A technology industry veteran with a strong Tampa connection is working to help corporate leaders better trust the data collected by their companies.
Mark Briggs leads Validity, which has developed a tech platform that works in conjunction with customer relationship management databases to ensure the information in those databases is accurate and useful.
About a year ago, Validity opened a Tampa office that now has the highest headcount of the company’s three offices, including its corporate headquarters in Boston and its international office in London.
The Tampa office has hired 80 employees since August and is planning on making 35 additional new hires in the rest of this year; click here for a link to the company’s career page. Fourteen people have been hired since Jan. 1.
Validity will cut the ribbon on its 23,000-square-foot office in the Westshore Business District in Tampa Wednesday evening. The office, on the top floor of One MetroCenter, is newly remodeled to accommodate a growing staff that’s largely concentrated in customer support, sales and marketing.
“2018 was a crazy year for us. We were hiring dozens of people every week. We had triple digit sales growth,” said Briggs, who was named chairman and CEO last May, after Silversmith Capital Partners, a Boston-based growth equity firm, invested an undisclosed amount in Validity.
Validity has about 40,000 customers in 150 countries, but Tampa was an easy choice for an office location, Briggs said.
Briggs has worked with several companies in the Tampa area. He previously was CEO of ABILITY Network, a healthcare technology firm and one of the largest software developers in Tampa.
“I learned how great the Tampa community is for professionalism and enthusiasm and great work spirit. I love how the Tampa community is reinvesting,” he said. “So when it came time for us within Validity to think about where we wanted to make big investments in growing the sales and customer support and parts of the marketing organization for our company, it was a really easy decision to go to Tampa.”
The company’s software works within existing CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics.
“What we find,” Briggs said, “is that as companies grow, data that’s inside those CRM systems becomes clouded. The data quality erodes. The business impact of that leads to missed sales forecasts, lousy customer retention, all these business drivers that people are trying to improve.”
For instance, email addresses can “erode,” producing low responses to an email marketing campaign.
“What we’re able to do with the assessment part is give you a sense of how you are doing. Is the data quality you are experiencing the normal erosion that we all experience, or are you a little bit worse or better in certain areas. Then around those areas where we identify a problem, some of the tools that we offer in the Validity platform will help you fix it,” Briggs said.
The company also can work with other databases.
“Maybe you have a machine learning system that you’re trying to train with some training data, and you want to know how good your training data is. Or, you’ve got a marketing automation systems like Marketo or MailChimp that integrates with your CRM, so you’ve got a data quality issue. We try to give you an overall view of how you’re doing and then tools for each one of these different systems to fix the problems we uncover,” Briggs said.
The new Tampa office includes a training center. The company is in constant communication with customers about challenges they are facing, and soliciting feedback on new solutions, Briggs said.
“That is a continual process. It’s not that we train you up once and you’re set to go. The training center is a good example of that. We made a substantial investment in an infrastructure to ensure that the team continuously can benefit from everything we are learning from the market and from our customers, all the innovation we hope to continue to bring,” Briggs said.
Validity develops its own technology and also picks up technology from acquisitions. Briggs expects to announce more acquisitions this year.