How TeamGantt reached 1 million users without taking outside investment - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Oct. 31, 2019 1:30 pm

How TeamGantt reached 1 million users without taking outside investment

The web-based project management software company saw steady growth with a focus on product and some creative marketing. It shows a path for bootstrapping in a world that's often fueled by venture capital.
TeamGantt cofoudners Nathan Gilmore and John Correlli.

TeamGantt cofoudners Nathan Gilmore and John Correlli.

(Courtesy photos)

TeamGantt is marking a nine-figure milestone this fall, but investor dollars aren’t involved.

The Glen Arm-based company’s web-based project management software crossed the one million user mark in September, its leaders said.

Cofounder Nathan Gilmore called it a “major milestone for a small, bootstrapped team to hit.” Gilmore and John Correlli started building the tool in 2010, and have since found steady growth.

“We started it to solve a problem, and then the business came after that,” Correlli said.

At the time, Gilmore and Correlli were building software for a local roofing company and were looking for a web-based tool that would allow for scheduling projects and collaborating. Only desktop software was available at the time, and that involved printing out what the charts they used. So they decided to build their own, taking time on the weekends. After a month or two, they found they had software that could potentially benefit others, as well.

Based around gantt charts, the company’s tool is designed to help teams plan and manage projects, as well as collaborate.

“People were looking for something simple and something web-based, and that wasn’t on the market at the time,” Gilmore said.

Using digital marketing tools to promote TeamGantt, they were able to gain users, and went full-time after two years. They hired their first employee in 2013.

Early on, they made a decision not to accept outside funding. Instead, they self-funded and grew the company as revenue came in. While it’s a time-tested approach in business, the venture capital-fueled startup world has made funding rounds for development and go-to-market efforts the norm among technology companies aiming for fast, high growth. TeamGantt offers a reminder that there’s another approach, and it can lead to sustainability.

With “nice, steady growth over the years” Gilmore and Correlli grew the company to a fully remote team of 21 employees, with five in Maryland and other team members in 13 states around the U.S. On its website, it lists Amazon, Nike, Disney and Netflix among users.

Remaining self-funded has kept a focus that’s been key to gaining users: When the team makes decisions, Gilmore said, they think about what’s best for the customer, rather than an investor. They’ve paid close attention to what users want, gathering feedback. Having been original users themselves also helps.

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They’ve also taken new approaches with marketing, adding personalization elements like a welcome video that includes a person’s name.

To grow to a million users between all versions of the software, the company has combined a product focus and some creative marketing. It’s also grown through sharing content: Director of Education Brett Harned was instrumental in creation of an on-demand video course called “The Art & Science of Leading Projects” that’s available through YouTube.

The cofounders said they remain product-focused, and are continuing to refine it.

“We continue to work on new features that are going to make our users more efficient and take some stress off their organizations,” Correlli said.

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