For SteelBrick, Lighter Capital funding provided a shot of financial adrenalin
SteelBrick used revenue-based financing to overcome an uneven revenue stream and achieve explosive growth.
Palo Alto, CA
Recent VC Funding:
Recent Lighter Capital Funding:
Seizing the opportunity
In 2009, inspired by a conversation he’d had while consulting a client, SteelBrick founder and CEO Max Rudman made the decision to pivot his seven-year-old company from consulting to developing software for Salesforce. “We recognized an opportunity,” Rudman says of the decision, “a need for it in the marketplace, and decided to capitalize on it.”
Rudman and his team developed an affordable out-of-the-box configure price quote application for high-growth Salesforce companies called QuoteQuickly. It wasn’t an immediate success. In early 2010, SteelBrick had around five customers and $10,000 in revenue.
“I was good at converting leads,” Rudman says. “Our biggest initial difficulty was figuring out the sales and marketing piece to generate qualified leads.”
And scaling up was a challenge. SteelBrick’s consulting revenue funded product development and business growth, but the bulk of their revenue came in Q4, which meant QuoteQuickly grew in fits and starts.
Then, in early 2013, Lighter Capital found them.
Technology-driven, easy, and entrepreneur-friendly
“I wasn’t looking for funding,” Rudman explains. “I knew we weren’t big enough for traditional lending or financing like a line of credit from a bank. And I didn’t think we were at a growth point attractive to a VC.”
Lighter Capital eventually offered SteelBrick $200,000 in revenue-based financing. “I liked the fact that it was a revenue-based loan,” Rudman says. “The more cash receipts we had, the faster we could pay. So the incentives were completely aligned. The better we did, the better Lighter Capital did.”
Once the financing was completed, Rudman found working with Lighter Capital to be easy. “They were constantly leveraging technology to make it more efficient and easier to service the loan,” Rudman says, “like the ability to automatically import income statements and balance sheets during the monthly servicing process. They’re relying heavily on technology to take the cost out of the lending process.”
After SteelBrick received its funding in early 2013, things started to move very fast.
An incredible year
By the end of 2013, the company had grown to 110 customers and approximately $2M in annual recurring revenue. 2014 saw continuing growth and a $6.5M Series A led by Emergence Capital Partners, and 2015 was a watershed year.
In the first half of 2015, they saw 300% year-over-year growth in bookings and revenue. They raised $18M in Series B funding in February and another $48M in Series C funding at the beginning of Q4. The whirlwind year ended with Salesforce acquiring the company for $360M.
What’s the key to the company’s success? Rudman says he’s most proud of their focus on the customer experience. “We want to make sure that every customer is successful with our product,” he says. Rudman then adds, “And when it comes to funding, look around for what’s best for your company, but don’t be surprised if it somehow finds you.”
In February 2016, SteelBrick officially rebranded as Salesforce Quote-to-Cash. Rudman now serves as the VP of product management.