Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, Joins Voyager Capital Advisory Board
[Corrected 1/27/10, 3:00 pm (see below).] Seattle-based venture firm Voyager Capital has added a heavy hitter from the local tech scene to its advisory board. He is Steve Singh, chairman and chief executive of Concur Technologies, the Redmond, WA-based software firm focused on corporate travel and expense management.
It’s another step in Voyager’s recent efforts to bring more talent and expertise to its core investment areas of software, mobile, and digital media. “One thing we were targeting was an executive who had built a successful company and had deep insights into the [software as a service] market, and software in general,” says Bill McAleer, co-founder and managing director of Voyager Capital.
Singh, an electrical engineer by training, has been CEO of Concur (NASDAQ: CNQR) since 1996. He was an original investor in the company, which was founded in 1993, and has built it up from what he calls a “garage startup” into a software giant with some 10,000 corporate customers and $247.6 million in revenue ($25.7 million profit) in fiscal year 2009. Concur acquired Voyager-backed startup Captura in 2002, which is how Singh and McAleer originally got to know each other. [An earlier version of this story said that Singh co-founded Concur; it was actually co-founded by Raj Singh and Mike Hilton. We regret the error—Eds.]
Singh’s role at Voyager will include advising the firm on its portfolio companies and future investments. McAleer says he hopes to make use of Singh’s knowledge and experience in “building a company over an extended period of time, through up and down economies, and up and down sector changes.” Singh, for his part, says he looks forward to “adding some value for apartment-based entrepreneurs” on topics like “how do you build great teams.” He also looks forward to seeing how he might apply lessons from the startup community to his own customer needs at Concur.
He seems particularly jazzed about mobile opportunities—in areas like wireless applications, digital payment, and voice interfaces. I asked what he thinks startups should do to better navigate the increasingly crowded mobile field and avoid getting swept aside by giants like Apple, Amazon, and Google. “Amazon and Apple are platforms, on which great companies can be built,” Singh says. “Look at them as infrastructure. The investments that Voyager and others make are around business opportunities that will sit on top of that infrastructure.”
It’s interesting to note the reach and connections of Voyager’s extended family. Its advisory board includes tech-world luminaries Frank Gill, Jeremy Jaech, Ed Lazowska, and Bruce Chizen (the former Adobe CEO who joined Voyager as a venture partner last September). And Sterling Wilson, the CEO of Voyager-backed mobile startup Ground Truth (which just came out of stealth this week), worked at Concur for six years in the 1990s in executive roles including chief financial officer.