Founders Interviews: Elizabeth Cruz of Gorodata

For this issue of Founders Interviews, we interviewed Gorodata co-founder and CEO, Elizabeth Cruz. Gorodata is a Sales Intelligence Platform that scrapes public web sources and blends AI with a knowledge graph of the business market, to help sales reps go after leads.

Gorodata was one of six startups that partook in the 2021 edition of the Indico Founders Program powered by Google for Startups.

*This interview has been slightly edited and adapted for reading ease.

First, can you tell us about your background and the path that lead you to found Gorodata?

Both Miguel [Ventura, co-founder and CTO] and I come from a technical background. I have a Masters in Physics Engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico, and Miguel has a Masters in Computer Science from the same university. My past work experience includes being a Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group, being the Head of the B2B Data Monetisation at NOS and being the Director of Data Science at Feedzai. Miguel has over a decade of experience in Software Engineering at Outsystems, and has recently acquired experience in AI Engineering. Founding an AI-based platform felt natural for us, given our background. Our goal is to revolutionise the way companies around the world consume information and discover new business opportunities.

How was Gorodata born?

I worked for a Portuguese Telco and part of my activities involved lead generation and sales on a new product we were working on, so I acquired a fair experience in B2B sales. I had close contact with a lot of sales reps and felt that most of them had little information on their customers’ needs and new opportunities, and that showed in their results. Some time after working for that Telco, I saw a news article on a project another company was starting, that signalled a clear sales opportunity for a Telco. The sales reps didn’t know about this opportunity because they don’t want to spend a lot of effort scanning every news article and blogs for business opportunities. That was the first Buying Signal that we found that made us think about founding Gorodata. After that we started thinking about how we could automate this process with AI and differentiate in the Sales Intelligence market.

How is your product different from others in the market? What makes it unique?

Gorodata has a unique approach when it comes to Sales Intelligence. We decode and infer Buying Signals from web data. We catch companies much earlier in the purchase/decision process, when they’re not yet looking for vendors, but just planning a purchase — enabling our customers to be the first to get to a prospect, before their competitors.

If you could go back in time, is there anything you’d do differently in terms of business strategy?

We would probably start selling in several markets at the same time, like the US and the UK, and not focus only on one market, like we did in the beginning. It’s good to have some focus, however, the product you are building can be a better fit in a geographical market that is different from the one you live in.

Can you share your best marketing and/or management tips?

Keep your team motivated. Sell from day one. Ask for advice from those who know it best.

Lastly, what has been the most challenging part of growing a startup? And what’s the most fun part?

I believe that one of the most challenging parts of growing a startup is hiring. For us, it is definitely the most challenging. You have to find the right people not only in terms of qualification but also in terms of cultural fit. The most fun part is definitely achieving milestones and celebrating them together.

*Interview by Matilde Castro

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Leading early stage VC based in Lisbon, Portugal

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