”

The startup makes its money by selling subscriptions. Its current price ranges from $9,000 to $26,000 a year for startups and growth companies, respectively. Keyplay plans to launch a broader version of the product in mid-2023, introducing its free and enterprise offerings. The startup currently has eight customers, according to Schoenfeld, surpassing $100,000 a year in annual recurring revenue.

Schoenfeld said that there has been a “return to rigor” for sales pipelines. Companies are less eager to buy software, he said, creating demand for tools that can procure and identify purchasers that are still willing to spend, despite the slowdown in the broader economy.

A screenshot of Keyplay’s product interface. (Keyplay Photo)

Prior to starting Keyplay, Schoenfeld and Rothbart teamed up to launch PeerSignal, a site that publishes free datasets and market research. The content is tailored to business-to-business sales and marketing professionals. It also features a newsletter, which attracted more than 12,000 subscribers at tech firms like Salesforce, Adobe and Snowflake, among others.

PeerSignal was a springboard for Keyplay, providing brand awareness among sales and marketing professionals.

Owning the media entity in a niche category is a popular playbook among software providers. Examples include marketing software company Hubspot acquiring business and tech newsletter The Hustle; no-code automation tool Zapier buying no-code education service Makerpad; and product analytics platform Pendo purchasing product manager media company MindtheProduct.

PeerSignal will remain in operation as a separate company after the public launch of Keyplay. Schoenfeld said one of the biggest challenges will be balancing the time, money and resources between his two companies.

This is Schoenfeld’s fourth software startup in Seattle. His first company was Cheddr Media, a service that helped businesses run promotions on social media. He then co-founded and led social analytics startup Simply Measured, which was acquired by Sprout in 2017. After that, he co-founded an email reply company called Siftrock, which he bootstrapped and sold to Drift in 2018.

He is joined by Rothbart, an engineering vet that held roles at Microsoft and Facebook. Notably he opened Facebook’s London engineering office in 2012, and led its Audience Network team. Rothbart also worked at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, where he helped to build Along, an app that connects teachers with students.

Asked how he finds the energy to launch yet another startup, especially during an economic downturn, Schoenfeld said that he loves the process of building companies.

“The ambiguity can be daunting,” he added. “But I get a ton of energy from the day-to-day work at this stage — solving customer problems, forming a team and building a business.”