TechStars London alum and U.K.-based startup Lystable, which has built a cloud-based workflow management platform aimed at simplifying how businesses handle contacts with suppliers and freelancers, has pulled in a $1.5 million seed investment led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures.
Other investors in the round include Backed, Playfair Capital, Mark Evans, Richard Fearn, Guy Podjarny, Courtney Grant and Leila Rastegar Zegna. Earlier this year the startup also took in a $500k investment from Mark Evans of Balderton Capital, Richard Fearn and Courtney Grant — so its seed round now stands at $2 million.
Thiel’s fund has made a few more sizable European investments in recent times: leading a $10.6 million Series A round in Berlin-based banking startup Number26 and an $18 million Series B round in Berlin-based photo marketplace EyeEm this April. The VC firm also headed a $6 million Series A in p2p currency exchange TransferWise back in 2013. Lystable is its first seed investment in Europe, and its second in London (after TransferWise).
Lystable founder Peter Johnston, who previously worked as a designer at Google, says the SaaS platform’s aim is to replace a mix of legacy software and processes and in this space — from contacts’ spreadsheets to third party supplier marketplaces — with a single cloud-based platform where users can locate external suppliers and manage their interactions with them.
“We are replacing a combination of things, namely traditional SRM [social relationship management] platforms or… Excel sheets, but also professional marketplaces that connect businesses to talent. Our platform is clever in that it aggregates and builds upon existing data within an organization in order to power an internal marketplace for enterprises,” he tells TechCrunch.
“Specifically around functionality, we offer businesses the ability to [organize] the freelances/agencies/services into categories, attach docs, add projects, and rate and rank the suppliers/freelancers, and have internal discussions around their performance. We also integrate with Gmail, Slack, Dropbox, Drive etc. And offer a host of privacy options around what information employees/departments share with one another and the third parties.”
Like current enterprise SaaS darling Slack, Lystable has a freemium business model — monetizing free access for all users by selling additional bolt on functionality to enterprises that want it. (Or find they become so dependent on the service they require it.)
Lystable was launched officially in a closed beta this February and now has three enterprise customers paying for the service. It’s still in closed beta at this point, but Johnston says it’s working with another 12 companies in the current phase.
The new funding will be used to beef up hires in its engineering/product team, and to “establish a presence in the U.S. later in the year”, he adds.