How Work Gets Done; Our Investment in Wrike
We are excited to announce our investment today in Wrike, the next generation work management platform for the enterprise. As is always the case at Scale, our investment is driven by our excitement and belief in the long-term upside of the market Wrike is serving, and our awe around the execution of the team in that market right now. Put another way, our two big questions are always 1) Is this market big enough to support a billion dollar plus company? 2) Is this team the team that can get us that prize?
The Evolution of Work Management
First the big picture. How and where work gets done has changed a lot in the past decade driven by technology and societal changes. Cloud services and mobile endpoints have eroded the productivity monopoly that was the Office Suite, and the plethora of SaaS best of breed products from Salesforce to Workday is replacing the ERP oligopoly of the 1990 s. People work all over the place and the result can be effective but sprawling and chaotic. This is amplified by the impact of a millennial workforce and, a wider embrace of a "Silicon Valley style workplace" , that allows individual workers much more autonomy around day-to-day workload. However, work is still called work for a reason and there is still a need for planning and tracking of that work, especially with longer duration projects.
Delight and Deliver
In meeting that need for "work management" too often the choice is between software that delights and software that delivers. Some newer project management services are a delight to use for individuals and small teams, but when the chips are down in corporate America and a manager has to take ownership for the execution of a complex project, across multiple teams and over time, out comes the Microsoft Project Gantt chart and the interminable meetings to fill in the data. Wrike breaks this pattern by meeting the needs of both constituencies. For an end user the product is easy to use, and allows easy collaboration either in Wrike or in any cloud service. For managers, the seamless integration between "doing work" and "tracking work" as well as the ability to create templates and workflows, means detailed projects can be managed in a very concrete, granular level.
In all our customer references the strong pull was not just individuals saying, I can really plan my work in this, but also managers saying in effect "I come in and look at my dashboard, not only can I see what is going on, but it is up to date, without anyone having to do a specific data entry process". This was an added unexpected bonus
The company is firing on all cylinders and knows how to make their customers happy. Having been bootstrapped for year by the founders led by Andrew Filev, the company knows how to manage both the high volume, lite touch of a freemium model to drive initial adoption as well as the complex product needs of enterprise customers. This is the combined model that we have seen be so successful at Scale for investments like Box and Docusign. The freemium model validates the need and allows for the land part of "land and expand", but it is the relentless focus on the product needs of the enterprise that builds a sustaining valuable company. Wrike has seen enterprise revenue grow 20% month over month as they have added features like enterprise workflow, customizable templates, single sign on and all the other corporate needs that are - honestly - not nearly as sexy as the freemium part of the product, but that bring home the customer bacon. Today the company has 8,000 customers, 1 MM users, is adding $1.5 M in new annualized recurring revenue every month.
We believe this is only the beginning. The company appears to have found the sweet spot in this market, half way between the dead hand of Microsoft project and the elegant but non scalable plethora of small team task management tools out there. We are excited to be investors in Wrike.
Originally published May 6, 2015.