A tech firm that recently relocated to San Antonio announced Tuesday it raised $1 million in capital, an investment the startup plans to use to hire local staff and refine its app.
Cliently, a sales engagement platform that uses personalized emails, videos, and physical mail to help small businesses attract more sales leads, moved from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to San Antonio in August to be close to its San Antonio advisors and main capital source at Active Capital. The venture capital firm run by former Rackspace executives Pat Matthews and Pat Condon led the seed round, Cliently’s largest capital haul.
Founder Spencer Farber met with Matthews and Condon last March. It was his first visit to Texas. Farber said he was drawn to the developing tech scene and Matthews’ practical experience founding and running a startup. Matthews founded Webmail.us in Blacksburg, Virginia, in 1999. Rackspace acquired the company in 2007.
“Being able to work that closely with someone who has been through that journey themselves – that was really important,” Farber said of Matthews, who serves as Active Capital’s CEO.
Active Capital is not only Cliently’s primary source of funding during its early stages of growth. In addition to the funds Matthews and his firm provide the startup, he also has a wide personal network and is a source of valuable advice, said Farber, adding Matthews is “hands-on in a really good way.”
The venture capital firm, which focuses on funding early-stage and founder-led software companies, announced its inaugural fund of $21.5 million in January. Although its portfolio includes startups in various parts of the country, Active Capital has funded such San Antonio firms as Funnel AI and Flightpath Financial.
Cliently has already put the funding to use. The startup, which offices in the same downtown building as Active Capital and Funnel AI, has hired former Racker and Mailgun alumnus Huey Ly as its chief technology officer.
Comprising 10 people, five of those being full-time, the Cliently team will expand by at least one senior software developer, Farber said.
“We want to get a really senior developer, and we want them in San Antonio,” he said. “We want to start to build a team here.”
Farber served as the director of sales at document automation company PandaDoc when he realized few software options combined physical correspondence and emerging technologies in one customer relationship management platform. Similar products exist for upper-mid-market and enterprise customers with Outreach.io’s and Salesloft’s sales engagement tools, but Cliently has a different approach to sales engagement and is catered to a different demographic, Farber said.
“I feel that we are in a unique space in that we’re really focusing on small businesses to smaller mid-market companies,” he said, adding that he was inspired by PandaDoc’s ascent to a company worth $100 million by building a platform for small- to medium-sized businesses.
“Most small businesses lack large marketing budgets and aren’t going to stack specialized sales tools,” Matthews said in a news release.
Farber said Cliently is eyeing its next round of funding, a Series A investment, by early next year.
“In my mind, I’ve always thought that Series A is when you become a real company because that all of a sudden gives you the resources to really run a company the way it should be versus having to be a little bit reactive to how much money you have in the bank,” he said. “In six to nine months, if we can check the boxes we need to, we should be at that point.