Award case study: Find out how Cognism won the award for 'UK-founded martech vendor of the year'

Find out how Cognism raised $12 million via AXA Venture Partners and helped over 1000 customers in 30 countries with compliant prospect data. Read about their other 2020 achievements and why they won the coveted award for 'UK- founded martech vendor of the year'.


2020 brought increased demand from B2B companies for compliant, real-time prospect data to find and deliver new revenue streams. In a world where physical meetings, expos, and face-to-face networking was largely cancelled, and against a backdrop of increasingly harsh penalties for those who fall foul of complex data compliance regulations – there was a need for abundant, compliant, and accurate prospect data.

In 2020 London-based Cognism addressed these needs for its customers – helping organisations find prospects, generate revenue, and crucially, delivering data that’s entirely compliant in each of the countries in which it operates. It’s a challenge that Cognism has met head on for customers and the reason it believes it is worthy of winning Martech Vendor of the Year.

It’s been a meteoric rise for the company. The innovative globally compliant go-to-market B2B intelligence company was founded in 2015 and in FY2020 grew 58% year-on-year increasing revenue from £5.4 to £8.5 million. Its patented AI technology makes finding the right prospect faster, more accurate, and completely compliant for customers and has allowed them to thrive in 2020.

It operates in 30 countries, has 1000 customers, and delivers significant value by providing better data for sales and marketing teams to use.

About Cognism

Cognism was founded by James Isilay in 2015. His background in investment banking and algorithmic trading saw him develop intelligent solutions for optimal trading and helped him identify an opportunity to create a solution using machine learning to provide businesses with effective leads.

Today it is a world leading all-in-one globally compliant prospecting solution and one of the fastest growing SaaS companies in the UK. Powered by patented AI technology, it provides organisations with compliant B2B data and a suite of sales and marketing acceleration tools to help action it.

2020 highlights:

  • Raising $12 million via AXA Venture Partners (March) and the acquisition of signature marketing platform Mailtastic (May).
  • Grew ARR by 58%.
  • Cognism helped over 1000 customers in 30 countries with compliant prospect data.
  • Its workforce grew by 35% in the last six months of 2020 – taking the team to 200 (In January 2017 there were just five).
  • Global team - based in seven countries including the USA, Canada, South Africa, and Germany.
  • Global customers include Checkout, Seismic, Amazon Logistics, and South China Morning Post.

Differentiator: Compliance with the EU’s GDPR legislation. Most of Cognism’s competitors are US-based and, after the introduction of GDPR, chose to exit the European market rather than implement the new law into their workflows. This has given Cognism a highly competitive advantage in the European marketplace and positions it as a clear frontrunner in the race to become Europe’s premier B2B data company.

Future vision: To become a premium brand in the B2B sector.

About its solutions

Better Data for Better Sales Performance

Cognism removes the pain of accessing clean, compliant prospect data. It is always-on data.

Cognism Prospector provides sales and marketing teams with a more efficient way to find and connect with new prospects at the optimal time, match organisations to their ideal customer profile, and target them when they're most likely to buy.

Prospector has 400 million+ B2B profiles with global coverage across 10 million companies and 5.6 billion data points relating to individuals. 800k data points are updated daily through the patented AI technology. There is always new data!

Cognism engages with customers through multiple channels, including webinars, inviting them to share what they would like to see from the product in order to meet their business targets.

About its customers

Cognism’s truly global customer base comprises:

  • Over 1000 customers located globally (currently in 30 countries).
  • Customers include: Checkout, Seismic, Amazon Logistics, South China Morning Post.
  • Key markets are within software sales, and advertising and marketing agencies.
  • Audience is C-suite – typically the CMO or CSO.
  • Cognism is in regular contact with its customer audience through a series of events, webinars and sharing knowledge.
  • The ongoing support from Cognism is cited as a true differentiator by customers.

Its solution addresses:

  • A need to be data compliant to avoid fines
  • A need for constantly updated and accurate prospect information
  • An ability to continue accurate/successful prospecting whilst operating under current world constraints of no physical networking.

Customer satisfaction, loyalty and development

Cognism has 5-star rating on peer-to-peer review site View it here:

The company measures customer satisfaction via NPS (Net Promoter Scores) – all customers are sent feedback forms where they rank Cognism from a score of 1-10 and leave feedback. The company’s average score is 8.


In conjunction with its 5-star rating on, Cognism has won some key awards in the last year.

  • LinkedIn Top Startups 2020
  • Latka 250 Fastest Growing SaaS company

With the working world changing in 2020, the awareness of Cognism increased, in many ways thanks to the influencer market. The company has invested time in building strong relationships across the B2B marketing community through joint activities reaching wider audiences including podcasts, webinars, and a 10K following on LinkedIn.

Tech enhancements

Cognism shares its technology roadmap with customers in order to receive feedback and direction to enhance its solution and deliver new functionality. The company openly surveys customers – which is well received.

James Isilay recently hosted a 2021 product roadmap webinar where customers and the wider B2B marketing community were invited to attend.

2021 is focussed on new services including ‘intent data’ which will help to prioritise those leads that are already showing interest. Cognism will be partnering with a market leader in this area.

Market engagement and/or leadership

Engaging with customers and potential customers is key to the ongoing development of Cognism. The company develops and shares assets, including industry whitepapers and e-books, focusing on issues including generating opportunities through intelligent data. James Isilay, CEO, is a regular spokesperson on AI, data quality, and intelligent prospecting. He regularly heads up the company’s webinars to ensure customers and target markets have visibility of him and his opinions and knowledge of the market. The webinars regularly feature external B2B influencers.

The company also frequently calls upon key B2B sales/marketing influencers to take part in its podcasts to share industry experience. 

Recent guests include Frank Brooks, Head of Marketing at Dot Digital and Karla Rivershaw, Head of Marketing at Turtl.

The company now has over 10k followers on LinkedIn

Business performance

2020 was an exceptional year for Cognism

  • 58% growth year- on-year and revenues increased from £5.4 to £8.5 million.
  • $12 million via AXA Venture Partners (March).
  • The acquisition of signature marketing platform Mailtastic (May).
  • Grew ARR by 58%.
  • Helped over 1000 customers in 30 countries with compliant prospect data.
  • Workforce grew by 35% in the last six months of 2020 – taking the team to 200.

“We’ve generated many new, better quality leads thanks to Cognism and consequently, we’ve seen a lot more interactions with campaigns. Our MQL to SQL conversion rate for one particular client is now 75%, and 50% for conversion from SQL to forecasted opportunity. The quality of the contacts supports the campaigns we are running very well, and these are great conversion numbers.”

Graham Reed, New Business Director, Ice Blue Sky

B2B Marketing Awards 2021

This submission won for 'UK-founded martech vendor of the year'. 

Check out the winners here!

Martech Awards