Lusha vs Linkedin Sales Navigator, a $245 million story

Oddup Team
January 10, 2022

Sales and marketing teams spend a significant amount of their precious time on finding leads throughout the globe. Prospecting is something that salespeople around the world find challenging especially without professional help and the only alternative to manually find contacts is to use expensive data companies

Lusha, a Tel Aviv-based company with over $1.5 billion valuations is looking to shift the paradigms and ease the process of entry for salespeople with its contact data platform. Lusha was founded in 2016 by co-founders Yoni Tserruya who’s now the chief operating officer and Assaf Eisenstein who is currently president. The co-founders chose to bootstrap Lusha for 5 long years, perfecting every aspect of their crowdsourced data platform and services.

Yoni Tserruya, CEO and co-founder of Lusha said. “The timing and understanding of a company’s lifecycle is really a game-changer for a lot of B2B SaaS companies today and that’s how we try to help.”

Nine months ago, Lusha came out of bootstrap and raised its first-ever funding through a Series A round led by PSG, the renowned growth equity firm. After this Lusha’s growth has been impressive as the startup managed to triple its resources before announcing another financing round this time, Series B. Let us take a closer look at how Tserruya and Eisenstein transformed Lusha, a bootstrapped project into a billion-dollar venture which contributes data to giant tech companies like Facebook, Google, Uber, etc, 

Yoni Tserruya, Assaf Eisenstein, and their Bootstrapped Success of Lusha

Yoni Tserruya is a software engineer who graduated from Ben Gurion University in 2011. Tserruya loved working with data but data cleaning work took a lot of his precious time. Tserruya started his career by building iOS applications as an iOS developer with AT&T. The applications he built during his time at AT&T were mostly focused on user experience and meant for B2C.

The expertise in software development and working with data allowed Yoni Tsurreya to develop YApps, an easy platform dedicated to mobile application creation for communication, teams, and community without needing the knowledge of coding. YApps quickly became popular among event organizers, planners, marketing officials, and associations.

Tsurreya was still not satisfied with all that he had done to simplify people’s search for credible data. Since YApps was mainly utilized by people associated with B2C businesses, there was much to do about the companies left out. But Tsurreya had limited experience with the B2B world in general and it came in his way of creating a dependable solution for people who wanted to find data to support their marketing and sales efforts.

It was 2016 when Yoni Tsurreya crossed paths with his future collaborator and co-founder of Lusha, Assaf Eisenstein who was an HR tech creator before Lusha happened. Both Eisenstein and Tserruya realized that existing solutions did not meet the current market needs . When the duo met, they ended up talking about how complicated it is for salespeople to find relevant leads.

“Sales team can’t reach out to potential buyers face to face like before,” said Tserruya. “Companies that used conferences to generate leads now need to do it remotely, often while working from home.”

Tsurreya felt that Eisenstein possessed the marketing expertise that he lacked to start working on Lusha’s prototype. Both the co-founders remained in touch for weeks before concluding that they need to work in conjunction to make Lusha’s data-driven prospecting platform happen. Eisenstein told Tsurreya that he should create a web extension as a prototype of the platform. Yoni Tsurreya recalled during an interview that the initial stages of development were nice and easy due to their companionship and skill set that complimented each other perfectly.

Tsurreya used to visit Eisenstein at his residence frequently to discuss and find easy solutions while building Lusha. Assaf Eisenstein’s daughter was four and a half years old at the time. Her nickname was “Lusha” (read as Loosh-ah) and that inspired Tsurreya to convince Eisenstein to name their startup after her. Lusha is actually the name of their platform’s assistant, a woman, that guides users to find B2B prospects and their updated contact details quickly.

“When we started in 2016, we realized that you can reach out to anyone because you have social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and so on. So if you want to reach out to someone, you can do it, but the way it works with social networks is not efficient. There’s a lot of noise,” Yoni Tserruya, CEO and co-founder of Lusha told TechCrunch. “People were starting to ignore a lot of those reach-out requests, but the need for salespeople and marketing teams remained the same.”

Lusha began as a fun-loving company where employees enjoy their work and delight their customers with prospecting solutions that include LinkedIn, B2B websites, Gmail, and more. Their core values include prioritizing customers, quick learning techniques, identifying problems and finding solutions based on data, keeping communication channels open, and providing effective solutions using a simple and fun UI. 

“As the company evolved, we realized what would make us the best in the industry and the differentiator would be the accuracy of the data and how deep the data is that we provide to customers,” said Yoni Tserruya, CEO & co-founder of Lusha.

