Tuesday Sep 18, 2012 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz
For salespeople, executives, venture capitalists, and other outbound professionals, managing the flow of information without missing key messages is an ongoing battle and few tools manage messages across platforms. That realization inspired Alex Coté and Dan Foody to cofound Cloze.com earlier this year. Today, they are releasing an updated beta including integration with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Based out of Kendall Square’s Dogpatch Labs and backed by $1.2 million in seed funding from Greylock, Kepha Partners, and NextView Ventures, Cloze creates a single filtered view of key personal and professional connections.
“For someone in an outbound role, their network is their career,” explains CEO Foody. “They tend to be much more connected than the average employee of the company and get a lot more communications.”
Foody himself says he gets more than 150 emails per day, adding “no sane person can keep up with that volume of activity. Having too much info is just as bad as having none because you don’t have the time to go through it and deal with it in its entirety.”
In addition to filtering information according to target, Cloze ranks relationships based on criteria such as the last time you communicated, frequency, responsiveness, and how private the communication channel is (for instance, a Facebook wall post or an email with fifty people cc’ed versus a private email exchange). Balance of communication is also a factor. “If I were to send 10-page diatribes and you send back a ‘yup’ or ‘nope,’ that’s a sign of an unbalanced relationship,” explains Foody.
Users can pin targets with whom they’d like to create deeper connections and Cloze will track the targets’ activities on email and social media so users stay current. “Often outbound professionals will use a channel like Twitter or Facebook to understand people’s hot buttons,” says Foody. “What are their favorite sports teams? They’ll use LinkedIn as a channel to find compelling reasons to talk to someone, like a new job. They’ll do the real communications work on email.”
By combining all of those channels into one stream, Cloze tries to help users spot updates that might otherwise get buried in cyberspace. “Unless you really have all these networks open all day long, you don’t catch that job change that could give you the impetus to reach out,” says CMO Coté.
Adds Foody, “the ability to organize around the individuals you care about versus a time-centric view gives you interesting insights into the people that are important to you.”
Another application of the tool is to quickly get up to speed on a contact between conversations. “When you get an inbound call from someone, you need a lot of context to have that conversation,” says Foody. “Here’s everything they’ve been talking about recently.”
So far, all of Cloze’s features are free for users, and Foody says they plan to carefully monetize the site in the future by adding additional offerings on a “freemium-oriented model.”