Guru raises $25 million; But what market is it in?

Tom Paine

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There is a large market emerging called Work Management (or at least VCs expect it to), which I haven't been able to define the parameters of. By one name or another its been around for a while, but right now its a very hot sector. And its different from the existing coding collaboration tools, and distinctly different from project
management systems.

Work Management is all about improving repeatable processes which take up so much of a company's resources and operating expense.

SmartSheet, which IPOd in April, has a market value of $2.3 billion. Asana just raised $50 million in VC money , bringing it to $125 million raised this year. San Francisco-based Airtable also raised $100 million in November. There are other smaller examples.

Last Week Philly-based Guru announced a round of $25 million, bringing its total funding to $38 million. Its backers form a prestigious roster, including previous investors FirstMark Capital and Dell, which have stayed with co-founder & CEO Rick Nucci since Boomi days. Emergence Capital, a legendary name in Cloud investing, also invested again. Josh Kushner's Thrive Capital, which just raised an additional $1 billion, led this round. Thrive also led the huge recent round in Airtable.

While Guru calls itself a "Knowledge Management" vendor (and they are), it also fits tangentially into the Work Management space, though its different from others. One key aspect of Guru is way it collects, organizes and verifies information so it can be used by others within an organization. People were just talking about IBM
/Lotus Notes being sold. Perhaps Guru is the next generation of Notes.

The other way in which it differs is its focus on revenue generation (sales, marketing and customer success). Any one who glances at income statements of SaaS companies know what a large chunk that is. Guru reminds me of Aktana, which uses AI to help life science sales & marketing, partnering with Veeva and Salesforce.

Guru claims to have about 800 customers, and Nucci admits its still in the red, but the idea is to rev up the engine to pursue faster growth.