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Usermind CTO Przemek Pardyak and CEO Michel Feaster.
Usermind CTO Przemek Pardyak and CEO Michel Feaster.

Usermind is bringing on another top-tier investor as the Seattle startup continues to develop its enterprise business operations platform.

The company today announced a $14.5 million round led by Menlo Ventures, the Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that manages more than $4 billion and has investments in companies like Uber, Rover.com, and others. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Charles River Ventures also participated in the Series B round.

Usermind launched back in 2013, raising an initial $7.6 million Series A round led by Andresssen Horowitz. At the time, the company had just a prototype and a handful of employees, explained CEO and co-founder Michel Feaster.

But now Usermind employs 30 people and has a legitimate product that is bringing value to around 15 customers, Feaster told GeekWire. The fresh cash will help Usermind build out its enterprise software platform that helps make business operations (BizOps) more productive and efficient.

“We are an enterprise software company building fairly complicated software,” said Feaster, who co-founded Usermind with CTO Przemek Pardyak. “Companies like us have a longer incubation period than a consumer startup.”
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Feaster likened her company to an orchestra conductor who manages different musical instruments and is required to have them all playing together in harmony. Those instruments, in this example, are analogous to the various standalone enterprise applications a given company uses — along with the finance, sales, marketing employees — that help serve customers in today’s digital world.

The idea is to unify all business data in one place for easy access, while allowing employees to measure and optimize their processes and make necessary changes.

“We provide software that acts like a conductor,” Feaster said.

Feaster added that Usermind is helping innovate with “BizOps” much how fellow Seattle-area company Chef created “DevOps” software that lets developers automate work flows and speed up how quickly they can build software applications.

While “DevOps” is more about making the software development process more efficient, “BizOps” does the same — but for the “other side of the business,” Feaster explained. The idea is to put more focus on today’s digitally-minded customer and provide better actionable analytics to drive growth.

Here are a few slides that explain what the company does:

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“It’s all about breaking down the walls between sales, marketing, finance, etc., to deliver the best customer experience,” she said of ‘BizOps.’ “It’s very similar to the ideas that already emerged with changing IT.”

Feaster said that the BizOps category is new, and Usermind has a chance to be first-to-market with its product.

“We think we are inventing a new way to do something,” she noted.

Usermind will use the fresh funding to expand its sales and marketing teams, as well as continue investing in development of its platform. Menlo Ventures Managing Director Matt Murphy is now on the company’s board as a result of the Series B round, joining Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Ben Horowitz.

“Silicon Valley companies like LinkedIn, Dropbox and Uber have shown the world just how powerful and transformative BizOps-enabled companies can be, but they’ve done it with custom software and large technical teams,” Murphy said in a statement. “Mainstream businesses can’t adopt BizOps until it’s more affordable and automated tools are readily available. I chose to invest in Usermind because its co-founders have tremendous vision and saw this market need three years ago.”

Feaster added that there is a $30-to-$60 billion market opportunity, noting that she hopes Usermind follows in the footsteps of other successful Seattle-based software-as-a-service B2B companies like Chef, Apptio, Avvo, and Avalara.

“The quality of our investors speaks to the fact that they think there is a big enough market opportunity to build a standalone company,” she said. “We hope to be part of the next crop of successful enterprise software startups in Seattle.”

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