Val Yermakova, BS 16
Co-founder, Warmly,

Val Yermakova, BS 16As salespeople know, behind every sale is a relationship. But what happens when that employee who enthusiastically bought your product moves on to another job?

Such a scenario drove Val Yermakova to co-found Warmly, a startup whose software helps B2B salespeople identify former customers in their new positions.

“We help you find qualified warm leads with people who already love your product,” says Yermakova, the company’s chief product officer and a former designer for Google. “Instead of doing cold outreach and spamming anyone you can find on LinkedIn, we’ll tell you, ‘Hey, these people already like your product and can be an advocate or champion for you.’”

Warmly, (the comma is included in the name, as in an email sign-off) works in concert with customer relationship management software such as Salesforce and HubSpot. The company launched in March and so far has secured scores of customers (startups and smaller companies) and raised $2.1 million in startup funding.

Yermakova’s job is to figure out the product and market fit to attract mid-market companies. “There’s so much ambiguity,” Yermakova says. “It can certainly feel like you’re in free fall sometimes.” She relies on the discipline she learned as a competitive ice skater and wrestler to help her stay focused.

Working remotely from Hawaii (Yermakova, her three co-founders, and their significant others share a house) helps too. “Whenever you feel stressed,” she says, “you have the ocean in your backyard to calm you.”