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Podium, a Utah-based company that helps businesses manage reviews and communicate with customers online, announced today that it has raised $60 million in financing. The round was lead by IVP and joined by existing investors, including Accel, GV (formerly known as Google Ventures), and Y Combinator.
Founded in 2014, Podium has grown from five employees at the beginning of 2015 to more than 300 today, according to CEO and cofounder Eric Rea. Rea got the inspiration for Podium after watching his father, who owned a tire shop in Canada, struggle to incorporate the tech tools needed to manage the number of online reviews coming from different sources, including Yelp, Facebook, and Google.
Rea said Podium customers typically pay from $299 to over $500 per month. Podium charges companies based on the number of physical locations they have, so Rea said some enterprise customers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Podium currently counts over 20,000 businesses as customers.
Podium’s bread and butter is its reviews product, which allows businesses to send customers a text inviting them to write a review and helps companies spot trends in online reviews and see how their reviews compare to those of competitors. Podium also has a messaging platform that allows companies to respond to email, Facebook, Google, and Webchat messages from a single page. Podium’s products integrate with Salesforce and Square, among other platforms, making it easier to track customers through the entire review process.
Rea said that while he considers San Francisco-based Intercom to be offering services similar to Podium’s, he thinks what differentiates Podium from other companies is its focus on helping small businesses and those with physical locations.
“Although ecommerce is booming, there are just so many things we do in our daily life that can’t be done online — like you are never going to get your teeth cleaned or cavities filled on the internet,” Rea told VentureBeat in a phone interview.
While Rea declined to share exact revenue numbers or Podium’s valuation, he said that annual recurring revenue had increased from $12 million to over $30 million during 2017. The new round of funding brings the total amount of venture capital Podium has raised to just under $100 million.
Rea said that Podium will use the new funding to add more engineers — the company maintained close to a 2:1 ratio of engineers to salespeople during the first few years of business — and expand internationally, specifically to the U.K. He also said that Podium would start to target more enterprise-level customers.
“It’s just been interesting to see that not only do single location businesses have this problem — where they don’t have good tools to run a modern business — we notice as we go upstream and we talk to businesses that have thousands of locations, they’re basically in the same boat,” Rea said.
Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, Podium is one of a number of startups in the “Silicon Slopes” region to have received investment from Silicon Valley firms in recent years. When asked about how the company is looking at the recent IPO filings of nearby Pluralsight and Domo — two of the most well-known startups to raise money in Utah in recent years — Rea said “We’ve been basically able to scale our business by looking at what they’ve done and following their examples and learning from their mistakes.”
Update, 8:35 a.m. Updated to clarify how long Podium maintained a 2:1 ration of engineers to salespeople during.
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