The IU Philanthropic Venture Fund has invested $300,000 in Canopy, a High Alpha Studio company that empowers frontline sales managers and revenue leaders through automated data analysis and business intelligence. High Alpha and Elevate Ventures led the $2 million Series Seed funding round for Canopy.
Through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Canopy notifies leaders of what steps can be taken to be proactive and improve revenue performance.
Canopy's platform harnesses data sets between different customer relationship management systems to provide frontline sales managers, revenue operations teams and revenue leaders the information needed to coach their teams, forecast more accurately and drive higher revenue attainment.
Founded in April 2019, Canopy is led by Patrick Rodgers and Adam Cuzzort, a pair of sales-industry veterans. Both were driven to create the product after years of frustrations. Rodgers is a 2010 graduate of Indiana University.
"My background is in sales leadership in small- and medium-sized organizations," Rodgers said. "These companies are focused on driving productivity and results from their sales team. While sales representatives are given a lot of tools for staying effective, frontline sales managers just didn't have the tools they needed to drive performance across their teams."
After years of working in the challenging role of sales manager, Rodgers met Cuzzort, an engineer with a desire to create product-driven technology that inspires collaboration and productivity. The two quickly realized that the lack of support for sales managers was an opportunity for innovation.
"Adam is an incredible mind and engineer, and we were able to identify a big gap in the marketplace: There is a ton of focus on sales reps, but not enough on the coaches," Rodgers said. "We decided that if we could provide the managers with the information they need to be more effective, in a real-time manner, they could finally be more proactive and would have the ability to achieve greater results.
"We wanted to create a DVR for our clients' revenue, where they can pause, rewind and fast-forward on what happens to their pipeline, forecasts and growth across any point in time. Canopy shows managers what issues they should be looking for, alerts them of any challenges before they happen and translates that information into proactive steps they can take."
Rodgers said that IU Ventures' experience, critical thinking and support were clear signs that a partnership would be beneficial. IU Ventures manages the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund.
"Right away, they were aligned with our vision. When you're thinking of investors for a partnership, you want someone who pushes you as well as pulls for you," Rodgers said. "On top of being supportive, IU Ventures asks the really important questions that help us learn about our company and its strengths so we can guide its future."
Jason Whitney, associate vice president of IU Ventures, said being a High Alpha early-access investor means having an early look at excellent teams and exciting opportunities like Canopy.
"Canopy's executive team has built and managed companies in similar spaces, and they are backed by the High Alpha engine -- which, in addition to a strong portfolio of companies, brings with it the funding and relationships that help them set themselves apart from the competition," Whitney said.
"I believe that in a short period of time, we'll see Canopy developing key strategic relationships -- not only with potential customers to address their specific needs, but also with upstream strategic partners to ensure that they are building a sustainable business that provides sufficient value to their customers."
Canopy has proven to be even more valuable to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing certainty during uncertain times. Its product has helped revenue leaders forecast more accurately, identify what's working and invest in growth during the past few months when many businesses have struggled to achieve pre-pandemic sales and revenue.
About IU Ventures
IU Ventures is a Section 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering Indiana University faculty, alumni, and friends to support and invest in IU-affiliated innovation. Through the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund and the IU Angel Network, IU Ventures works to provide opportunities for individuals affiliated with IU to network with fellow entrepreneurs; build innovative new businesses; and support growing enterprises through donations, investments, time and talents.