Business / Funding / Software / Venture capital

B2B software company Piano raises $88M Series C, with strategic investment from LinkedIn

Expect hiring in Philly following the raise. CEO Trevor Kaufman offers insight into the fundraising process, and why he's looking forward to the company's return to office plans.

Inside Piano's offices in The Bourse, where CEO Trevor Kaufman said employees will return to work in person soon. (Courtesy photo)

Since software company Piano raised its Series B in early 2019, it has upped its local headcount and moved into The Bourse in Old City.

Now, two years and one pandemic later, leaders at the B2B company said they have raised an $88 million Series C round of venture funding, and are looking forward to calling Philly staff back in-person next month. The round was led by existing investors Updata Partners, the D.C. firm was also behind the Series B, with supporting investments from Rittenhouse Ventures and a strategic investment from LinkedIn Corporation, the company announced Tuesday.

Piano’s platform is an end-to-end suite of software products that help “convert” users on media websites. Amid an industry-wide drop in advertising revenue and an increased dependence on paying subscribers supporting the work of media companies, CEO Trevor Kaufman said in 2019 that Piano saw increased interest in its product, and touted clients like Condé Nast and Time, Inc.

The primary use for the most recent fundraise was the acquisition of France-based AT Internet back in February, Kaufman told this week. Second, the round will aid in expanding Piano’s product capability, particularly its data and analytics offerings, he said.

The company’s 55-person office in Philly has a “software workshop” feeling, Kaufman said, and will likely be growing by about 10 or 12 people thanks to the raise. The company has team members worldwide, and the Philly hub is where the company’s U.S. employees are concentrated. (Check out its open roles, including several in Philly.)

Similar to when checked in with the company in March, Kaufman emphasized excitement for the company’s return to office plan.

“We consider collaboration an extremely important part of our culture and feel like we’ve been at a disadvantage with remote work,” Kaufman said.

And the remote structure of fundraising wasn’t too favored either, the CEO added. Piano began raising for this Series C about a year ago but the virtual pitch dynamic was difficult, he said. You can’t just invite someone into the office to get a sense of the energy and culture, he said.

“You lose some of the magic of presentations. The dynamic is very different when you’re doing this remote monologue,” Kaufman said. “I found storytelling to be difficult when you’re not in person to read the room.”

It’s part of why they returned to existing investors with a proven track record and revenue growth of about 400% in tow. And the LinkedIn strategic investment comes with a handful of projects they can’t yet talk about, Kaufman added.

“Members are increasingly turning to LinkedIn to stay informed on the news and views that shape their respective industries — critical to this is the work we do with trusted publishers and journalists,” said Scott Roberts, VP and head of business development at LinkedIn, of the strategic investment. “The opportunity to collaborate with Piano to help unlock more value for publisher content on LinkedIn makes it a natural strategic investment opportunity.”

Companies: Piano / LinkedIn

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