Jama's first major VC round is a doozy: $13M
PORTLAND, Ore. - Jama Software has grown to $8.5 million in sales and nearly 100 employees in six years thanks to its own funding and the strength of its own business.
Put differently, it stands apart within the top-tier of Portland startups for one big reason: It reached these pinnacles without the help of institutional venture funding.
But to reach its next stage of growth -- and add its next 100 employees, possibly within the next two years -- Jama had to break that pattern.
The Portland startup, a maker of collaborative project management software for businesses, this morning announced it raised $13 million in a Series B funding round led by Silicon Valley based Trinity Ventures, with participation from Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group.
"We've decided that now is the right time to bring on some additional growth capital," CEO Eric Winquist said in an interview last week. "We'll really grow and build Jama into a big company here in Oregon."
Jama was self-funded at the start and attracted $1 million in an angel round largely sourced locally from the Oregon Angel Fund and the Bend Venture Conference. Jama never tapped into it.
The company's software was borne from the acknowledgement that communication is a major problem in product development. Jama's software
The company was born from the recognition that communication was a major problem in product development. Its software attempts to solve that by, in Winquist's words from last February, "integrating how we work with the actual work being done." The product brings efficiency to product creation by giving business stakeholders a window into the process.
The company has more than 600 customers, including several Fortune 100 companies, but with the new funding round it's hoping to exploit new opportunities overseas. As of February, foreign markets accounted for just 20 percent of the company's revenue.
"This year we've continued to grow and and expand and we're seeing a tremendous amount of opportunity to expand into large enterprise customers, and geographically," Winquist said.
Along with the funding, Karan Mehandru, a general partner at Trinity Ventures, will join Jama's board.
Jama's revenue has grown by around 900 percent over the last four years, which Winquist said gave the company a chance "to really look for an investment partner that was willing to fund our plan and understood what we wanted to do."
And, he said, one that believed in Portland tech companies. Trinity has also invested in Portland-area software companies Act-On, Cloudability and ShopIgniter.
Already, Jama is doubling the size of its engineering team. It also plans to invest in its sales and marketing efforts.
It now employs 80 and will be at 100 by the end of the year. Winquist said Jama plans to add another 100 employees within the next two years.
"(The funding) will allow us to step on the gas from a growth perspective and build out the product faster," he said. "We've been a company that's flown under the radar today. What we're seeing is major shifts in the marketplace and there's opportunity to make a significant splash."