By Jules Maltz
IVP is proud to announce a Series C investment in SteelBrick, a fast-growing software company dedicated to automating the sales process and boosting revenue. We were, of course, impressed with the company’s rapid growth, easy-to-implement product, and talented management team. But, as a firm that is known by our initials, we particularly respected SteelBrick’s abundant use of three-letter acronyms! SteelBrick integrates with your CRM to provide CPQ and QTC. And if you don’t know what that means, read on to learn the ABCs of why IVP invested in this special company.
A is for Acceleration
SteelBrick helps its customers accelerate sales cycles and improve cash collections. The company’s software is built natively on Salesforce, the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform used by over one hundred thousand customers. Salesforce’s CRM software helps companies track and manage their customer interactions, serving as the system-of-record for client data and progress through the sales pipeline. However, before a sale can be completed, the client must receive a quote – and this is where SteelBrick comes in. A salesperson uses SteelBrick to automatically configure the right product bundles, price and discount the products correctly, and generate a standardized quote, all simplifying and accelerating the sales process. Once the Configure-Price-Quote (or CPQ) process is complete, SteelBrick seamlessly creates a contract and invoices the client, leading to faster cash collections. This entire process is called Quote-To-Cash (or QTC), an important step in between an enterprise’s CRM and its financial accounting or ERP system. If your CRM is where you track your potential customers, and your ERP is where you count the money, QTC helps turn those potential customers into money faster. This rapidly-growing segment is a multi-billion dollar opportunity and we believe SteelBrick is poised to lead the market.
B is for Bringing the Band Back Together
SteelBrick is led by Godard Abel, a talented CEO who’s done this before. Godard started BigMachines, an early pioneer in CPQ software, in 1999. With less than $2 million of venture capital financing in the bank when the bubble burst in 2001, Godard navigated BigMachines through a difficult period to create a company that eventually sold to Oracle for over $400 million. Rather than retiring at age 40, Godard decided that he wanted to build something even bigger. He teamed up with Max Rudman, the founder of SteelBrick, who had grown the business to 50 customers with zero sales people. Godard combined the technical brilliance of Max with the business savvy of many of his former colleagues from BigMachines including Matt Gorniak (CRO), Joachim Klein (COO), Will Wiegler (CMO), and Mei-lin Cheng (VP, People), to create a world-class team that has grown from less than 10 to over 150 talented and caring people.
C is for Customer
While we liked the size of the QTC market and the experienced team led by Godard, we were most impressed with the overwhelmingly positive feedback from SteelBrick customers. While some competitors offer products that take years and millions of dollars to implement, SteelBrick can launch in a matter of weeks, often with minimal implementation costs. Because SteelBrick is built natively on Salesforce (just like an iOS app built for an iPhone), it gets up and running quickly without the need for complex integrations or long services projects. This opens up the market to smaller enterprises, who previously couldn’t afford the time and expense of traditional QTC, or larger businesses who need a faster solution. This radical improvement from traditional QTC products has led to rapid customer growth. In the last year, SteelBrick increased its subscription bookings by over 300% and grew its customer base over 200% to 350 customers, and now has more customers than any other competing vendor.
SteelBrick may have mastered the ABCs of the QTC space, but there is a lot more to be done. We’re excited to join Godard, his team, and a talented investor group including Emergence Capital, Salesforce Ventures, and Shasta Ventures to help build a category-defining software company. With some luck and hard work, SteelBrick may one day have the opportunity to add three more letters to its list of acronyms: I-P-O.
Jules Maltz is a General Partner at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA.