Accelo hauls in $9 million to digitize operations for project-driven small businesses

Accelo, a six-year old startup, is trying to solve a big problem for project-driven small businesses like architects, accountants and designers. These companies, which typically have less than 100 employees, don’t usually have access to software to get a complete view of their business operations.

That’s where Accelo comes in. It has designed a set of tools specifically for these cost-sensitive project-driven businesses. CEO Geoff McQueen says he walked in their shoes when he was running his own digital agency in Australia for 10 years. While he could peer at month-end financial reports to get one dimension of the company’s financial health, he couldn’t understand the business’s daily operational picture and that frustrated him. If it was a pain point for him, he reckoned that other small businesses were feeling it too and Accelo was born in 2011.

Today, the company announced a $9 million Series A led by Level Equity with participation by from Fathom Capital and existing investor Blackbird Ventures.

Over the years, Accelo has built a suite of tools that now includes CRM, project management, customer service and accounting pieces. An uber tool that combines all of these tools into a single interface is being rebranded today from PSA to ServOps.

Photo: Accelo

McQueen says the ServOps product gives customers insight across their entire business. As he points out, small businesses have very little room for error when it comes to bidding, winning and running a project. They have to bring it in at or under budget, and the only way to do that is to keep the entire process under control throughout the project, something that’s really difficult to do when you are only looking at monthly financial reports.

The company strives to pull as much data as it can from external sources like calendar entries or email to automate as much data entry as possible. It includes a timer customers can turn on when they start working on each project, so they can easily track project work inside the program.

Accelo was launched in Australia, where it still houses its engineering team. The rest of the team is in San Francisco (not far from TechCrunch’s offices). The company was bootstrapped from inception until 2015 when it received $2 million in seed investment.

McQueen said the Series A comes at a time when the company is actually profitable, not something you usually see with an early round like this. He believes that’s because they are solving a real problem for small service businesses and helping to keep them organized and running profitably.

And in case you’re wondering, McQueen says his company, which has 60 employees, uses its own products to run the company.