Funded in the Alley: Trello Raises $10.3M



Fog Creek Software’s website claims that they build great companies. Must be true, as they’re spinning out yet another company, Trello, a free app that makes working on group projects as easy as using sticky notes on your whiteboard, as its own company. And they just closed $10.3 million in funding, co-led by Spark Capital and Index Ventures.

Available on your phone, tablet, and desktop, Trello’s drag-and-drop interface and visual way of organizing your tasks makes sure you always know what needs to get done and who’s working on it. Whether it’s your sales pipeline, new employee training program, a home renovation project, or even your wedding, Trello is flexible enough to make sure you’re on top of all your important projects.

CEO Michael Pryor (co-founder of Fog Creek, along with Joel Spolsky, who is CEO of Fog Creek spin out Stack Exchange) fills in the details.

What was the funding process like?

As Joel pointed out in his blog, we didn’t take any outside investment until we already had traction and revenue, so we could choose the investors that we thought were the most entrepreneur-friendly, and we kept control of the company.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

Actually, the funding was painless. We are working with investors we like and have worked with before.  The painful part was dealing with the accountants and the paperwork involved in the spinoff.

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?

An alignment of interests and a history of working together.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?

Only raise capital if it makes sense for the type of business you are creating. We created a successful and profitable bootstrap software company before we even considered launching projects that would benefit from VC.  Read this: Strategy Letter I: Ben and Jerry’s vs. Amazon

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

100 Million users! So far, over 4.5 million people have signed up for Trello.

What are some interesting projects that people are using Trello to track?

Markerly posted a guide to how to build an editorial calendar with Trello. Gaslight shared how they Trello (Ed: It’s already a verb? That’s always a good sign.) Buffer named us one of 8 helpful tools to keep your company on track.  The Wikipedia App Team uses Trello for their day to day, week to week, and sprint to sprint development cycle. The Challenge Post uses Trello to Manage Continuous Delivery and Avoid Bottlenecks. The list goes on.

After a long day of managing projects, where do you like to go to kick back with the team?

We want our employees to have a good work/life balance, so in that case I’d tell them to go home and hang out with their friends or family :)

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