Borrowing a page from the information technology playbook, Usermind — a newly launched startup backed by Andreessen Horowitz and Menlo Ventures — is selling a service that aims to provide transparency and clarity to business operations.
Co-founded by MIchel Feaster and Przemek Pardyak, Usermind was the result of Feaster’s realization that while IT departments now had tools that allowed them to work together more effectively (bundled under the ungainly neologism of DevOps software), business operations were still effectively siloed.
Feaster and her mentor and initial backer Ben Horowitz blame this on the software as a service tools that are so wildly popular.
“There’s almost no company that doesn’t have multiple systems of record,” says Horowitz. Sales teams use Salesforce, marketing teams use Marketo, human resources and management use Workday for employee management, Horowitz said, and none of those systems are able to communicate with each other to provide a holistic view of a company’s goals.
Usermind helps answer the question of “what’s the process that runs across those and what bits of information do I need for each transaction or process,” Horowitz said.
“There’s a lot of discussion around shadow IT,” Feaster told me. “Business started to buy and consume SAAS and this is the biggest technology model shift probably since the invention of the Web, but what were the implications of the fact that marketing sales, IT, and finance are building these little technology teams?”
For Feaster, the implications revolved around a potential to develop a set of tools that could pull data from each of the disparate, discrete toolkits for different business operations and deliver information across an organization to allow business units to work together more effectively.
At the heart of the Usermind thesis is a notion that businesses are re-orienting the way they work to focus on how the customer views them. The company’s software creates a single hub where different business units can pool their resources and create an overarching plan to achieve business objectives that cross different organizational boundaries.
“Business is going through that transition of marketing focused on leads, sales focused on ops, and … how do we become a customer company that’s delivering the same customer experience,” said Feaster.
Based in Seattle, Usermind has raised $14.5 million in its most recent round of funding, led by Menlo Ventures with previous investor Andreessen Horowitz also participating.
The company has 25 customers and 30 employees and intends to use its $14.5 million to build out sales and marketing and continue its product development, according to Feaster.