Front is raising a $66 million Series B round led by Sequoia with DFJ and existing investors also participating. There are now 2,500 companies using Front to manage shared inboxes and collaborate. The startup now wants to go one step further and become the definitive email product.
“I decided that I wanted to raise money, I scheduled 11 partner meetings over a single week,” co-founder and CEO Mathilde Collin told me. “At the end of the week, I had term sheets from all investors but one.”
Overall, Front has raised $79 million. Bryan Schreier from Sequoia is joining the board (Collin and co-founder and CTO Collin Laurent Perrin are the two other board members), and the company is going to open a second office in Paris to attract talent.
Collin says that the company still had plenty of money in its bank account. They managed to raise so quickly because they didn’t need to raise. Front is already making money as its a paid service. So at the current pace, Front has enough runway for the next nine years.
“We are quite lean and I want to continue this way,” Collin said. “And because we’re small, we can iterate super quickly and learn super quickly. If it were easy to find out the future of email, 10,000 people would have already done it.”
But that doesn’t mean that Front is going to stand still. There are 60 people working for Front today, and the startup plans to be working with 130 employees next year. But Front is going to hire more engineers, not salespeople.
Front first started with collaborative inboxes. Instead of having a mailing list, the service lets you all work together on common email addresses, such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. You can assign emails, @-mention someone, comment on a thread before sending an answer and get context from integrations.
The startup then expanded to other communication channels, such as text messages, Twitter, live chat on your website and more. There are also dozens of integrations with third-party services, such as Salesforce and Jira.
In 2017, Front processed over 350 million emails and messages in total. And Front has also attracted big companies as clients. Shopify, LVMH, General Assembly, Convoy, HubSpot and Onefinestay all use Front.
“The round allows us to be more ambitious on the product,” Collin said. So it means that Front is going to go beyond a multiplayer mode for email and communication channels.
50 percent of Front’s daily active users use the service exclusively to manage their emails. They don’t open Gmail or Outlook at all. That’s why Front is thinking about launching a client for single users that you can share with other people. And that market could potentially be much bigger.