We’re Expanding Our Mission of Improving Local Commerce with a $60M Series B
In the past three years, it’s been incredible to see how our definition of growth has evolved at Podium.
In October 2015, I can remember one of Podium’s very first growth moments. Instead of it being new product development or a shift in marketing strategy, it was actually just leaves falling off the trees in front of our office windows. We were working in an attic of a bike shop in Provo, Utah, and the building was so old that we couldn’t install a broadband internet connection. We worked out a deal where we paid for the internet for some college kids in an apartment across the street and then used a couple of routers to beam that signal over to our office. The leaves usually weakened our connection, so when they finally fell it was a complete game changer.
Since the bike shop, growth has meant more than just a few leaves and an internet connection. It’s meant new team members, new customers, and new products. All of these things combined have resulted in making Podium one of the fastest-growing software companies in history.
Today is another important day in our growth story. I’m excited to announce that we have partnered with IVP, who has backed companies such as Slack, Dropbox, and Netflix, to lead our series B round of funding. IVP, along with Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Y Combinator, is investing $60M of capital to accelerate our growth and vision. The impact of these relationships will be huge for us moving forward, but I want to share a couple specific points where you’ll see this impact right away:
We started 2015 with five employees and a mission to help local businesses get found and chosen through authentic reviews on the sites consumers use to find them. By the end of this year, our team will have grown to over 400. That growth has coincided with an equally large expansion of our vision. Online reviews were indicative of a much larger opportunity for local businesses to modernize the way they communicate. From reviews to messaging, feedback and more, Podium is now an entire platform focused on providing products to help local businesses become more convenient than they have ever been.
From the beginning, it was always important for us to know that Podium did exactly what we told our customers it would. In those early days, we maintained a 2:1 engineer to salesperson ratio. While that has fluctuated over the past couple years, our commitment to that anchor has never changed. Recently, our customers said that Podium, on average, is 10x more effective than other tools on the market. Results like that only happen through a strong commitment to design and functionality. In that light, we will be using resources from this investment to double our product and engineering teams to expand the value we provide to every one of our customers.
Podium began through conversations my co-founder Dennis and I had about the struggles my dad was having as a tire shop owner. My dad would call me and tell me about how much reviews were affecting his business and how he felt he couldn’t do anything about it. After thoroughly understanding the problem, it became clear to me that tools he used to communicate with his customers hadn’t changed for over a decade. The vast majority of investment over the past ten years has gone into building the online economy. This has left local businesses, like my dad’s, either trying to repurpose a product that wasn’t made for them or giving a lower level experience than what their customers have come to expect.
From day one, Podium was built to serve these local businesses — large and small. Today we work with 20,000 companies who use Podium to drive over 4 million interactions with their customers every month. We serve a market that has been completely ignored for far too long and I am proud of the impact we are having on each one of these companies.
From 2014 through 2017, Podium saw over 19,000% growth in revenue. Year over year, we continue to hit the most ambitious goals and projections that we have set. From customer and consumer research, we believe that within three years a vast majority of customer interaction for local business will be conducted through messaging platforms. Podium has positioned itself as the most convenient and effective way to power those interactions for local businesses.
In addition to growing in our existing markets, Podium will now be expanding to select international markets later this year, starting in Australia and the UK.
Milestones like this are a great opportunity to reflect on the hard work that has been done to bring us to this point. At the same time, it highlights the possibilities that are now available. Podium has already made an impact on tens of thousands of businesses and millions of their customers. We are dedicated to putting these resources, Podium’s platform and our immensely talented team to work in continuing to change the way business happens locally.
– Eric Rea