To New Beginnings: Announcing our Series B
We just raised $66m in Series B funding! Sequoia led the round, and their partner Bryan Schreier will be joining the Board. We’re also welcoming DFJ’s Josh Stein as a new investor.
We announced our Series A 20 months ago — the announcement went out the day we closed the round, a feat we couldn’t replicate this time around: I guess as you grow bigger, everything takes more time… 🙈
Before anything else, I wanted to mention how proud I am of the team behind Front. During funding announcements, the founders usually receive most of the attention, but the truth is that a huge part of my job for the past two years has been to find amazing people to join our team — and amazing they are!
From A to B
One thing hasn’t changed since we announced our Series A: it’s still very hard. I don’t know how other startups are doing. I assume that comparatively, we’re doing OK — we were able to close our Series B in 7 days (I’ll detail that in a future post). Yet it still feels like an uphill battle. It’s a different kind of challenge than it was at the Seed or Series A stage, where we were “simply” trying to make something people want. The problems we face now are less severe, but we also have many many more of them.
But at the same time the number of things that can go wrong has gone up, so has the number of things that can go right. Building a company is as hard as it is rewarding. Knowing that our work can improve the life of so many users today (and much more tomorrow!) is amazing on its own. People spend so much time on work communication that even the slightest impact at that scale is compelling.
What’s also really unique about it, for me, is the opportunity to create a great work environment. A workplace that as many people as possible can be proud to be part of. As the company grows, the opportunities for everyone involved grow as well. I’m not just talking about the financial prospects, but more so about the access to great people (colleagues, advisors, customers, investors, etc.), the diversity of challenges in all departments, the career paths that become possible within the organization, the personal development and training that the company can now afford to invest in, and of course the fun and the friendships. Through the ups and the downs of the rollercoaster, I try to remember that, and it makes it all worth it.
This is Day 1, Again
Because fundraising so often marks a change of scale, and a shift of focus in the problems you’re tackling, it also feels like a new beginning. Even though we have 2500 customers, even though it’s our 3rd round of funding, that’s how I feel right now. We now have 8+ years of runway in the bank. For the first time, we can assume that Front will be around for at least that long. We can finally start laying foundations that match our long-term ambitions.
The general trend in SaaS has been to create more specialized tools, that then end up creating more silos between teams and make collaboration that much harder. We want Front to be the opposite: a truly horizontal SaaS, one that everyone in a company could use, and as more people use it, everyone else gets more out of it. Email is the most successful example of such a tool, but still we think it could be so much more. There’s an opportunity to leverage the inbox to better unify teams, and centralize their communication channels and tools, so that they’re more productive and more engaged. That’s our ambition for Front. And if we truly want to help so many different people do so many things, then we need to build the strongest foundations. Starting today!
That being said, I try not to forget that fundraising is not an end in itself. It’s partly a validation of past performance, partly a bet on the future. I like to see it as a ticket we’ve earned for another ride, a longer journey that I’m incredibly excited about 🙂