Our Investment In Yesware

by Brad Feld

We are pleased to announce that we have made our initial investment in Yesware. Based in Boston, Yesware is a seed stage company that is developing services that connect salespeople, their email and CRM. We believe that mapping this basic relationship – between the application in which salespeople, executives, and the people who support them spend the majority of their time and the app which is used to perform key business functions – is a critical step in driving organizational efficiency and further spreading both the ubiquity and power of CRM.

Salesforce.com successfully disrupted the CRM industry by shifting CRM from heavyweight, enterprise apps like Siebel (now owned by Oracle) to lightweight, easy to deploy, cloud-based apps. As a result, CRM became a mainstream app, replacing traditional SFA (“sales force automation”) products at the low-end and seeing broad enterprise adoption at the high end.

However, as CRM evolved, tight integration with email was missing. As we observed CRM deployments in many of our investments, along with CRM deployments in much larger companies, we saw two parallel universes emerging for a salesperson. A salesperson would spend their day in their email system – typically Outlook or Gmail – and then spend some time at the end of the day (often an hour or more) updating information in their CRM system. If the sales organization was disciplined, the process, while inefficient, was effective. However, if the sales organization wasn’t disciplined, over time the CRM system was garbage, as it was widely divergent from what was actually happening and well-represented in the email system.

While most CRM applications have paid lip service to email integration over the years, a short conversation with virtually any salesperson or sales leader will quickly validate that there is a functional disconnect between the two. As CRM systems continue to evolve, especially along the enterprise social computing dimension, focus on this integration continues to take a back seat. As a result, we think there is a huge opportunity for an application that once and for all provides the glue between CRM and email.

We are very excited to be working with the founding team of Matthew Bellows, Cashman Andrus and Raj Bhargava. We met Matthew and Cashman through an introduction from Raj, and entrepreneur we’ve worked with many times over the past 17 years. Raj was working on a similar concept and decided to team up with Matthew and Cashman to form Yesware.

We are also psyched to be working with Rich Miner and Google Ventures on another investment. Rich has been a good friend, a great mentor for TechStars, and a superb co-investor in Trada with us.

Yesware’s first product is available now. If you are a Gmail and Chrome user, download it today and try it out. You and your sales team will be glad you did.