Tencent invests in a tool that helps sales people bridge the gap between socializing and dealmaking

It can turn informal WeChat conversations into a sales process.

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Shenzhen-based startup EC, a cloud-based sales and marketing tool vendor, closed its Series C+ equity financing round, collecting RMB 80 million (USD 11.6 million) from investors including Tencent, reports 36Kr.

After this round, Tencent will be the largest investor in EC. It was founded by a former Tencent employee, Zhang Xingliang.

EC’s software products, which cost a minimum of RMB 550 (USD 80) per year, integrate customer relationship management (CRM), marketing, and transaction functions with social apps such as Tencent’s WeChat and QQ. EC claims that it has more than 40,000 clients, with payment company Lakala and cybersecurity software vendor 360 among them.

EC’s products are tailored to suit the needs of companies in education and training, finance, real estate, or automobiles, as sales in these categories are often achieved after a salesperson builds trust with potential buyers after socializing with them over a period of time.

According to an analysis by a Chinese CRM company, Salesforce, which is a pioneer in providing customer relationship management software, failed to catch on in China as it did not quite account for the “socializing element” in China’s dealmaking culture.

Mindada, a software services company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and also an investor in EC’s last financing round, disclosed that EC made more than RMB 300 million (USD 43.6 million) in revenue in 2018, up by more than 70% year-on-year.

36Kr is KrAsia’s parent company.