PandaDoc scores $15 million investment to drive expansion

PandaDoc, a 6 year old startup, has always had a simple goal of eliminating the pdf from the sales collateral pipeline, while helping busy salespeople automate the proposal and contract process. Today it landed $15 million in Series B funding.

The round was led by Rembrandt Venture Partners, but also included participation by Microsoft Ventures, HubSpot, EBRD and Altos Ventures.

PandaDoc provides a set of services to automate contract and proposal creation and act as a content layer on top of your CRM tool. In recent years it has expanded from a pure proposal engine to one that offers a range of services that also includes contracts, electronic signature and even collecting the cash, company co-founder Mikita Mikado explained.

This puts the company squarely in the realm of what’s called ‘Quote to Cash’ in industry jargon. As the name implies, that means it’s the part of the sales process where you move from simple contact to making a proposal, offering a price, and ideally closing the deal and getting a signature on the proverbial dotted line.

You may recall (or not) that Salesforce bought SteelBrick, a company that handles a similar set of functions, at the end of 2015 for $360 million. SteelBrick also takes aim at SMBs, so perhaps it’s not a coincidence that Salesforce competitors like Microsoft and Hubspot, which find themselves well behind the market leader, are looking at solutions like PandaDoc (although Panda works with Salesforce as well).

It’s worth noting that the Microsoft relationship started last year in the form of a partnership. This year that relationship is expanding as Microsoft Ventures has participated in the actual funding of the company.

Mikado says that, depending on the customer needs, it can provide this full range of services, or work with a tool like Steelbrick and take the proposal or contract data and feed it electronically into a proposal or contract template in PandaDoc. He says, the important differentiator with his company’s offering is that the entire process is digital.

“The documents [we generate] are electronic. They are not files. They are web applications. We can integrate with Steelbrick [or any tool], take the data and embed it into a dynamic document, send it from one party to another, enable collaboration, and enable signing and transaction of money,” he explained.

The company is growing in leaps and bounds, and needs the additional money to help fuel its expansion. To give you sense of how fast it’s growing, last year it had around 3000 active paying customers, today it has over 7000 and it’s doubled its employee count in the same period from around 50 to close to 100.

Mikado says that up to this point, the company has relied mostly on inbound marketing and self-service, but it’s reached the point where it wants to attract larger customers and that will require building a customer support team. It also wants to begin building a direct sales team and the new money should help in that regard.