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Cognism’s story

Cognism’s story Startup Stories

In a society where “cold-calling” is looked down upon, Cognism developed a solution to make sales much more efficient using machine-learning.


  • Number of employees: 400-500*
  • Headquarters: London
  • Founders: James Isilay and Stjepan Buljat
  • Founding date: 16th January 2015
  • Current valuation: ~$450M*
  • Total funding: $126.7M* (as reported by Crunchbase)

* Information is undisclosed and presented values are unofficial estimates

Case Study:

One of the biggest problems regarding sales in today’s modern day world is that most people spend way too much looking for prospects rather than actually selling. In a society where the term “cold-calling” is looked down upon, Cognism found a gap in the market and developed a solution to make the process much more efficient using data.

Cognism is a machine-learning platform for the real time curation of content and leads, turning news and social change into actionable sales opportunities. Formed in 2015 by two lead entrepreneurs James Isilay and Stjepan Buljat, the company helps accelerate sales and recruitment leads. The problem recognised by Cognism is that client data and client news are disconnected, making prospecting and account management highly manual. As a solution, the company put in place an end-to-end sales-acceleration solution that provides sales organisations with a more efficient way to prospect. Delivered as a software service with its unique data asset and compliance engine, Cognism is helping to enrich CRM records, stream leads and is using artificial intelligence to surface opportunities tailored to each client.

Back when SFC Capital first invested in the machine-learning platform, the company already had some traction, which started with just 6 clients with a Year to Date of 41,000 by the time of their pitch. Worthy of mentioning is also their Monthly Recurring Revenue at the time, which was £4,500 with £10,000 in the pipeline. Strong initial traction was not the main reason why SFC Capital raised £100,000 through its Fund and Angel Network in 2016. It was more so the team behind the business. Likable, hard-working, skilled and in possession of important expertise are all terms that perfectly describe the team working behind the company. Cognism grew quickly, which led to expanding the team and increasing their revenue to £100,000/month.

Fintech Sandbox, a nonprofit that helps Fintech startups access data and build great products, hosted Boston’s largest gathering of Fintech entrepreneurs back in March of 2016 to celebrate its one-year anniversary. Sponsored by the likes of prestigious companies such as Ernst & Young LLP, MassMutual Ventures, and S&P Global Market Intelligence, Cognism was one of many attractive startups that were promoted at this special event, allowing them to gain the attention of other entrepreneurs and influencers as well.  

Another worthy mention of Cognism is that the company was also selected for a great event hosted by Winton Labs, a London-based accelerator programme for data science startups. Run by the venture division of global investment management and data technology firm Winton, the programme’s mission is to mainly attract early-stage companies whose model centers on the creation or application of data or data science. This was also a great way for Cognism to really blast off in their early beginnings, ushering that their hard work and due diligence to spot this opportunity in the market has not gone unnoticed.

In Q1 2018 SFC Capital followed its initial as Cognism raised £400,000 from Newable Private Investing with the goal to to open new offices in the United States. This round also involved the London Co-Investment Fund. The fast growing AI company quickly continued with Series A funding lead by South Central Ventures, who invested £2M.

With the company already showing massive amounts of progress since its birth, we have no doubt that Cognism will continue to excel in this growing industry and establish a presence with their new offices in the United States.

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Updated on: 31st August 2023

Alex Batlle Bosch Alex Batlle Bosch
Brand Manager