A Chat with Rob Harlow, Co-Founder and CINO at SaaS Platform: Outbase

Outbase is a SaaS platform that helps businesses achieve more success with their sales prospecting.
We launched the platform in May 2022, which connects B2B users with over 230M professional contacts and starts sales conversations by building a sequence of personalised outreach emails.

It then delivers high-quality, hot leads directly into the businesses’ sales funnel, leaving in-house sales teams with more time to focus on closing deals.

Outbase’s platform is agile and equipped to support businesses operating within just about any B2B sector, currently serving customers in industries such as Marketing and Advertising, IT Services and IT Consulting.

The beauty of Outbase is that it offers SMEs a selection of sales and prospecting tools that were designed with non-technical users in mind, allowing a whole new audience to benefit from prospecting. Its self-service platform can be used easily by smaller teams within start-up businesses, as well as larger, in-house marketing specialists — so it’s highly-effective yet extremely user-friendly.

Organisations with designated in-house marketing and sales teams may think that this type of product is superfluous, but when you look at some of their common pain-points, this is far from true. Outbase can actually be an incredible support to specialised sales and marketing teams.

For example, we know that organisations, regardless of size, struggle to keep their email databases up to date. We surveyed 500 marketing and business professionals in May 2022 and found that, for more than four in five respondents, 20% of their email marketing database was out of date. For a quarter of those we surveyed, this database decay was a staggering 40%.

Outbase takes in-house sales and marketing teams’ expertise and product knowledge and places it in front of the people that need to hear from them most — using real-live, accurate data — rather than a scattered mass email approach that yields poor results.

In terms of growth, as a new company, we’re highly ambitious. We are aiming to increase our customer base to several thousand by the end of our first year.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I’ve always described myself as a “dedicated geek”, and have had a passion for technology for as long as I can remember.

I fell in love with coding when I was around eight years old after being given a ZX Spectrum. I ended up spending the entire summer copying the code for Hangman. Around five years later, I sold my first website, and my interest in technology just grew from there.

I worked in software development for a number of years, and have also worked across a variety of industries, from insurance and online car broking to fintech and now, martech. I’ve found myself on the lookout for ways to solve everyday business pain points using technology throughout my career.

I’ve also worked closely with high-growth, early stage tech startups as part of my involvement with The Founders Hub, a peer-to-peer community offering support and direct investment to thousands of startups, and this has sparked a lot of inspiration over the years. It was here that I gained more insight into the daily struggles of smaller, startup businesses, across a variety of fields, trying to market their offerings, get their messages out there and generate sales leads.

These experiences are what eventually led me to launch Outbase this year. Our goal was to provide a platform that enables everyone to run their own perfect prospecting campaign, whether that’s supporting solo founders growing their startup or experienced sales leaders managing large sales teams.

We wanted to develop a scalable, reliable and consistent marketing channel that companies could fully control themselves, and use to take their business to new heights. The end result was Outbase.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of months?

With the initial concept under our belt in 2019, we spent over two years in development to create a self-service solution that ticked all the boxes and did everything it needed to do.

We were excited to finally launch the Outbase platform this Summer, which has been developed from the ground up to support prospecting campaigns at scale.

Marketing Automation is by no means a new field. However, Outbase is the only system that has years of knowledge and expertise behind it, with hundreds of optimisations each contributing to the overall lead rates.

It’s still very new to the market, so our main focus now is supporting our existing clients and acquiring new ones.

At the time of this interview, we just surpassed 300 registrations, which was an exciting milestone in Outbase’s early growth. We look forward to sharing our customers’ success stories as the platform grows and showing prospects all the different ways Outbase can help their business.

What can we hope to see from Outbase in the future?

We have an exciting roadmap for Outbase over the next few years — specifically when it comes to research and development (R&D) and building on the platform’s features.

As part of this, we plan to roll out more targeting options for our customers including news alerts, intent based data and website traffic alerts. We also plan to offer a multichannel outreach format including direct mail, programmatic ads and micro gifting. Ultimately, these new features will be designed to help businesses of all shapes and sizes reach their target personas.

We will also continue to grow our team, with plans to double our current headcount of 11 by the end of the year. This will include not only our team here in the UK, but also internationally, as we look to expand into new territories such as the US.