Cloud software firm breaks previous startup financing record in Scenic City [video]

Cloud software firm breaks previous startup financing record in Scenic City [video]

Chattanooga's Skuid nets $25 million in new funding

March 14th, 2017 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

From left, Andy Golden, Patricia Diaz and Charlie Moss with Skuid, talk during the Spirit of Innovation Awards luncheon and expo Nov. 9, 2016, at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

ABOUT SKUID

Begun in 2013 by company CEO Ken McElrath, the cloud software business employs 150 people, including 90 in Chattanooga.

Ken McElrath

Ken McElrath

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Setting a high mark for a round of venture funding for a Chattanooga startup, cloud software company Skuid has raised $25 million in new financing from a pair of West Coast groups.

Skuid plans to use the new funding to bolster research and development as well as sales and marketing efforts, said company spokeswoman Ellie Hildebrand.

"We're moving full steam ahead," she said.

Ken McElrath, Skuid's founder and chief executive, said its customers want to innovate faster.

"This round of funding will help us help our customers to accelerate innovation, delivering more human-centered applications to more companies that need them in much less than half the time required by traditional methods," said McElrath in a statement.

Some $22.5 million of the new funding came from Iconiq Capital, a global multi-family office and merchant bank for a group of influential families including Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, according to Skuid.

Also, $2.5 million came from the firm K1 Investment Management, which had earlier invested in Skuid.

Hildebrand said the new financing surpasses the more than $13.5 million Chattanooga-based moving company Bellhops earlier attracted in new capital, the prior startup record.

Ken Hays, CEO of Chattanooga's Enterprise Center, termed Skuid's new funding "pretty awesome."

"It's great stories and successes like this that make us keep chugging," he said. "You take 10 of these and you've got huge success."

Jack Studer, executive director at nonprofit startup accelerator The Company Lab in Chattanooga, termed the Skuid financing "another great injection for the market and our local ecosystem."

Skuid, begun in 2013, is rapidly growing its employment with plans to move from the Republic Center to three floors in Liberty Tower downtown, Hildebrand said.

Skuid has 150 employees, about 90 of which are in Chattanooga, she said.

"I think we'll keep hiring," Hildebrand said. "With the trajectory and growth rate ..., we'll need to deliver on product and the sales and marketing side."

Late last year, the company launched a product that lets customers join disparate data sources from almost any enterprise software platform to create applications without having to write any code.

"By eliminating the need to write code, companies can build dashboards and assemble entire enterprise apps in a more agile way," said McElrath.

More than 5 million users across 32 countries use Skuid, according to the company.

Hildebrand said Skuid has landed "some marquee names" as customers and now boasts 10 percent of the Fortune 500 as clients.

She declined to give company revenues. But, Hildebrand said, Skuid has doubled its customer base and revenue year over year for the past three years, and it has almost tripled in size this past year.

Matthew Jacobson, Iconiq Capital's general partner, said Skuid has experienced significant growth with a focus on delivering tangible value to customers.

Jacobson, who will join Skuid's board, said the company is "thrilled to partner with the team to support their continued success and product leadership."

Hasan Askari, managing partner at K1, said it has been "humbled to be a part of Skuid's journey."

"They've gone from a bootstrapped startup that had early traction with Fortune 500 customers to a true industry leader. The team is pioneering a new era of enterprise app development," he said.

McElrath moved to Chattanooga from Phoenix about eight years ago. His sons attended Covenant College, and he wanted to move business operations to the East Coast so Chattanooga was a good fit.

Hildebrand said EPB's high-speed Internet and reliability is "mission critical" and the company wouldn't have been able to get where it is without those assets.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.