A Short History
Four years ago, I joined the board of Synaptic Advisory Partners to help my friend and colleague from early days in the cloud grow his cloud-focused consulting business and its new SaaS division. At the time, I was running IBM’s Cloud platform business. Spending time with this focused, nimble venture – full of energy and hope – was a refreshing diversion.
Compelled by the team and business – and eager to get back to building innovative businesses in my home state of Maryland and try my hand as a VC – I became the first outside investor in the company and joined as CEO in the spring of 2020.
What a Year
The journey through 2020 was strange for us as it was for all. Despite the global pandemic, Youreka grew almost 300% year-over-year in 2020. Our consulting business, Synaptic Advisors, also stood strong and continued its string of 10 straight years of profitability.
I learned a lot about the businesses and team in 2020. One of my key takeaways was that the combined structure of a product and consulting business under one roof – while a smart early approach – was becoming a gating factor for both businesses. Each of the businesses had bright futures and big hills to climb, but their needs are very different and the joint approach created confusion and compromise. I believed the clarity and focus enabled by formal separation would better serve employees, customers and partners of both divisions. I also believed it would open up new possibilities for partnerships, growth and capitalization.
Announcement #1 – Youreka and Synaptic Advisors are Now Separate Businesses
Today, I am thrilled to share two important pieces of news. First, we have followed through on the separation. The Youreka product and team have been spun out of Synaptic Advisory Partners are now part of Youreka Labs, Inc., a new Delaware C-Corp.
The move is tremendous validation of the Youreka product and paves the way for accelerated investment, innovation, support, partnerships and growth.
For most of our customers, this transition will have no operational impact. For customers of both Youreka and Synaptic Advisors, we will maintain a special partnership across the businesses and will ensure there is clarity and collaboration on the ground as the separation unfolds.
Announcement #2 – Youreka Growth Capital & Salesforce Ventures
Our second big announcement is that Youreka Labs has taken on over $8.5M in growth capital from top tier VC’s including Salesforce Ventures.
The lead investors are Grotech Ventures and Boulder Ventures who are terrific firms, with strong roots in Baltimore. This is my fourth run in a Grotech company. 15 years ago to the day, I closed my first round with Don Rainey (Grotech partner) and Jonathan Perl (Boulder partner) for an earlier SaaS company. I am excited to have the band back together. Jonathan and Don are great partners who provide steady, thoughtful support through the inevitable ups and downs of the growth journey.
We are also thrilled that Salesforce Ventures has joined the round. Salesforce Ventures has become one of the world’s top VC’s. This is Salesforce’s first investment in a Maryland-based company and invests in less than 2% of AppExchange companies. Further good news, Karen Mehal, VP of Product Management for Salesforce Field Service is joining our board of directors as an observer. Karen is a true professional and has been amazing to work with along with the entire Salesforce Field Service leadership team. Thank you, Karen, for your support and welcome to the team. Sincere thank you’s also to Mark Cattini, SVP of Salesforce Field Service, Eric Jacobson, VP of Product, Connor Marsden, SVP of Service Cloud Sales, and Lee Pisacano, AVP of Service Cloud Sales for being instrumental in our progress to date.
With the growth capital, we will invest substantially in both advancing the Youreka product and our joint go to market to ensure even more customer success while we drive our vision for the future and joint roadmap with Salesforce.
Here is a link to the press release regarding the Youreka funding that went live this morning. Follow our LinkedIn page for updates. For additional details and perspective, please see my blog post, Dan’s post on the future of Youreka, and Ken’s post on joining Youreka.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Thank you all for the support.
Up and to the right!