LiquidPlanner Raises $8M In Hot Market for Project Management Tools

5/8/14Follow @bromano

LiquidPlanner has spent five years, and a relatively modest amount of capital, developing a sophisticated scheduling engine that is at the heart of its project management software. Now, the company is raising $8 million from San Diego’s TVC Capital and Seattle-area angel investors including Geoff Entress and Bill Bryant to sell its offering to a broader market.

It’s the second notable funding round for a Seattle-area company making project management software this week. Smartsheet announced a $35 million raise on Monday.

“The space is definitely heating up,” says LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce. “There has been a lot of money pouring in over the last year or so.”

In addition to Smartsheet, which had raised $26 million in late 2012, Pearce notes recent funding rounds for a couple of LiquidPlanner’s direct competitors: AtTask, which raised a $38 million Series D round in February, and Clarizen, which brought in $12 million in a mid-2012 Series E round.

Pearce says LiquidPlanner differentiates its project management offering with a scheduling engine that can crunch data on dozens of complex projects being worked on concurrently by teams of dozens of people managing thousands of discrete, interdependent tasks. The cloud-based software can automatically update schedules—accounting for variables including planned personnel absences and project dependencies—for the entire portfolio of projects when changes occur.

For example, an IT department might use the software to manage long-range infrastructure deployments and system upgrades, as well as day-to-day work. Then, when a senior executive sets a new top priority for the business, the IT department can drag-and-drop that project to the top of the portfolio in LiquidPlanner, which recalculates the schedules of all the other projects automatically.

Pearce

Pearce

“That really is still a manual process for people using traditional tools,” Pearce says. By traditional tools, she means things like Microsoft Project.

The software—which costs $24 per user per month, if purchased in yearly increments—can also calculate the likelihood that a project will be completed by a certain date, using best- and worst-case estimates.

“We basically accept the idea that there’s uncertainty in the work we do,” Pearce says.

LiquidPlanner started business in 2007 and raised a $3.1 million seed round in 2009 from angel investors. It will use the new funding to double its staff of 45 in the next year as it continues product development—new features are released every couple of months with an update due next week—and ramps up marketing. Pearce says the company has more than 2,000 customers in more than 60 countries.

The top industries for LiquidPlanner are professional services, marketing teams, and software developers, she says.

As part of the investment, Steven Hamerslag, managing partner of TVC Capital, is joining LiquidPlanner’s board.

Benjamin Romano is editor of Xconomy Seattle. Email him at bromano [at] xconomy.com. Follow @bromano

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  • Terry Schmidt

    Great news! Project management needs better tools, and few exist which calculate the implications of adding new projects to an existing stack. But the old phrase Garbage In Garbage Out still applies. Front-end strategic tools like the Logical Framework Approach help ensure sound project designs, then Liquid Planner takes over.