Objective Logistics Beats Funding Crunch, Gains $5.3M, Loses Beard

7/18/13Follow @gthuang

Here’s a snapshot of one of the few Boston tech startups able to fight its way through the Series A funding crunch. Note the “financing beard” (like a hockey playoff beard) on the CEO in the photo.

Objective Logistics, which makes software to help restaurants and retailers track employee performance, has hauled in $5.3 million in a Series A venture round, bringing its total raised to $7.6 million. Atlas Venture led the round, with participation from Google Ventures and NextView Ventures.

The company, led by co-founders Phil Beauregard and Matt Grace (pictured), has been on our radar for a couple of years. Its goal is to help create the future of talent optimization, performance management, and workplace transparency. How? By selling software that crunches sales data and gives managers more insight into which workers are doing well (and which aren’t).

That leads to better productivity and smarter allocation of talent and resources, says Beauregard, the CEO, who adds that his customers are “consistently seeing a 2 to 8 percent increase in top-line sales.”

If it succeeds, Objective Logistics could follow in the footsteps of companies like SuccessFactors (bought by SAP), Taleo (bought by Oracle), and Kenexa (bought by IBM). But it still has a long way to go. So far, Beauregard says, OBJL has nine major brands using its software platform, representing 70-plus restaurants. Meanwhile, the startup has grown to 20 employees in a new office in downtown Boston.

The new VC money underscores the fact that there have been very few $5 million-ish (or bigger) Series A rounds for local software companies this year. (Also keep in mind Objective Logistics has been toiling away since 2009.) Off the top of my head, I can only think of DraftKings, EverTrue, CloudHealth, and ParElastic. That doesn’t bode well for the future of the ecosystem.

There haven’t been that many expansion rounds this year, either—CustomMade,
InsightSquared, Cloudant, Nipendo, SageCloud, Belmont Technology, and DataGravity’s big B round ($30 million) come to mind. And as for later-stage growth rounds, there have been a few sizable investments in Actifio, AppNeta, DataXu, and ExtremeReach. But the broader funding crunch for young Boston tech companies—and the health of VC firms—is definitely an issue to watch in the coming months.

In any case, Objective Logistics has made it through to the next round, and now it is heads-down trying to get its software into more restaurant chains and retail stores.

So, has Beauregard shaved off the financing beard yet (self-described as “pretty sweet/gross”)? “Bet your ass I have,” he says.

And asked if the Lego Death Star in the photo is “fully operational” (à la the Emperor in Star Wars), Beauregard writes back simply, “YES.”

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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