Austin, TX-based Bloomfire is tackling knowledge sharing and content management for the enterprise, letting employees search for experts within their organization and find content relevant to their projects. Today the company is announcing that it has raised $8 million in Series A funding, led by Austin Ventures and Redpoint Ventures. This brings the company’s total funding to $18 million since its launch in 2010, and the company now has over 200 paying clients, including Etsy and the Make-a-Wish Foundation, representing over 65,000 individual users.
Along with today’s funding news, the company is also debuting an updated version of its cloud-based platform, with an updated iOS application, LinkedIn integration, and an upcoming Android app. As part of the new version, users can now co-author content, drag and drop images, files, and videos into the platform, and recommend content or Q&A to colleagues. This is in addition to the existing features, which let employees post and search content, ask questions within their organization, browse information, and find experts.
The platform is meant to be a more social replacement for traditional knowledge repositories like wikis and intranets. CEO Craig Malloy was formerly the founder of ViaVideo, which was acquired by Polycom, and LifeSize Communications, which was acquired by Logitech for $405 million in 2009. He started Bloomfire to address the knowledge gap he felt existed within organizations, since even small companies often use email to determine who is a subject matter expert, instead of having a central repository where that information can be made available to all departments looking to do research and get assistance.
“The problem that we’re trying to solve for businesses is that it’s very difficult for people to find and access the information they need to do their jobs,” Malloy said in an interview. “Every company has a variance of this problem, and knowledge workers spend an inordinate amount of time looking for the information they need to be successful in their job, or connecting with the people who have that information.”
Malloy said the company will be using the funding to add to its 30-person team, primarily in engineering, sales, and marketing, and to scale out marketing programs. Right now he said the vast majority of their clients are SMBs, and half of the companies come in at the lowest pricing level (25 seats at $200 per month), and then scale from there, with several tiered and enterprise pricing options available. He said while they have enterprise clients, it’s often used by smaller teams within larger organizations.
“It’s kind of a work group problem that we’re solving, and large companies are just collections of lots of small work groups, or teams,” Malloy said. “It’s kind of applicable across the spectrum.”
Since the company is trying to replace wikis and intranets, and even email and other methods of employee communication, Malloy said “business as usual” is their biggest competition. In terms of where he sees them fitting in with other enterprise collaboration tools like Yammer, and other cloud file-sharing and online learning tools, he said Bloomfire overlaps several enterprise social categories. The company is integrated with Salesforce, and today’s LinkedIn integration means employees can use their LinkedIn profile to populate their expertise on Bloomfire, so finding ways to integrate with tools employees are already using will likely be key to the company’s adoption going forward.