If there’s any doubt at all in your mind about whether or not technology is starting to mature, 11-year-old Union Square-based Knoa Software just raised a $5.1M round for their workforce optimization software. Their patented software delivers real-time insights to make impactful decisions about workforce efficiency, optimization and employee motivation. In other words, they’re measuring whether or not a company is optimizing the optimization software that they’re using.
Previous investors Ascent Ventures, Gefinor Capital, Advantage Capital Partners and Rand Capital all returned for this latest round and Knoa CEO Brian Berns gives us insights as to what the company is doing right that keeps their investors coming back.
What was the funding process like?
The investors had previously participated in a funding round and that certainly facilitated the process. However, we prepared the supporting business case as if we were presenting to new investors. The business case needs to stand on its own regardless of your relationship with the investors.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
First, keeping our focus on the business and not letting the fund raising process distract the team. Second, developing and implementing a compelling strategic plan for growth – always a complex exercise in this fast-paced market. We were fortunate to be able to navigate both simultaneously, and successfully.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our core business is strong and we identified opportunities to expand the business into new markets globally. This includes a plan to extend our technology to create new and innovative solutions in the area of workforce optimization.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I have co-founded several start-ups and my advice is to live within your means. It’s imperative that you focus on proving the value of your products, establish a solid base of customers and extend your reach via synergistic partnerships. The New York market offers a plethora of resources, including a highly educated and experienced workforce, and a cross-section of the most prestigious target customers. It is also very competitive and customers have very high standards; so you need to be at the top of your game when you engage the market.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
We plan to execute on our plan to expand our global reach and partner network. Our world-class developers are innovating very exciting solutions; we essentially have a start-up mentality with the advantage of the resources and stability of an established company. My goal is also to continue to create a supportive and stimulating work environment. Our employees are our greatest asset and one of our core values is empowerment of the individual! Our other core values are teamwork, productive partnerships, innovation and customer success.
Which is your favorite New York area beach?
TOBAY beach – Clean, quiet, beautiful. (Please keep it a secret!)
(Ed: Ok, you didn’t hear it from us.)