We hear so much about managing the customer relationship, but companies have to manage the products they sell, too. Propel, a Santa Clara startup, is taking a modern cloud approach to the problem, and today it landed an $18 million Series B investment.
The round was led by Norwest Venture Partners. Previous investors Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Salesforce Ventures and SignalFire also participated. Today’s investment brings the total raised to more than $28 million.
“We are focused on helping companies design and launch products, based on how you go through the life cycle of a product from concept to design to make, model, sell, service where everybody in a company gets involved in product processes at different points in time,” company co-founder and CEO Ray Hein told TechCrunch.
Hein says the company has three core products to help customers track products through their life. For starters, there is the product life cycle management tool (PLM), used by engineering and manufacturing. Next, they have product information management for sales and marketing. Finally, they have service personnel using the quality management component.
The company is built on top of the Salesforce platform, which could account for Salesforce Ventures’ interest in the startup. While Propel looks purely at the product, Salesforce is more interested in the customer, whether from a sales, service or marketing perspective.
These same employees need to understand the products they are developing and selling and that is where Propel comes into play. For instance, when sales people are filling out an order, they need access to the product catalog to get the right numbers or marketing needs to understand the products they are adding to an online store in an e-commerce environment.
Traditional PLM tools from companies like SAP and Oracle are on-prem or have been converted from on-prem to cloud services. Propel was born in the cloud and Sean Jacobsohn, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, who will be joining the Propel board, sees this as a key differentiator for the startup.
“With Propel’s solution, companies can get up and running faster than with on-premise alternatives and pivot products in a matter of seconds based on real-time feedback gathered from marketing, engineering, sales, customers and the entire supply chain,” Jacobsohn said in a statement.
The company was founded in 2015. It currently has 35 employees; flush with these new funds, Hein intends to boost to 50 in the coming months.