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Viewpath CEO Natalie Steck

Seattle-based project management technology company Viewpath announced $2.3 million in seed funding Tuesday morning and named a new CEO, longtime sales and marketing executive Natalie Steck, recharging and regrouping in an attempt to make a bigger push into the fast-growing project management market more than a decade after the company was founded.

The goal is to “accelerate and magnify the business” — ramping up hiring, product development, sales and marketing to bring Viewpath’s project and resource management technology to a larger set of business customers, Steck said in an interview this week.

The $2.3 million investment was led by WestRiver Group, a Kirkland, Wash.-based investment firm led by Erik Anderson, CEO of Topgolf.  WestRiver Group managing partner Anthony Bontrager, who previously led companies including OneCast and Broadstream Communications, is now Viewpath’s chairman. The company’s original angel investor, the Barbo Family Fund, led by former Shurgard Storage CEO Chuck Barbo, also maintains a stake.

Steck is a native of Australia who moved to the U.S. in 2012 as part of an expansion by the OCA Group technology and services group. Most recently senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Seattle-based Qorus Software, she is a qualified personal trainer, nutritional therapy practitioner and amateur body-builder in her spare time.

“It’s a good mind challenge,” she said of body-building. “I like to challenge myself. I like to push myself really hard, and there’s no better aspect of that than having to control what you eat and what you do and your mindset behind that. It’s a really good exercise in terms of running a business. You’ve got to be in that right mindset.”

Dean Carlson, Viewpath’s founder and former CEO, remains a shareholder but no longer has a day-to-day role. Carlson and the company declined to discuss the specifics of his departure, but he said they remain on good terms. Carlson said he’s bullish about Viewpath’s future, citing “room for significant growth in the project management and resource management space” in the years ahead.

Viewpath founder Dean Carlson left his position as CEO but remains a shareholder.

The global market project and portfolio management technology is currently estimated to be nearly $4 billion, and Viewpath cites projections that it will grow to $5 billion in the next few years.

That “offers an opportunity for there to be a lot of winners in the space, and we hope Viewpath is one of them,” said Bontrager, who was an adviser to the company before becoming chairman. WestRiver is ramping up its equity investments in the Pacific Northwest, he said, and Viewpath is part of that broader effort.

But project management is also a highly competitive market. Viewpath, which currently has five employees, is competing against larger companies including San Francisco-based Asana and Seattle-area rivals such as LiquidPlanner and Smartsheet, which recently completed a $150 million initial public offering.

Whereas solutions such as Smartsheet have done a good job appealing to “the accidental project manager,” looking for an alternative to a spreadsheet, Viewpath’s technology offers more functionality in areas such as GANTT charts, and resource and capacity planning, Steck said. The idea is to appeal to “deliberate project managers that are out there looking for a tool with with a real, pure project management feature set,” she said.

Viewpath is a software-as-a-service solution that integrates with the Salesforce customer relationship management and ServiceMax work order platforms. With the release of its upcoming Viewpath 4.0 update, the company will be rolling out a “vastly different user interface” with the goal of making the experience much more user friendly, Steck said. Longer term, the company is planning new integrations with Google’s G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 platforms, she said.

The company cites existing customers include Abbott Laboratories, Logitech and Fender guitars, among others. Viewpath is used heavily by field technicians in industries including healthcare and manufacturing.

Carlson, the founder and former CEO, said the development of Viewpath 4.0 took longer than expected, but he pointed to key features including Salesforce integration as well as what-if and scenario planning as key to differentiate the product for large enterprise companies.

“I’m very proud of what the Viewpath team has accomplished on a relatively small amount of capital in contrast to the Smartsheets of the world,” Carlson said. “We’ve got some very big-name customers, and in going from a 3.0 generation product to a 4.0 generation product, I’m very proud of how we stuck to our guns and developed great capabilities, which I haven’t seen matched by any of our competitors out there.”

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