Namely, a cloud-based people management platform, recently completed a Series A raise of $3.35 million led by True Ventures. Matt Straz, Founder and CEO, shares some insights into what went into the company’s securing the round.
What was the funding process like?
I began meeting with VC firms in March after preparing a brief investor pitch deck. The presentation included a market overview, team info, product details, and business plan. Once the deck was ready to go, I met with around 20 firms. Some firms focused mainly on the product, while others wanted to know about the market and our business model. All firms wanted to know what made me tick as a founder.
After the meetings, we had multiple firms that were interested in leading our Series A. However, True Ventures was the clear choice. This San Francisco-based firm had a refreshing focus on the entrepreneur and we really hit it off.
In early June, three months after the process kicked off, we announced a $3.35 million Series A financing.
The current round had a wide mix of venture capitalists from both coasts. How do you manage all the different voices at the table?
It’s important to select a group of investors that are like-minded and similarly aligned. I selected True Ventures to lead our Series A because they reminded me a lot of our seed investors, Lerer Ventures and Bullpen Capital. Each firm is comprised of former (and current) founders who had built successful businesses and understand what it takes to build a business.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The process can be difficult, even for the most experienced entrepreneur. Founders love their startup – otherwise they wouldn’t be dedicating their life to it. VCs, on the other hand, get pitched a lot. They need to say “no” 99% of the time, even if they like you or your idea. Sometimes the timing is wrong, other times they can’t get all of their partners on board. There are a hundred possible reasons for a VC not to move forward.
Fortunately, in our case we had the luxury of choosing the firm that was the best match for our vision and culture. We intend to spend the next decade building this company, so a fit was really important.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
HR software is a $15 billion industry undergoing massive change. Cloud technology and dissatisfaction with current solutions are driving this. For example, only 19% of companies are happy with their performance management system. Namely was funded because of this change in the market and the promise we’ve shown in building a better solution for managing people and teams.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
The number one job of a founder is to not let your startup run out of money. If you can’t raise more money now, then you must conserve what you have. In our case, we did not sign a lease for office space until we had our Series A in the bank. We kept our monthly burn modest and hired slowly.
But founders should always be raising—whether it is closing a round now, or building relationships with investors for a round in the future. The funding process never stops, if you are building a venture-backed business.
Namely is a cloud-based people management platform that enables high growth, innovative companies to manage their people and teams with data.
Namely offers a robust performance management system, including goal setting, HRIS with skill tagging, time off tracking, team planning, and reporting – all in one system. The platform is in use by a range of organizations, including tech firms, media companies, and ad agencies. Clients include Buzzfeed, Saatchi & Saatchi, Birchbox, GroupM, and Thrillist.
CEO Matt Straz founded Namely in January 2012. The company is led by professionals from the technology and media industry. Namely has raised $5.25 million in funding from True Ventures, Lerer Ventures, Bullpen Capital, and over a dozen media and technology executives. Founder and CEO Matt Straz co-founded Pictela, the brand content platform that was acquired by AOL in 2010.