Proformative announced its Series A funding today. We led the round, joined by seed investor Floodgate. It fits our model, of leading the follow-on round after a super-angel seed financing. Our first deal, Assistly, was the same model: we led the follow-on round after a True Ventures seed financing. In that case, after the round was announced, other investors came knocking to join, and we expanded the round to let in Index and a strategic investor. This may happen again this time. Proformative is a very exciting deal with three attributes we like a lot.
First, we like following Mike Maples and Floodgate. He has a hot hand right now, and in hearing how he described Proformative, I can see why. He looks at deals with a keen insight. Most folk learning about Proformative would describe it as a “community” or “social network” of corporate finance execs, and might elevator pitch it as “LinkedIn for CFOs.” Mike described it as a “marketplace for corporate finance,” getting to the essence of what makes it interesting.
Second, we like marketplace deals. Marketplaces are harder to get going than communities, but are much stickier – and they come with a built-in business model. We also looked at another Maples marketplace deal, TaskRabbit, and liked it a lot. However, it had its “Bullpen Round” from First Round before we joined the hunt, and has just received a $5M A round. We wish them the best.
Third, we like this particular community. It is the largest pool of private spending authority in the world. American corporate finance departments approve $2T of discretionary spending a year. Perhaps only bribing a Congressman brings more spending bang for the buck. It also a hard comunity to reach, which is why there is a paucity of competition. (TaskRabbit, in contrast, has drawn in a multiplying herd of competitors, like AirRun, Zaarly, FancyHands and more.) Proformative uses a noise-free approach (no advertising!) and a suite of services to appeal to CFOs. By personality they are hyper-skeptical, and therefore slow to adopt a new community; but once in, will hold to it with fierce loyalty.
We love the deal.