Some entrepreneurial ideas are born in the lab. Jon Zimmerman’s latest entrepreneurial effort emerged at the Crossfit gym that he co-owns in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. Encountering paperwork challenges at the gym, Zimmerman figured there had to be a better way to streamline the daily activities that many small businesses encounter.
Zimmerman joined with another former Expedia veteran, Steven Brewer, to come up with Front Desk. And while the entrepreneurial duo aren’t saying too much about the 8-month-old upstart, they’ve lined up cash from two heavy hitters in the Seattle tech community.
Nick Hanauer, the early investor in Amazon.com and aQuantive, and Rich Barton, the former CEO of Expedia and Zillow, have joined in the company’s recent $1 million angel financing round, GeekWire has learned.
In addition to the Expedia connections, Zimmerman previously ran a hedge fund called L1 Partners that included cash from both Barton and Hanauer. That fund was wound down last year, with some of the cash returned to investors.
Now, Zimmerman and Brewer are pushing ahead with Front Desk. The upstart already has about 250 paying customers, small businesses that pay anywhere from $15 to $50 per month for the software-as-a-service. “We think there is a big opportunity to revolutionize the front desk experience,” said Zimmerman, adding that they’ve already inked a partnership with DocuSign in order to help streamline the document processing and signing process at small businesses.
Barton and Hanauer are good friends, and they’ve been known to participate in other startup investments. They are backers of King of the Web, a Seattle startup that runs online video competitions, and Qliance, a Seattle-based health care provider.