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FirstRain $6.4M funding shows cutting your losses can pay

Penny Herscher

FirstRain announced a $6.4 million round today, its fifth from Oak Investment Partners.

FirstRain is an example of a dot-com era company that sought out a new focus with the hope of becoming profitable. Penny Herscher (pictured left) became the company’s president and chief executive in 2005. She has since made Oak Investment Partners the majority owner of FirstRain and changed its product focus.

“I built a new management team and targeted Wall Street,” said Herscher in an interview with VentureBeat.

When it was originally founded in 2000, FirstRain deployed its “business monitoring engine.” “It was very small, with virtually no revenue,” Herscher said, “It was a technology company looking for a marketplace.”

Now its technology is served in a software-as-a-service model. The engine keeps subscribers alert to breaking industry news, trends and events, through its company-specific dashboard.

FirstRain

Instead of focusing on Wall Street, the product is now available to enterprises as a whole. Clients include SymantecCapital IQ and Fidelity. FirstRain also integrates it services on third-party websites like Salesforce.com.

Introducing Oak Investment Partners was also a pivotal change. “I needed to bring in a new inventor with a fresh appetite,” said Herscher. She explained that their previous investor, a Boston based VC, did not have the same desire for long-term investment. Prior to this round, Oak Investment Partners pumped $35 million into FirstRain over a series of four investments.

This round will expand sales and research and development teams in addition to building out its mobile apps.

FirstRain was founded in 2000 and is located in Silicon Valley.