G2 Crowd nabs $2.3 mln seed funds

G2 Crowd, a business software review site based in Highland Park, Illinois, has received $2.3 million in additional seed funding. The investors included Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Andrew Filipowski, chairman of SilkRoad Equity and Greg Jones, founding CEO of uBid and partner at Edgewater Funds.

PRESS RELEASE

CHICAGO, May 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Business software review site G2 Crowd today announced it has raised $2.3 million in additional seed funding from leading angels and venture funds. G2 Crowd has now raised more than $4 million to support growth of its real-time platform for user reviews of business software.
New investors include Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Tim Kopp (former chief marketing officer at ExactTarget), Andrew Filipowski (legendary entrepreneur and chairman of SilkRoad Equity), Greg Jones (founding CEO of uBid and partner at Edgewater Funds), and Chris Shutts (co-founder of BigMachines), as well as G2 Crowd co-founders Godard Abel and Matt Gorniak, who provided the initial seed financing.
Abel and Gorniak together with Shutts and fellow G2 Crowd co-founder Tim Handorf previously founded and built BigMachines, a configuration and quotation software company. Abel started the company in 2000 and grew it to more than $50 million revenue before selling a majority to private equity in 2011; BigMachines was purchased by Oracle for more than $400 million in 2013. Inspired by their experiences both as buyers and sellers of business software, Abel, Gorniak, Handorf, and their former BigMachines colleagues Mark Myers and Mike Wheeler began developing G2 Crowd in 2012.
G2 Crowd brings peer reviews, already used widely by consumers on sites such as Amazon, TripAdvisor and Yelp, to the business software industry. Software users share their authentic experiences with sales/CRM, marketing, HR management, and other software, and software buyers use these insights to help select a best-fit product. With more software purchases happening outside the IT department, the authentic, real-time advice from peers proves especially valuable in comparison with research from traditional analysts that cannot keep up with both the rapid emergence of new cloud and mobile products.
Leading business software vendors such as Salesforce.com, HubSpot, HootSuite, and DocuSign are already leveraging their G2 Crowd reviews for validation of high customer satisfaction and as input for their content marketing engines.
“On G2 Crowd, our customers are empowered to share their experiences with HubSpot, which provides us with independent validation of our best-in-class marketing suite and the value that we’re delivering to marketers,” said Mike Volpe, CMO of HubSpot. “Letting hundreds of our users speak for us through authentic reviews and being able to point to them in our sales and marketing campaigns – it’s very compelling.”
Here is what some business software buyers have shared about their G2 Crowd experience:
“I love being able to read real reviews (the good and the bad) from real people. I trust the G2 Crowd community and love the research and reviews and can get information on solutions I didn’t know existed when evaluating software.” Jeffrey Canada, Senior Marketing Manager, Demand Generation, MediaMath
“G2 Crowd was phenomenally helpful. I was tasked with a marketing automation systems evaluation and you guys delivered just what I needed.” Julian Blunt, Business Analyst, Tangram
“We found G2 Crowd invaluable in assessing and finally choosing a suitable CRM that would closely match our needs. G2 Crowd was the only resource we found that we felt offered us a detailed, transparent, honest and practical assessment with no strings attached.” Project manager in design
Since G2 Crowd’s Beta launch in February 2013, more than 14,000 professionals have signed up to contribute more than 13,000 in-depth reviews of nearly 3,000 business software products. More than 50,000 business software buyers already visit the site each month, consulting reviews and G2 Crowd­–produced reports on marketing automation, CRM and other software, to help them make purchasing decisions.
As part of the funding, G2 Crowd also added two board members in Kopp and Chicago Ventures’ Stuart Larkins, who was part of DoubleClick’s leadership team when the company was acquired by Google.
“Both Tim and Stuart bring extensive experience in the business software and digital marketing industries, and will help guide our strategy and execution,” said Abel. “We are thrilled to have them on board and to have additional capital to fulfill our vision of becoming the pre-eminent source for software buying advice.”
“Marketers love to buy based on what real marketers think,” said Kopp, who led marketing at ExactTarget as the company grew substantially leading to its $2.7 billion acquisition by Salesforce.com in 2013. “G2 Crowd provides a new way for marketers and line executives to select technology based on authentic feedback from their peers. High-tech CMOs are starving for the type of independent validation and high-value crowdsourced content that G2 Crowd can provide.”
In addition to offering unique buying insights, G2 Crowd provides marketers a powerful platform for rapid third-party validation of their customer success and a new way to connect with highly qualified buyers right when they are selecting software. Business software buyers can easily view demos, get custom price quotations, and sign up for trials right from G2 Crowd.
About G2 Crowd, Inc.
G2 Crowd is business software reviews and ratings to drive better purchasing decisions. Technology buyers, investors, and analysts use the site to compare and select the best software based on peer reviews and synthesized social data. Co-founded by the founder and former executives from SaaS leader BigMachines and backed by $4 million in capital, G2 Crowd aims to bring authenticity and transparency to business technology research. For more information, go to www.g2crowd.com.

 

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