Morning Report: Email may never die, but with $66 million invested into Front, it may just get more collaborative.
As much as Slack has replaced internal communications for many companies, email still is one of the most frictionless ways for organizations to handle external communications for support and sales.
However, team collaboration out of an inbox has never been particularly elegant. Emails are all too easy to lose track of in the myriad of spam and other requests.
And while many startups want the solution to be doing away with email completely, Front App, an SF-based startup founded by Laurent Perrin, Mathilde Collin, and Thibaud Elziere, is leaning into making the decades-old communications system more real-time, collaborative, and task-based. The app, which organizes emails into Slack-like channels, adds features such as seeing who is responding to an email in real time, the ability for managers to assign tasks, as well as set up rules for responses based on specific keywords. Front also offers a live support chat option for websites.
These features have driven an impressive growth rate for the company, as Forbes’s Alex Konrad reported:
Though Front works alongside email clients like Gmail and Outlook, half of its users have replaced those services with Front, using the startup’s app 95% or more of the time. Most use it regularly, with 64% of its monthly users checking the app daily for an overall average of 2.5 hours per day.
With those growth and retention metrics, it is not surprising that Front would be able to raise a $66 million Series B, with Sequoia Capital and Draper Fish Jurvetson both first-time participants as investors in the startup. With its latest raise, the company’s funding total comes to $79.3 million, according to Crunchbase, and it has also seen Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO and founder, participate in Front’s $10 million Series A.
The company intends to use its funding, according to Forbes, to increase its pace of hiring as well as open an office in France.
From The Crunchbase Daily:
Katerra, a three-year-old construction startup that aims to make residential and commercial building faster and cheaper, has raised $865 million in a financing round led by SoftBank. The Silicon Valley-based company plans to use the funding to build factories in multiple locations and ramp up research and development.
Raising a giant round from SoftBank sounds nice. But how much funding does it really take to maximize a startup’s chances of achieving a successful exit? On average, it’s actually somewhere in the $7 million to $9 million range, according to a Crunchbase News analysis of over 30,000 US startups.
GoDaddy has acquired Main Street Hub, a provider of social media marketing tools, for $125 million. Austin-based Main Street Hub previously raised over $45 million in venture funding and $47 million in debt financing.
PrecisionHawk, a Raleigh-based provider of drone data and analytics technology, has raised $75 million in a late stage round led by Third Point Ventures and joined by new and existing investors.