(July 22, 2015) – It’s been a whirlwind of excitement since our funding announcement just one month ago. Not only did we secure $2M in financing, but we also launched the second generation of our Bluebridge platform, the Mobile App Studio. Since then, we at Bluebridge have been abuzz about new features, our product roadmap, and our company vision.
I’m also honored to share that as part of the announcement coverage, Forbes magazine wrote an article on my journey from childhood in Colombia to attending school in the US to founding Bluebridge and growing it to the successful company it is today.
As a supplement, I’ve decided to pen my own perspective of our company’s growth and the “behind the scenes” story of how we did it. Where did the idea for a mobile app company come from? How did we come to be called “Bluebridge?” What’s on the horizon?
Read on to discover the Bluebridge story that I’m humbled to be a part of.
Where We Started
I founded Bluebridge in my college dorm room in 2011 with one objective, which has remained true: to help and empower businesses and organizations to communicate with their audiences in today’s most relevant way possible—through smartphones. While working for ExactTarget in Sydney, Australia in the spring of 2011, I saw one statistic that captivated my attention and imagination: smartphones outsell PCs in 2011 (IDC, 2011). I thought this shift of desktop/laptop computing toward mobile computing would change everything for both consumers and businesses—and it has. (See Benedict Evans’ Mobile Is Eating the World). I also knew that businesses would struggle to leverage mobile and smartphones, and I saw an opportunity to change the world by helping organizations leverage this new computing reality to better engage their audiences and build a sustainable, world-class business by riding the biggest technology shift of this decade.
Shortly after reading that stat, I left Australia and backpacked through New Zealand for three weeks. While on the Bluebridge ferry that connects the South and North islands of New Zealand, I finally decided that once I arrived back to the US, I would start a company to tackle this opportunity and I named it…well…Bluebridge.
Since then, we’ve grown substantially—from me running sales appointments from the 96th Street Starbucks in Fishers, IN (summer of 2012) to recruiting two excellent co-founders (Adam Weber and Mitch Shields); from becoming the first member at LaunchFishers and working out of a modified storage closet to outgrowing the space and leasing 4,500 sq. ft. in Fishers; to finally landing in the new, state-of-the-art 9,000 sq. ft. space we have now. During that time, our team has grown from one full-time employee in 2011, three in 2012 (initial founders), 12 by the end of 2013, 28 by the end of 2014, and now to the 34 talented, passionate, brilliant Bluebridgers we have today. It’s been an incredible growth trajectory and we plan on continuing to accelerate.
First Financing Round in 2014
By the end of 2013—after bootstrapping and self-funding the business for 18 months—it was clear that, based on the size of the market opportunity, as well as our proven traction in customer acquisition and the success that our customers were achieving on our mobile platform, we needed enough capital to hire top talent that would help us take Bluebridge to the next level. In 2014, we raised $1.5M from world-class investors such as: Bill Godfrey, Scott Dorsey, Tim Kopp, Traci Dolan, Todd Richardson, Mike Simmons, Mark Hill, and several others. With their capital and advice along the way, we were able to quadruple our ARR run rate in roughly one year’s time. After achieving that growth and success in less than 12 months and with such a compelling market opportunity in helping businesses with their mobile app strategy, it became clear at the end of 2014 that we needed an additional capital infusion to continue fueling the rapid growth we were experiencing if we were going to be committed to creating the world’s leading mobile app platform and ensuring our customers’ success along the way.
So in January 2015, we set out to raise another financing round.
The $2M Financing Round
We set out to raise $1.5M. Based on the growth we experienced in Q1 2015, as well as the immediate and enthusiastic investor interest in the round (we were 200% oversubscribed at one point in the process), we bumped it to a $2M total raise. With a compelling story and vision, top-notch traction metrics to back it up, and targeted introductions to lead investors, we closed the round with less than 20 investor pitches total. The financing round consisted of a remarkable set of investors: Cultivation Capital and Allos Ventures co-led the round and returning investors like Bill Godfrey, Scott Dorsey, Mark Hill and HALO made up the remainder.
Check out the pitch slide deck I used to close this round:
Now, we put the capital to work by investing in our product platform, ensuring customer success, and fueling accelerated customer acquisition. The opportunity ahead of Bluebridge is massive and continues to expand as consumers use their smartphones (and the apps within) more and more, while businesses realize that they must strategically invest in mobile communication—as it currently is and will continue to be the world’s primary and dominant communication channel.
Incredibly, we now spend more time using apps in smartphones than we do on our laptops/desktops AND watching television. The age of mobile is here, and we have an incredible opportunity to be the hub of mobile communication for businesses and organization of all sizes.
On our path toward mobile app platform market leadership, we need some help in continuing to build a world-class team. We are currently hiring for and will continue to search over the next six to nine months for:
- Software engineers
- Business development managers (new business sales reps)
- Business development representatives (lead generation or “SDRs”)
- Customer-facing roles
- Office manager / executive assistant
This is just a glimpse into the story that’s gotten us where we are today. Bluebridge will soon be hosting an event in conjunction with Indy start-up network Verge at our new offices in Fishers. Join us on July 30 to hear more about our journey to the present—and how mobile is taking over the world. Register now, as tickets go fast!
I couldn’t be more proud of what we’ve already accomplished and enthusiastic about the journey ahead. I look forward to seeing the impact Bluebridge will continue to bring to our customers, our industry, our community, and the world.