Silicon Prairie News

Zapier raises $1.2 million seed round, hires first employee

Mountain View October 31, 2012 by Michael Stacy

Zapier co-founders (from left) Wade Foster, Bryan Helmig and Mike Knoop heeded advice to not let fundraising distract them from building their product, raising a $1.2 million seed round in two and a half weeks.

As Zapier wrapped up its three-month stint in seed accelerator Y Combinator earlier this year, the founders of the Columbia, Mo.-born startup fielded ample advice on how to handle funding.

"We heard, 'Get fundraising done as fast as possible. Don't worry about it. You want to finish it, and close it and get done,' " Zapier co-founder Mike Knoop said in a phone call Tuesday.

In a span of two and a half weeks around the time of Y Combinator demo day, the company's co-founders did precisely that. "We kind of set that goal for ourselves, and we were actually pretty successful," Knoop said. "We were able to kind of close that book quickly and get back to work."

Zapier, which makes a platform for syncing data between web applications, today announced a $1.2 seed round featuring investment from Bessemer Venture Partners and Draper Fisher Jurvesten. The round also includes investment from a pair of Columbia-based investors, Brant Bukowsky and Brent Beshore, as well as Wufoo co-founder Kevin Hale, Michael Liou, Kim Miller, Jon Murray, Mike Stachowiak and Ben Li

Along with the funding news, Zapier also recently announced the hire of Micah Bennett, the company's first non-founding employee. Bennett (left), who lives in Chicago, joins a team split between Columbia (Knoop) and company headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (co-founders Wade Foster and Bryan Helmig). Zapier was born out of Startup Weekend Columbia in October 2011 and launched in June, shortly after the move to Mountain View.

Knoop said that Zapier will use the new capital to fund iteration on its core product and to build a better customer support system.

He said the product upgrades will probably necessitate hiring a full-time developer or two. Those new hires will help the company tackle what Knoop views as an immense market opportunity. "The bit that we've built … only scratches the surface in terms of the global market of what kind of integrations could possibly exist," he said.

The addition of Bennett is a key part of improving Zapier's support system. "Getting a fresh body in the door is really helping alleviate some of that (customer support) load," Knoop said, "and allowing us to focus on still building features while offering kind of the same level of support that people have kind of gotten used to while we were still small."

Zapier met with lots of potential investors, but Knoop said Bessemer Venture Partners stood out for its immediate and deep interest in the platform and that Draper Fisher Jurvesten was a good fit because of its knowledge of enterprise software sales techniques. Both firms were among the first VCs to contact Zapier about investing.

"We had meetings with a ton of people, but the people we ended up going with were the ones who had actively reached out to us originally," Knoop said. "We found that they were the most interested, and it seemed to be where the best fit was."

For more on Zapier, see some of our previous coverage of the startup:

 

Update, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m - The story was updated to reflect the correct spelling of Helmig's first name, Bryan.

Credits: Photo courtesy of Zapier. Photo of Bennett from linkedin.com.

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