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Slope co-founders Brian Bosché and Dan Bloom at GeekWire Startup Day 2016. (GeekWire File Photo)

Smartsheet didn’t have to go far to make its second acquisition.

The Bellevue, Wash.-based publicly-traded work collaboration software company has swooped up Slope, a small Seattle startup founded in 2014 that helps companies manage the creative project production process. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The two companies began talking a year-and-a-half ago, said Gene Farrell, senior vice president of product at Smartsheet. They had joint customers and discussed adding integrations between the two services. That’s when Smartsheet, which serves 76,000 brands and 90 percent of the Fortune 100, realized Slope could help fill a gap in its product offering related to content production.

“We try to touch every department and customer use case we can, but one area where we felt we could do a better job is supporting content mark-up and approval flows,” Farrell said.

Slope helps more than 100 customers — including Microsoft, SendGrid, CBS Sports Network, and the Seattle Sounders — manage requests, plan projects, review work, and collaborate on content such as videos, photos, documents, and more. Smartsheet plans to support the current customer base and roll out an integrated solution in the future.

(Slope Photo)

Slope founders Brian Bosché and Dan Bloom will join Smartsheet, along with five other employees. They originally started the company five years ago as a creative agency in Detroit but became frustrated by inefficiencies in creative marketing collaboration. That spurred them to create Slope, whose official company name is TernPro.

The entrepreneurs moved to Seattle for the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator and went on to raise $2.6 million from investors including Second Avenue Partners, which led its seed round in 2016. They won first place at GeekWire Startup Day in 2016.

“We created Slope to solve the slow, inefficient process of planning creative projects, tracking progress, collecting feedback, and getting approvals from the right stakeholders,” Bloom said in a statement. “We realized in talking to Smartsheet that they are uniquely able to expose what we’ve built to more people, across more use cases, in more geographies around the world. We’re excited to get started.”

Gene Farrell. (Smartsheet Photo)

The acquisition follows a trend of Smartsheet adding more features that allow the 13-year-old company to grow its footprint within businesses, giving customers one place where they can access various work management tools.

“Customers are seeing lots of little niche applications for very specialized use cases pop up,” Farrell said.

Farrell added that “almost every department across a company creates content of some type.” Smartsheet sees numerous use cases for Slope’s technology, ranging from construction customers taking photos in the field to training teams building out curriculum assets.

In its third quarter earnings report, Smartsheet said it continues to see strong growth with its largest customers — 360 companies now spend more than $50,000 annually with Smartsheet. It had 34 customers reach that milestone in Q3, up from 26 in the prior quarter. There are 127 companies that spend more than $100,000 per year.

Smartsheet beat analyst expectations for its third quarter, posting $46.9 million in revenue, up 59 percent. Its stock is up 31 percent since the IPO in April.

Smartsheet, which has 4.5 million active users and is valued at about $2.6 billion, is among a crop of “collaboration work management” enterprise companies attracting interest from investors in the public and private markets. Others include Asana, Airtable, Wrike, Trello, and giants such as Google and Microsoft.

Smartsheet’s first acquisition was almost exactly one year ago, when the company bought Converse.AI, an Edinburgh-based startup that develops intelligent chatbots for business communication.

Smartsheet recently surpassed 1,000 employees and opened new offices in Boston and London. It released a host of new features at its Engage customer conference in October.

Founded in 2005, Smartsheet was one of four Washington companies to go public in 2018. Others include tax automation company Avalara; e-signature powerhouse DocuSign; and industrial laser maker nLight.

Editor’s note: Smartsheet is a GeekWire annual sponsor.

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