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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Yesware Is For Salespeople

Comments (27)

Yesware just announced a $4 million financing. I’ve joined the board. If you are a salesperson who uses Gmail, go download and try it now.

I’ve been using Yesware since the first alpha release. While I’m theoretically not a salesperson, I believe every CEO and professional plays the role of a salesperson. And many people, especially in young, fast growing companies, are salespeople even if that’s not their title. As far as I’m concerned salespeople are the unsung heros of most US companies.

The brilliance of Yesware is that it was conceived and built by salespeople, for salespeople, from the perspective of living in email. Most salespeople I know live in email, hate their CRM system, and are constantly switching between the two while bemoaning the idiocy of the whole thing. The whole CRM thing is for sales managers who want to actually track what the salespeople are doing. But it’s all about email for the salespeople. And that’s what Yesware is focused on.

As a seed investor in Yesware, it has been pretty awesome to watch the product evolve and and the user growth spread to over 40,000 users through word of mouth only. As a result of our word of mouth approach, the product has to be great and responsive to the users.

As an investor, I’ve encouraged the team to push a new release once a week, focus on both registrations and daily active users, and instrument every aspect of the product so we can see what’s happening at a very granular level. While Yesware is only available for Gmail, it’s been an outstanding platform to iterate aggressively on and get this kind of feedback. Now that Yesware has nailed the use case with the seed financing and has a serious user ramp happening, it’s time to go after Outlook.

I’m psyched for the Yesware team and proud to be involved with them.

  • http://twitter.com/mikeppierce Mike Pierce

    Your post is right on. I’m reading this post inside Firefox with my other tabs being Gmail, Google Calendar, Hootsuite, and Zoho CRM.

    This new systems could be awesome. I’ve been wanting to track emails but couldn’t for so long. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://twitter.com/kevinyien Kevin Yien

    I had the pleasure of meeting some guys from Yesware at an SF Beta event last year (enthusiastic guys). They’ve made some great progress since then.

    Wanted to get your opinion on Streak; not necessarily as a competitor, but just as another player. Big fan of both these guys embedding CRM into email (where most of us have to spend a lot of time).

    Excited to see how robust they can become, while maintaing the power in their simplicity (right now).

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Streak is a replacement to Salesforce, Insight.ly, Excel spreadsheets or the post-it notes on the side of your monitor. Yesware wants to make all those systems better by improving the data that goes into them and showing you the data inside right where you are working. We wish the Streak guys all the best but we think competing with all of the other CRM vendors isn’t necessarily the right way to improve sales effectiveness.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.bellows Matthew Bellows

    Thanks Brad! You’ve been a huge help to us so far. Much more to come.

    • QualityCoding.info

      It’s good to see people improving email systems.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    woah, $100 of financing per user… crazy. Does yesware cost anything? I couldn’t find any pricing anywhere.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      What’s crazy about that? Many early stage companies raise more money with less users. I’m not funding them based on the number of users they have gotten to date, I’m funding them on the trajectory they are on, the quality and relevance of the product, and the opportunity they are going after.

      Re: Pricing – the base system is free. There is current a Yesware Plus version for $5 / month / user – http://www.yesware.com/product-tour

      • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

        I suppose your right. I just tested it out and can’t figure out how they are tracking emails without invisi-pixels. So it looks like they are already ahead of the curve there!

        $5 per month? Gah.. that’s way too cheap.

        • http://www.feld.com bfeld

          I look forward to $5 / month being way too cheap. We are focused on building so much value that everyone that signs up says this.

          • http://twitter.com/mhargra Marshall Hargrave

            For true sales people, it’s way too cheap. But at $5 / month I think they will get many more users who don’t consider themselves “salespeople” but see the tool as useful, such as myself. I would probably pay upwards of $10 / month, anything over, probably not. Or I would be interested in a pay-as-you-go, where I can pay a flat fee that’s useful for certain campaigns.

          • http://www.feld.com bfeld

            Good suggestions – we’ll fiddle around (slowly and carefully) with pricing over time. Our goal will be to always provide much more value than the cost!

  • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

    We’ve done 100 or so videos since we started, and Yesware is special. They have pushed out stuff fast, fast. It was clear from day one that it was an amazing fit. I hope that they find a way to tackle mail.app for the OSX.

  • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

    The other things that Yesware does well is “ambient project management.” For us, we know when someone got an email, when they referred to it again to get after it, and all that stuff. We don’t have to chase things because we are assured that “Jeanne opened the email” an hour ago and she’ll be getting her part into the system. It provides reassurance and confirmation messages that what we do is mattering.

  • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

    Great to see you investing relatively early on your assessment of product, team and your assessment of potential. If you could wait until it was one million engaged users paying a fortune I guess the job would be a little easier. :)

    • QualityCoding.info

      But if you wait that long how much would you have to pay?

      • http://petegrif.tumblr.com/ Pete Griffiths

        Precisely.

        • http://twitter.com/mhargra Marshall Hargrave

          Price is relative, everything is about risk.

  • QualityCoding.info

    Cool, you mentioned “seed financing.” That’s great, you related the company stage that you described with a specific name for the financing. “Seed” many times means “idea” or “proof of concept” stage. But the read can see that “seed” also pertains to later stage – up and running, selling, growing – investments.

  • http://abdallahalhakim.tumblr.com/ Abdallah Al-Hakim

    very interesting Brad. FYI. I am not a sales person but have been reading about many CRM startups and how they are focused on being linked to social media – Yet the point you make is that for everyday sales person they value email the most (which makes sense). I hope the investment works out for your group!!

  • http://www.invokeselling.com/ Michael Scott

    Brad – I could not agree more, sales people are the unsung heroes! Everyone from ceo, to acct mgr, to receptionist should know how to sell and can read free publications like http://www.invokeselling.com for free sales training and sales tips

  • http://twitter.com/mhargra Marshall Hargrave

    Brad – It’s been great using Yesware. I am not a salesperson, nor do I use Yesware directly for that but everything I (and really everything most people do, whether they realize it or not) is selling. It is a versatile tool that I use for various campaigns. I think what these guys have done is great, they haven’t, nor should they, reinvent or compete on the CRM front, they are merely making the CRM progress more seamless. They recently introduced their Mozilla version, works as great as the Chrome one.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome – glad it’s working for you and thanks for reinforcing my point that “salesperson” is really a metaphor for what many of us spend out time doing.

  • KyleVanPelt

    Since this post, I have been playing around with Yesware and I think you have made a terrific decision to invest in this company. Being a sales person, I am extremely excited about having my CRM live in my e-mail.

    What a great idea that the world has been begging for and has now received!

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome – glad you like it.

  • http://bsoi.st/ bsoist

    Thanks. Looking forward to checking it out.

  • http://patrickfoley.com/about Patrick Foley

    As a happy Outlook user (and whiny CRM user), I’m very exited to see this heading my way. Please let me know if they need any highly engaged testers/custdev users. I assume they’re connected with the right people at Microsoft, but if they are not, just send them my way.

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