Over the past few months SaaS companies have continued to announce very large funding rounds as they are demonstrating the power of their subscription-based business platforms. Many of these firms are deciding to do large private rounds before filing to go public. Here is a quick round-up of some of these firms:
The company has raised an amazing series B round of $250 million. Dropbox is the Cloud storage company that is very popular with mobile phone and iPad users. They have about 70 employees and have secured more than 40 million customers in the past 12 months. This round put the company’s market valuation at close to $4 billion. This is probably the largest B round we have seen and may have been done as an alternative to doing an IPO. Sounds like a Facebook type of story because like Mark Zuckerberg turned down a significant acquisition offer from Google, and apparently the DropBox founders, Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi, turned down a nine-figure offer from Apple in 2009.
Workday or “PeopleSoft 2.0″, has been making consistent progress towards a 2012 IPO and announced at their recent Workday Rising conference in October that they had just closed an $85 million dollar round of funding. Like Dropbox, Workday has now raised about $250 million. With this lastest round, the company is now valued at $2 billion. What was interesting is that unlike most private fundings, which are usually led by venture capital firms, this round was lead almost exclusively by institutional investors like T. Rowe Price, Morgan Stanley, Janus and Fidelity. As co-CEO Aneel Bhusri put it “In some ways, it’s an early debut of an IPO.” Workday claims they are on track to do about $320 bookings during 2011, which is more than 100% CAGR from 2010.
Another major Cloud storage company, Box.net, resisted a $600 million dollar offer from Citrix and just closed an $81 million round with Bessemer Venture Partners, NEA, Salesforce.com and SAP and existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Andreesen Horowitz. After this round the company’s valuation is $600 million. The company has about 7 million users and is leveraging a very successful ‘freemium’ go-to-market model.
With competitor Eloqua already in IPO registration to raise $100 million for their Revenue Performance Management (RPM) platform business, Marketo isn’t far behind. The company announced last week that they had just raised another $50 million in a round led by Battery Ventures along with Institutional Venture Partners, InterWest, Mayfield Fund and Storm Ventures. Marketo’s estimated size of around $15 million in in 2010, should double in 2011, but they are probably a little small to do an IPO at this point. Obviously the venture community thinks this RPM area around marketing and revenue optimization for SaaS is quite hot right now.
As part of their IPO registration, Jive Software just raised another $40 million prior to their public offering. Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers purchased stock through preferred warrants. Jive is provides an enterprise social business platform. Currently the company is on a $80 million run-rate but still not profitable and has raised close to $100 million overall.
Enterprise subscription commerce and billing provider Zuora also announced a large round of funding last week. The company raised a Series D round of $35 million from Index Ventures, Greylock along with a personal investment from Workday co-CEO Dave Duffield and their existing investors. To date the company has now raised $82 million. Zuora plans to use these funds to aggressively expand their distribution activities internationally, specifically in Europe.
The common thread for all of these companies is that they have businesses that are growing rapidly and have built very scalable platforms. With the IPO window open, but the public markets are still uncertain, we will probably see more of these type of IPO-preview type of funding announcements as SaaS firms continue to gain momentum in the market.