Whereas most VCs are justifiably known by the tongue-in-cheek Vulture Capital term, Foundry Group are the genuine good guys

I’ve known of the Foundry Group venture capital firm for a few years now. I’m a long-time attendee of the awesome Glue and Defrag conferences run by Eric Norlin in Colorado and, since Colorado is the home of the Foundry and its principals, I’ve run into those guys a few times.

One of the four Foundry founders, Brad Feld, is a long-time marathon runner and we’ve shared a couple of casual runs in the past (thanks for arranging TA McCann!) and Cloudability, the cloud spend-management company that also has the distinction of being the first ever company I angel invested in, raised venture funding from the firm. Finally, I’m a long-time supporter of the TechStars incubator programs and have been a mentor at many of them – Feld and Foundry were instrumental in sett up TechStars.

In my dealings with it, the Foundry Group has shown itself to be very much atypical when it comes to venture funds – they’re approachable, friendly and, as much as can be possible given that their only deliverable is to nurture the funds their own investors trust them with, founder friendly. Sure they do show that tendency to wax lyrical about their investment themes – and I’m fairly certain that given a large enough crowbar, pretty much any startup can be forced into a broad-enough theme, but that aside, Foundry is the real deal – savvy investors, good guys and ecosystem friendly.

So I’m stoked to hear that Foundry is making a large investment, by way of a $16 Million Series B, into one of my favorite SaaS apps, HelloSign. Ryan McIntyre, one of the Foundry’s founders, will be joining the board and alongside Foundry HelloSign is picking up cash from previous investors Zach Coelius, USVP, Greylock, Tien Tzuo (CEO of Zuora, another company I’ve had a lot to do with), Keith Rabois and Webb Investment Network.

HelloSign would seem to be at an inflection point – one that speaks to its own progress as well as broader industry trends.

Cloud and online is the default

E-signing and cloud-based form automation are becoming the default way of getting things done. It was only a few years ago that I still had to grapple with paper-based forms and fax machines. In the blink of an eye, HelloSign takes care of the vast majority of forms I need to fill in. I use it every day and it really makes a difference to my productivity. of course competitive products also have this same impact and the space generally is becoming ever-more buoyant.

HelloSign on a roll

The launch of HelloWorks earlier this year and, with it, the move away from simple e-signing to a much deeper workflow automation model showed that HelloSign was “growing up” and becoming less of a nice peripheral feature and more of a deeply embedded tool within organizational workflow. This is a continuing trend and I can see HelloSign becoming more of a platform (excuse the overused word) upon which a bunch of third party vendors can build their own valuable tools. The fact that HelloSign is also now compliant with HIPAA and SOC2 is another validation that third parties will use to embed HelloSign in health and financial-related industries.

HelloSign launched in 2010 and since then has gained 50,000 business customers across 150 countries. And they’re justifiably proud of that fact:

“We’ve succeeded in building a fast-growing and cash flow positive business built with only a modest amount of funding. Now we’re ready to pour fuel on the fire,” said Joseph Walla, CEO, and Co-founder of HelloSign. “This is an inflection point — we’ve already been growing rapidly, and now we’re going to accelerate that growth by aggressively investing in the talent and technology necessary to define the next generation of digital workflow for the enterprise.”

Over the last year, HelloSign has seen rapid growth and made moves that see it move up the foodchain and start to look at the enterprise opportunity. A few proof points: the company has made key management hires including Whitney Bouck as COO (former head of the enterprise business and global marketing at Box), landed major enterprise customers, as well as launched integrations with Oracle Document Cloud and Salesforce.

I’m a fan of HelloSign and enjoy watching their scrappy fight battling some bigger and more powerful competitors. Congrats on the funding round, team!

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

Leave a Reply