WorkBoard triples again in 2019, raises $30M from a16z to celebrate

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WorkBoard, a SaaS startup that gives purpose setting and administration software program to different firms, introduced at the moment that it has closed a $30 million Series C. The new capital comes lower than a yr after the startup raised a $23 million Series B. WorkBoard has raised $66.6 million to date, in accordance to Crunchbase.

Andreessen Horowitz’s David Ulevitch led the spherical, which noticed participation from Microsoft’s M12, GGV and Workday Ventures, every of which had put cash into the corporate in previous rounds. 

Why did WorkBoard announce a Series C simply 10 months after its Series B? That’s what we wished to discover out. As it seems, the reply is development. 

3x, twice

The firm is rising rapidly, making it a beautiful funding for the enterprise class. However, it’s ineffective to clarify its development in numerical phrases if we don’t perceive why it’s rising as rapidly as it’s. 

WorkBoard gives software program and companies to different firms relating to how they plan and observe their progress in opposition to their plans. More merely, WorkBoard helps different firms set and leverage OKRs, an acronym that stands for “objectives and key results.”

If you’d like a longer-winded rationalization of how the idea works, our notes on the corporate’s Series B are the jam. Briefly, OKRs are a planning framework that assist firms set their course intelligently, and execute throughout smaller duties that add up to the route they need to go. You full “key results” over a given time frame, which roll up into your “objectives.”

It’s a reasonably okay manner to arrange an organization’s planning system. OKRs are well-liked in Silicon Valley, the place Google popularized the strategy. It was not clear, at the very least to your humble servant, how far the concept had unfold when WorkBoard raised its Series B final yr. What if the startup raised a bunch of cash after promoting into fertile floor (startups conscious of OKRs), however struggled when it went after different, non-tech firms?

Whoops. After boosting its annual recurring income 3.5x in 2018, WorkBoard tripled its ARR again in 2019, in accordance to CEO Deidre Paknad. Thinking out loud, WorkBoard raised its Series A in December of 2017. It in all probability had $1 million to $Three million ARR on the time, a large however regular-ish vary of ARR for a startup elevating its first institutional (priced) spherical. Given its 3.5x and 3x outcomes in 2018 and 2019, beginning proper after that Series A funding, the corporate’s ARR is now probably over $20 million and doubtless nearer to $25 million. 

So if it could double this yr, the startup could start to method IPO scale in 2021, supplied that its development can sustain.

On that time, I requested Paknad about her market, particularly in regards to how a lot work she and her staff had to do in phrases of market schooling; did they’ve to convey the gospel of OKRs to firms, promote them on the concept, and then promote its software program? Or had the necessity to educate about OKRs themselves gone down?

She indicated that as a substitute of needing to pull the market in direction of her agency, the trendlines are higher than impartial. According to the CEO, it was more durable to promote OKR software program “five years ago” as a result of “the need to educate” a half decade in the past “was intense.” Companies have been caught on their love of PowerPoint and comparable, dated tooling. However, that want for “education has declined rapidly” Paknad stated. 

She says that in her firm’s expertise there’s “ever broader recognition that if you want to drive smart growth — not growth at any cost but smart growth,” firms will want to have “everybody in the organization aligned, and you need to be able to see what they [are] aligned on.” 

OKRs are a pure and well-explored manner to try to accomplish that.

That market motion has helped the corporate have very environment friendly operations, in phrases of the standard raft of SaaS metrics that we perceive. Paknad informed TechCrunch a couple of issues that caught out:

  • WorkBoard has a “hyper-efficient” enterprise gross sales cycle, closing new prospects in “under 60 days” which might be “several hundred thousand dollars in average deal size.”
  • That its “average deal size has more than doubled since the beginning” of 2019.
  • For each $1 that WorkBoard spends on gross sales and advertising prices, the corporate generates “about $2 in new ARR.” (That’s manner higher than the $0.86 in common ARR generated by $1 in new gross sales and advertising spend for SaaS firms extra broadly.)
  • And, it didn’t want to increase this spherical, with Paknad telling TechCrunch that she hasn’t “spent the 23 [million dollars] from March yet,” however that it determined to add capital as a result of that “opportunity really is unfolding in the way we would like,” and that her agency has an “opportunity to have really definitive enterprise leadership.”

The investor perspective

TechCrunch received Ulevitch, WorkBoard’s latest lead investor, on the cellphone. Ulevitch referred to as Paknad “a force of nature” who “really connects to customers.” That was all effectively and good, however extra enjoyable have been his notes on how the spherical got here collectively.

Paknad informed Ulevitch after WorkBoard’s March 2019 Series B that her firm would triple in the yr. When it did, Ulevitch stated she didn’t need to wait any longer to put cash into the agency. And the funding got here collectively rapidly, with the Andreessen Horowitz investor noting a roughly one-month timeframe for the deal’s lifecycle.

This spherical isn’t exhausting to determine. Fast-growing, environment friendly SaaS firms make buyers dream of the following Slack. Let’s see if WorkBoard can double or triple in 2020. If so, we’ll be chatting with Paknad about exits and IPOs, not middle-sized, middle-stage rounds.