With $25M in the bank, Guru plans another growth spurt - Technical.ly Philly

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Dec. 12, 2018 12:55 pm

With $25M in the bank, Guru plans another growth spurt

Thrive Capital, a New York firm led by Jared Kushner's brother, led a sizeable Series B raise announced Wednesday by the Center City company. The funding will let Guru add 75 staffers at its Philly and San Francisco locations by the end of next year.

At the company's 121 S. Broad St. offices.

(Photo by Roberto Torres)

By the end of 2019, software maker Guru plans to add 75 staffers to its current headcount of 100, fueled by a $25-million Series B funding round announced Wednesday.

With Thrive Capital as lead investor — a New York-based VC firm founded by Josh Kushner, brother of President Donald Trump advisor (and son-in-law) Jared Kushner — and funding from previous backers Emergence Capital, FirstMark Capital, the Slack Fund and MSD Capital, the round will let the knowledge management company grow its engineering, sales and marketing teams.

“With this round we’ll be able grow all parts of the business,” Nucci told Technical.ly. “The round will let us make more investments into the product, continue to invest in artificial intelligence and the role it plays into our ability to provide value to our customers.”

But why now? The round comes comes just 15 months after Guru’s $9.3 million Series A led by Emergence Capital. Nucci, the long-haired serial entrepreneur and former Philly Startup Leaders president who cofounded Guru after selling his prior venture to Dell, said at the time that the funding round — which blew a then-sizeable $6.2M Series A round into RJMetrics out of the water — would set up the next two to three years of the company’s growth.

“The short answer is we got excited about partnering with [Thrive Capital],” the CEO said. “We were planning in doing the B round in the spring but we got to know them because they also invested in Slack. They showed a thoughtful and genuine interest in the space, they think this [knowledge management inside companies] is a real problem that needs solving. We were also able to talk to a number of startups they had invested in and got great feedback.”

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The bet on Nucci and his crew — which includes cofounder and CTO Mitchell Stewart — follows the familiar theme of local companies getting their start with local backers, then luring outside dollars for the next stages of growth. It also adds a Center City-based company’s logo to the portfolio list of yet another big-time software-focused VC firm.

As Nucci tells it, raising the cash right now will let Guru factor the cash into its 2019 growth plan, as opposed to altering the game plan for next year once the funds are in.

“This lets us plan better and be more thoughtful,” Nucci said.

Odds are, you know a lot of Thrive Capital’s other portfolio companies by name. Maybe you’re an avid Slack user or trade stocks on Robinhood, or you get your eyewear from Warby Parker. You might want to be on the lookout for more investments out of Kushner’s firm: In October, it announced the closing of a $1-billion fund of new capital.

While it’s hard to put funding round numbers into perfect context, but Guru’s Series B round trumps Slack’s 2011 Series B raise: The San Francisco company raised just $11 million in its 2011 raise. Locally, this is — by our count — the biggest Series B round raise in the Philly area since Zonoff’s 2014 raise of $31 million. Guru’s numbers also topped Ambler, Pa.-based Phenom People’s Series B raise of $22 million.

Companies: Guru Technologies
People: Rick Nucci
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