(Photo by Roberto Torres)
Center City-based Crossbeam, the early-stage data analytics startup led by three-time founder Bob Moore and cofounder Buck Ryan, announced Monday it has raised a $3.3-million Series Seed round as it seeks to etch out its place in the B2B software market.
Moore, a captain figure among Philly’s tech ecosystem who saw his two prior startups get acquired (RJMetrics in 2016, Stitch in 2018) told Technical.ly the round will go toward fueling a quietly built team of 10 based mostly out of Center City, as it works to find the alignment between its software product and the companies that want it.
Through what it calls a “collaborative intelligence platform,” Crossbeam lets organizations share data with one another to find data insights of value about common users or customers.
“We’re live now with a dozen companies in live, paid engagements using the real product out in the wild,” Moore said. “This corresponds to what you might call a launch of sorts, where we’re now openly accepting inquiries to join a pilot.”
For this round, the startup managed to assemble a high-profile group of backers. Co-leading the round is First Round Capital, with San Francisco-based partner Bill Trenchard running point. Moore said First Round founder Josh Kopelman suggested Trenchard, a five-time startup founder, for his knowledge in the B2B space. The second lead in the round is Uncork Capital, a former investor in RJMetrics which went by SoftTech VC back then.
Also joining the round is Slack, through its Slack Fund initiative. Guru CEO Rick Nucci, whose company got backing from Slack’s investment vehicle last year, made the intro. Finally, a new San Francisco fund called Village Global, which manages the personal wealth of tech figures like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Diane Green joined the round.
Ask Moore what the company’s first priority will be for 2019 and he’ll point straight to product-market fit.
“We want to make sure that these two amazing pieces — a product we’re proud of and customer interest — meet in a beautiful way that creates value,” he said. “After evidence of product-market fit, we’ll feel more comfortable thinking about that next step function of growth.”
(Since Crossbeam’s beginning, Moore has said thoughtful growth was a priority. In 2016, RJMetrics underwent a 25-person layoff round that the CEO would later call “painful.”)
After undergoing two exits, how does Moore decide if an idea is worth pursuing?
“Clarity of vision is extremely important at this stage,” he said. “You’re fighting two opposing forces: a belief that something is a good idea, and the information that’s pouring in from the outside. Often, you have to decide where you want to put your foot down and make sure your original vision remains true. It’s a delicate dance but it’s one that can be made thoughtfully and selectively.”
And venture capital can add a layer of complexity.
“In some ways, that balance is more important in a venture-backed environment because having a middle-of-the-road outcome is not exciting to investors, Moore said. “Because of that, the confidence and the data that backs it need to be well aligned and what you need to point to is that the size of the opportunity is enormous. Your vision must be strong so that, at the end of the day, you have something that you can stand behind.”-30-
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