After a few months of developing and perfecting Lusha, many clients reached out and soon there was no way for Tsurreya and Eisenstein to do everything on their own. At first, Lusha was marketed to recruiters in different business sectors who were involved in a time-consuming and unproductive war to find talents that could handle various responsibilities. The co-founders knew recruiters would appreciate the help in the form of Lusha’s crowdsourced data platform and as a result, sales grew quickly for the newly-founded startup.

A comparison between ZoomInfo and Lusha

Tsurreya already knew that the market was full of alternative solutions before he chose to side with his intuition to start Lusha. Zoominfo, the leading competitor of Lusha, has been in the same market since 2000 as a data enrichment tool that salespeople use to find contact details. Zoominfo was co-founded by Kosmas Karadimitriou and Yonatan Stern before it went public and now Henry L. Schuck is the CEO. 

According to CEO Tsurreya, customers these days would not want to communicate with a sales representative before they actually sign up for a product and use it. That is why Lusha’s co-founders decided to keep the product out in the open, allowing a free trial so that people interested would come to the website, check out the product and first use it, have queries and valuable feedback to share with as sales rep later.

In the case of Lusha, coming from a B2C background, it was difficult for Yoni Tsurreya, in the beginning, to make sense of but Tsurreya managed to learn all that he needed for creating a useful and simple solution for the B2B world. Product-led growth meant an entirely different thing to both of the co-founders of Lusha. Let’s compare the two solutions and try to conclude which one is more of a sensible choice?

  • Products

Services provided by both ZoomInfo and Lusha might seem quite similar at first glance but there are several fundamental differences between them. Service offered by ZoomInfo includes;

  1. Ability to target relevant audience
  2. Simple and in-depth contact & company search
  3. Pipeline and activity management
  4. Enrichment of leads based on various factors

On the other hand, Lusha offers;

  1. Hyper-targeting of campaigns
  2. Recruitment-based services
  3. Better prospecting data such as company reputation
  4. Getting in front of a CEO

  • Pricing

The difference in pricing is one of the most noticeable ones for users of both these platforms. There is also a free version available for ZoomInfo and Lusha users which features limited capabilities. Lusha offers professional, premium, and enterprise packages at $99/month, $199/month, and custom rates respectively. But ZoomInfo requires a budget of under $10,000 annually for its pro, advanced, and elite packages.

  • Ease of Use

Both Lusha and ZoomInfo are loved by users due to being simple and easy to use but Lusha takes the lead based on convenience. That is because from the first setup to admin responsibilities, Lusha’s fun and user-friendly interface add joy to its user experience. While ZoomInfo is not a complicated tool in the most literal sense, but a majority of users need tutorials to make the most out of its interface and offerings which it does not provide. Lusha is not available as an Android or iOS app currently unlike ZoomInfo, but there is an option to instantly access contact and company information through LinkedIn, Gmail, or B2B website.

“I think our main differentiation is that they’re very enterprise-oriented,” said Tserruya. “Another differentiation is the quality of our data, because it constantly gets feedback from users, and also our ease of use because businesses can start using it without talking to one of Lusha’s sales reps, and expand their membership plans as they grow.”

How Did Lusha Grew Amidst COVID-19? 

Scaling a company is always difficult but it became almost impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. But Lusha and its B2B “data-as-a-service” model stayed on track even then. according to news, Lusha grew by almost 40% during COVID-19 amidst fighting restrictions, closures, and remote work challenges. Lusha’s VP of Human Resources gave an interview explaining how they managed to grow their team by 110 employees working at its headquarters located in Tel Aviv, Israel. 

“For Lusha, one of our main challenges was to successfully onboard all of our new employees and let them feel part of something bigger,” says VP of HR Rachel Shani Stopper.

Stopper calls it a period of “hyper-growth” which has allowed the company to aim for 200 employees by the end of this year and open an office on U.S. soil. The employees of this startup had never worked remotely since 2016 but when the situation changed, they had no other choice but to adjust quickly and accept the new normal for the safety and well-being of others.

During COVID-19, the office of Lusha was moved to the Azrieli tower where meeting rooms were more digitally efficient to enable remote work with any U.S.-based offices to come. Lusha employees were provided a new internal communication platform called Workplace so that it all becomes much more accessible and user-friendly to share announcements, updates, etc.

Rachel Shani Stopper told in an interview “Today we work in a hybrid model and we understand the need of our candidates to see and feel the office vibes, and so the recruitment process is also done in a hybrid model so part of it is done face-to-face in our offices.”

Market Growth, Investors, and Partners

The reality of salespeople working every day is that they struggle with limited resources and access to data that is needed for thorough research. 40% of salespeople agree that prospecting is the hardest part of their job and it keeps them from hitting their sales targets, almost all the time. Salesforce reported that 50% of the sales teams are utilizing data to produce sale forecasts these days and the top-tier teams are 1.5x more likely to work on data-driven insights.

