Funding Friday: Zipwhip and Pro.com announce major rounds

by Quinten Dol
January 18, 2019

It’s been a big week for Puget Sound tech startups. On Wednesday, Redmond’s ADURO announced a $22 million investment, the first in the company’s 12-year history. Today, business messaging service Zipwhip and tech-driven home improvement contractor Pro.com have announced sizable rounds of their own. 

Here’s what you need to know:

 

zipwhip seattle business communication startup
photo via zipwhip

Seattle-based Zipwhip announced a $51.5 million Series D round this morning, led by Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group, with help from a list of existing investors that includes OpenView, Microsoft’s venture capital arm and Voyager Capital.

Founded in 2007, Zipwhip connects a business with its customers via text message which, it says, is the most effective method of communication between the two. The company was the first to enable text messaging to and from landlines, VoIP and toll-free phone numbers in 2014, and now provides businesses with direct network connectivity, cloud-based software and an enterprise-grade API.

With fresh cash in its pocket, the company plans to expand its engineering and leadership teams and fund an “aggressive product development and expansion strategy,” according to a statement.

 

Over the last decade, we’ve grown, evolved, then grown some more as we carve out our place as the definitive leader of texting for business.”

Co-founder and CEO John Lauer said the funding would help Zipwhip develop and expand its product suite and expand its customer base.

“Over the last decade, we’ve grown, evolved, then grown some more as we carve out our place as the definitive leader of texting for business,” Lauer said in the statement.

Zipwhip, which featured on Built In’s 50 Tech Companies in Seattle to Know in 2019, hopes to get its technology into the more than 200 million business phone numbers in North America, and boasts 80 percent year-over-year revenue growth — a figure that landed it on last year’s Inc. 5000 list.

Along with the funding, Zipwhip announced that Goldman Sachs’ Private Capital Investing group Vice President Matthew Dorr will sit on the company’s board of directors.

“Zipwhip sits at the powerful intersection of a huge addressable market, a proven history in industry innovation and an agile SaaS-based approach that will allow the company to grow and evolve for the foreseeable future,” Dorr said.

 

pro.com seattle contractor startup
photo via pro.com

In a blog post on the company’s website, Pro.com founder and CEO Matt Williams this week revealed a $33 million Series B investment. The company is a technology-enabled general contractor that focuses on home improvement, and uses software to shepherd homeowners through the full lifecycle of a renovation or remodel.

“The software we’ve built covers everything from initial customer engagement and detailed digital quotes to building and managing project plans with local project managers, digital invoices, and completing the project with photos and a complete walkthrough,” Williams said in an interview with Built In Seattle.

The round was led by Kirkland-based WestRiver Group, Redfin and Goldman Sachs, along with existing investors like Madrona Venture Group, Maveron, Silicon Valley firm DFJ and New York’s Two Sigma Ventures. WestRiver Group Founder and CEO Erik Anderson, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman and Berkshire Hathaway board member Charlotte Guyman will join the company’s board as part of the funding.

Williams said he was proud to have raised capital from investors that, for the most part, are based in Puget Sound.

 

We’ve continued to launch in new cities every quarter in the last year… and we’ll probably be in another handful of cities before midyear.”

“For us there’s a strategic benefit for having folks like WestRiver, Madrona and Maveron as investors,” he said. “It strengthens the Seattle tech community, and it strengthens our relationship with that community.”

Pro.com is currently available to homeowners in Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, San Jose and Phoenix, and will soon open for business in Portland. The company will use the funding to expand into new locations.

“We are probably the fastest-growing general contractor in the country right now,” Williams said. “We’ve continued to launch in new cities every quarter in the last year… and we’ll probably be in another handful of cities before midyear.”

Pro.com also plans to expand its product offerings and grow its team, which currently employs 125 people.

“We’ll probably double again this year,” Williams said. “We’re hiring across the board, from software engineers to marketing analysts to product managers.”

 

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