On Monday, BestVendor secured $3 million in Series A funding to support the company’s mission to become the leading resource for business professionals looking for the best web, mobile and desktop applications. Seeking to capitalize on a market segment seemingly neglected relative to the consumer app space, BestVendor is building a community that reviews and recommends work applications for prospective users, thereby generating optimum results that are in line with its goal to let people ‘discover work apps you’ll love.’
BestVendor views the work app sharing segment as a logical extension to today’s social web, in which users have demonstrated their willingness to showcase and share all aspects of their personal lives. “Ten years ago it would have seemed weird that we all share our resumes online using LinkedIn. We’re working towards a world where professionals are sharing the tools they’re using online and it becomes part of their identity,” BestVendor co-founder Jeff Giesea told VentureBeat earlier this year. The company, which was founded in January 2011, launched its beta in early-November and already has over 5,000 startup and small business professionals signed up and sharing their favorite work apps.
The $3 million investment, co-led by RRE Ventures and SoftBank Capital and supported by Lerer Ventures, Old Willow Partners and David Tisch, comes after a $600,000 seed investment in mid-2011. “We’re thrilled to partner with SoftBank Capital and RRE Ventures to level the playing field in business software,” said Giesea. “They share our vision of bringing greater openness to this rapidly evolving market and to business purchasing in general.”
In addition to CEO Jeff Giesea, BestVendor is led by co-founders Ben Zhuk, Head of Product and InSITE alumni, and Magnus von Koeller, Head of Engineering. Over the last several months, InSITE has worked with BestVendor’s senior management team to support the company’s rapid growth, providing strategy advice within several key areas, including viral strategy, user testing, financial and user growth modeling, and recommendation engine development. The InSITE team consists of Adler Perotte, Rebecca Allen, Alejandro Chahin, Mark Krafft, Ed Rayner and Zak Schwarzman. Zhuk said of his experience with the InSITE team:
It’s been great to come back to the other side of the InSITE relationship and bring a new group of students into a startup. InSITE students are always a cut above, and a great help at whatever they set their minds to. This fall, our team split into functional units to create value in every part of the company: our financial model, our marketing plan, product-market fit and user testing, and even the math behind our recommendation algorithm.
I only wish the term could be longer, so we could keep working with this group!
This post was written by Mark Krafft, Columbia Business School Class of 2013.