Clarizen is hot startup with a fantastic survival story.Today it’s growing like mad and on an IPO track. But there was a time when it was hanging on for life, co-founder and CEO Avinoam Nowogrodski told Business Insider.
Founded in 2006, Clarizen has 2,000 enterprise customers worldwide and is growing like crazy.
It offers a project management tool that marries social (e-mail, chat) with task management. It competes with tools like Asana and Microsoft Project.
But about three years ago, the company almost didn’t make it, Nowogrodski says.
“In 2008 when the big crises started, we were really out of money and customers were not yet convinced about the solution. And at that time it was very hard for us to raise funds,” he recounts.
This was his second startup. His first was SmarTeam sold in 1999 to a French corporate giant Dassault Systemes. Nowogrodski had stayed with Dassault for a six-year gig as a bigwig executive. He left that great job to found Clarizen.
With four kids, Nowogrodski wasn’t about to give up when Clarizen hit the rocks. “I cut about 50% of company. We reduced salaries by 20% of all employees. Management worked for six months without any salary.”
But survive it did and Nowogrodski says that Clarizen came out “much stronger from that point.”
Today Clarizen is rocking it.
- It’s got 2,000 customers and it doesn’t use the freemium model. They get 30 days to try it.
- 250 companies are starting new trials every day, he says.
- 150 companies are signing on as paying customers per month.
- 60% of these customers are in the U.S. but others are spread across in 67 other countries.
- The company has grown by 300% from last year.
Clarizen isn’t having cash flow problems any more. In addition to revenues from operations, Clarizen landed a $12 million series E round earlier this month, lead by Vintage Partners. Total investment to date is $48 million. Other investors include Benchmark Capital, Carmel Ventures, DAG Ventures and Opus Capital.
Nowogrodski wouldn’t say when he would take his company public, but he’s determined to get there.
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