“The main challenge for salespeople is that they are actually selling a third or two-thirds of their time on admin or aggregating data, trying to understand who this customer is, how to reach out to them, who the right person to contact is, and so on,” Lusha CEO, Yoni Tserruya said. “The lack of data and intelligence wastes time for a sales team, so more companies are taking a ‘super-targeted sales process, where they know exactly who they need to reach out to and why.”

Even if the sales and marketing team finds relevant prospects, they do not turn out to be a good match for their product/service. according to independent research, this happens more than 70% of the time. But Lusha is trying to change this reality and allow clients to benefit from its crowdsourced data platform where they get recommendations to ensure they get contact details and other information easily.

Lusha’s platform takes the form of a database of customer contact information that can be filtered and sorted as per the convenience of its 800,000 users. The community that adds data on Lusha’s database consists of 80,000 salespeople belonging to 273,000 different organizations including Dropbox, Google, and Facebook. 100 million businesses and 15 million company profiles are currently hosted by Lusha including millions of email addresses and direct contact numbers.

“ION Crossover Partners general partner Gili Iohan said, “We have been following Lusha’s progress over the last two years and found the team’s vision and execution highly impressive. As sales teams continue to leverage to drive their go-to-market strategies, Lusha is becoming an integral product for teams to optimize their outreach to improve overall win rates.”

The company’s most-intriguing tools are a browser extension that shares minute details of a company and its sales contracts. A prospecting tool and Lusha API integrations are GDPR and CCPA-compliant so users do not have to worry about data privacy. Post-investment ION Crossover Partners’ Gili Iohan and Providence Strategic Growth fund’s Adam Marcus signed up as Lusha’s new partners to see and lead where the company forays in the future.

$245 Million and 2 Funding Rounds

The 2016-founded Israeli startup made a new record as it opened up for the first time being bootstrapped for 5 years and led a total of $245 million in funding from investors like PSG and ION. We at Oddup, after spending hours on extensive research to cross-check a multitude of algorithmic metrics that represent the company’s health and future prospects give Lusha a score of 58.72.

Lusha gives users a free trial to get acquainted with their platform and services. Buying packages means unlocking more benefits and features that are unavailable for free. The newly-turned unicorn startup has been funded twice in the past 9 months during Series A and Series B rounds. Lusha gets a benchmark valuation of $1.71 billion, the last valuation of $1.5.billion, and a Post Money valuation of $1.7 billion (post-Series B).

Series A - $40 Million

On February 10th, Lusha announced its Series A funding round that raised a total of $40 million from Providence Strategic Growth. It was the first step taken by the startup and the first-ever fundraising attempt. These funds were utilized to develop the technology even further to perfect the market data made available to Lusha’s users. The ultimate goal of co-founders is to turn Lusha into the largest B2B data-sharing community.

“Lusha's innovative. products and leading data have disrupted decades-old market inefficiencies for sales professionals," said Adam Marcus, Managing Director at PSG. "We're excited to extend our partnership with Lusha's talented team as they continue to deliver category-defining products and services."

Series B - $205 Million

The second fundraising attempt made by Lusha also met huge success and propelled the company into unicorn status after being led by both PSG and ION Crossover Partners. The total amount raised was close to $205 million. The CEO and co-founder Lusha gave a statement regarding Lusha’s incredible growth since the Series A funding round. According to him, the newly-raised funds were put to use to build Lusha’s data infrastructure, features, and privacy compliance.

Lusha’s CEO says “We look forward to using this funding to be at the forefront of this industry shift and grow Lusha into the largest business-to-business sales community.”

What’s Ahead Lusha?

Once the company reached out and crowdsourced data from millions of salespeople who are a part of Lusha’s community, it generated a network effect, and well-known companies from the relevant sector got interested. Both of the co-founders, Yoni Tsurreya and Assaf Eisenstein are excited to expand their company’s market presence within the United States in the days to come. 

“Our primary goal is to give every salesperson, regardless of size or budget, access to the highest quality data at the most affordable price, while championing world-class standards of privacy and compliance. With this funding round, we will continue to invest highly in our data infrastructure and privacy standards to provide optimal levels of compliance and security for Lusha's 800,000+ community members," said Assaf Eisenstein, Co-founder and President of Lusha.

As a strategic move, Eisenstein, Lusha’s President & co-founder moved to the United States and is working to build their location somewhere in Boston. Eisenstein is expected to lead the efforts of the company’s North American arm and bring more clients onboard their platform.

“We have established a U.S. sales office strategically located in Boston … in order to serve as the company’s North American arm. Eisenstein has recently moved to Boston to head up our expansion efforts in the U.S. market,” Tserruya told VentureBeat. 

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