xIQ Using AI to Power Sales Teams with $1.1m Raised with CEO Usman Sheikh


In Episode #523, Nathan interviews Usman Sheikh, CEO and founder of xiQ – an award-winning platform for personalized sales, marketing intelligence, and content marketing. He’s the former vice president of SAP AG and he’s pushing digital frontiers by delivering consumer grade experiences in B2B sales and the marketing space. xIQ is the winner of the prestigious 2016 Content Marketing Institute Award for best integration of mobile and content marketing.



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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – Zero to One
  • What CEO do you follow? – Bill McDermott
  • Favorite online tool? — Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— No
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – Take risks as early as you can.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:49 – Nathan introduces Usman to the show
  • 02:30 – xiQ is a next generation sales intelligence tool designed for B2B sales and marketing professionals
  • 03:04 – Usman worked with the top leaders of the world in SAP
  • 03:30 – xiQ extracts the most relevant content from the most reliable sources
  • 04:00 – xiQ is a SaaS product
  • 04:16 – xiQ was founded in 2014, and released in early 2016
  • 04:44 – xiQ raised 2 rounds of seed round
  • 05:08 – Total amount raised
  • 05:37 – Team size is under 15 and is based in Silicon Valley
  • 06:05 – xiQ has 10 corporate customers and thousands of individual customers
  • 06:35 – Average pay of corporate customers
  • 06:57 – Average MRR
  • 07:24 – Usman discusses one of their clients, GenPact, and how they use xiQ
    • 07:42 – First, xiQ is used as a marketing intelligence tool to track competitors
    • 08:47 – All data is real-time
  • 09:20 – xiQ uses Apache Solr technology to index and for natural language processing
  • 09:50 – xiQ gets their corporate customers from organic traffic
  • 10:32 – xiQ‘s process is the reason why corporate customers end up buying from them
  • 11:12 – List size
  • 11:24 – xiQ has 1 inside sales person
  • 12:29 – No cancellations/churn yet for xIQ
  • 12:53 – CAC
  • 14:10 – LTV to CAC ratio
  • 15:10 – Connect with Usman through LinkedIn, email and website
  • 16:50 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Experience is a great teacher—continue to learn and hone your skill set.
  2. Building a business takes time and there is always room for improvement.
  3. Take risks as early on in life as you can.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel
  • Toptal– Nathan found his development team using Toptal for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal
  • Host Gator– The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Audible– Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • The Top Inbox – The site Nathan uses to schedule emails to be sent later, set reminders in inbox, track opens and follow-up with email sequences
  • LinkedIn – Usman’s LinkedIn account
  • Usman@xiQ.io – Usman’s email address
  • xiQ.ai – Usman’s business website
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives