My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is being stretched beyond my comfort zone on a daily basis. Today is hardly any different, as I’m very proud to announce that Help Scout has raised $6m in funding as part of a Series A round.
People who know me will be very surprised by this announcement. I’m a bootstrapper at heart and always have been. Our business raised a small amount of money ($800k) following Techstars four years ago and has been profitable for the last 18 months.
So why change what’s working? One great thing about spending life outside of my comfort zone is that I’ve learned to hold nothing sacred except for values — my personal values, my company’s values and my customers’ values. Everything else is subject to change based on what we learn along the way. I may be more comfortable in a bootstrapped business, but when the business and market fundamentals point to a different path, it’s important to consider what’s best for the business.
What I’ve learned specifically on the journey with Help Scout is that we’re on to something exciting. Next month we’ll convert our 3,000th paying company and have over 23,000 active Users. People resonate with the promise of Help Scout and the customer-centric values we’re teaching. Now that we’ve got a great team and a product that’s helping people around the world, it makes sense to invest in what’s working.
Since values are the one thing we hold dear at Help Scout, it was critical to find values-aligned partners for the next chapter. Fortunately it didn’t take long, because my top two choices both ended up giving us term sheets. The round is led by Foundry Group, with participation from CommonAngels Ventures.
Foundry Group is a VC I’ve always wanted to work with. They are a group of like-minded (but much smarter) people who totally understand our business and were eager to bet on our team. From the moment I met Ryan McIntyre for the first time, it only took eight days to sign a term sheet. All four partners are among the most efficient, decisive people I’ve ever met.
CommonAngels Ventures is a wonderful group of accomplished entrepreneurs that invest together as a small Boston-based VC fund. Maia Heymann, the partner we’re working with, has been a trusted advisor and mentor of ours for years. She and the CommonAngels network have supported our vision for the business from day one.
Our purpose as a company remains the same: create value for customers. In addition to ongoing investments in the product and content, the funding enables us to invest in new marketing channels we haven’t had the budget to get involved with to date.
From a financial standpoint, our goal is to use the funding to grow the business and become profitable once again. Just like we did with our seed investment, we’ll use the money to reach our goals and re-evaluate future opportunities for growth without committing to a funding strategy ahead of time.
On behalf of the team, we are humbled and excited to start the next chapter of the business. There’s no doubt we’ll be outside our comfort zone all the while, but will remain committed to the values that got us to this point.