Yesware Talks About Hiring Plans and Seed Funding from Google Ventures, Foundry Group
Yesware, the Cambridge, MA-based developer of e-mail plug-ins for salespeople, announced today that its $1 million first-round funding came from Google Ventures, Foundry Group, Golden Venture Partners, and angel investors Geoffrey Hyatt, Colby Wood, Mike Baker, David Cohen, Mike Dornbrook, and Will Herman. The money will go toward developing Yesware’s technology for helping salespeople contact leads and helping sales managers track their workforce’s activities.
“Google and others can make better e-mail, but I really think if you want to hit it out of the park, this whole concept of vertically adapting e-mail for a specific vertical problem or task is just a brilliant space,” Google Ventures partner Rich Miner said on a phone call this morning.
Foundry Group’s Brad Feld has a track record of investing in e-mail-related startups, such as Email Publishing, Return Path, and SendGrid. “He was top of my list of people I wanted to work with because he has such deep e-mail investing experience,” Yesware founder and CEO Matthew Bellows told me today.
As Bellows explained when we met this summer, Yesware first raised the $1 million funding on the premise of building an entirely new e-mail platform for salespeople, but its board members suggested it change its model to work with existing e-mail systems (it now plugs into Gmail and Android phones and is in the works for Outlook). The software offers e-mail templates for helping sales people pitch and follow up with potential leads, and can copy those e-mails to salespeople’s accounts on customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle CRM, and Highrise. That information helps sales managers track their employees’ actual activity with potential customers, instead of requiring them to rely on what the salespeople enter themselves into their CRM accounts. “It saves time and provides better data,” says Bellows.
Yesware also provides reports to salespeople showing them how contacts are responding to e-mails and enabling them to prioritize who to follow up with first. Those reports can be viewed on a mobile browser for free. The Yesware e-mailing templates are also available via its Android mobile app, which costs $4.99. The Yesware software is available for free to individual salespeople, but starting in October, Yesware will charge sales managers who want to use the technology for their teams, at $20 per user per month.
The company, which has three full-timers and several contract and part-time employees, is “hiring like crazy,” particularly in the engineering department, says Bellows. “This funding and next round of funding is all about building up the team,” he says, noting that the company will soon start looking to raise its Series A round.