The CEO behind one of the hottest IPOs of 2019 just helped email startup Front raise $59 million in a push to reinvent business email and take on Microsoft Outlook

Front CEO Mathilde Collin

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Front CEO Mathilde Collin
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Front
  • Front just raised $59 million in Series C funding, in a round that included prominent software executives from hot companies like Zoom, Atlassian, Okta and Qualtrics.
  • Zoom CEO Eric Yuan and Atlassian President Jay Simons are among those who participated.
  • Front is taking on Outlook and Gmail with a team based approach to email. It combines a company’s social media, email, texts and other messages into a shared inbox that an entire team can use.
  • The round is significant because it gives Front a huge vote of confidence from industry leaders who are thinking about the future of work, Front CEO Mathilde Collin told Business Insider.
  • Front will be using the funding to keep growing and add new functionality to its product, including launching a calendar app for its customers.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Email is a staple in every workplace, no matter the industry. But it hasn’t really been reimagined since it first hit the mainstream in the ’90s.

Mathilde Collin and her team at Front want to change that, and take on established players like Microsoft Outlook and Google’s Gmail in the doing. And it’s gotten a huge vote of confidence from leading software executives in the tech industry.

Front just raised $59 million dollars in Series C funding, in a round that included some of its existing VC investors, including Sequoia Capital, Initialized Capital, Anthos Capital.

However, it was also a slightly unusual round that included capital from prominent tech executives, many of whom are similarly focused on the future of work. Executives from Zoom, Atlassian, Okta and Qualtrics participated – including Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, whose video conferencing company has seen a meteoric rise after becoming one of the most successful public debuts of the last year.

Others who participated include Atlassian co-CEO and co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian President Jay Simons, Okta COO and co-founder Frederic Kerrest, Qualtrics cofounder and CEO Ryan Smith, and Qualtrics cofounder and CTO Jared Smith.

Front is already growing rapidly, and this new funding will propel it even further. Front now has 5,500 customers, including companies like MailChimp, Y Combinator, Shopify, Cisco Meraki, eTix, and Stripe. Although the company declined to share a specific number, it said its valuation has grown four-fold from its last round 2 years ago.

“One thing I didn’t realize when I started the company, and that has been validated by this round of funding, was how big an asset it would be when raising funds, to choose a market that is so big. And literally if you’re doing a software company or thinking about the future of work, I don’t think you can pick a bigger market than email,” Collin told Business Insider.

A big vote of confidence

Front takes a team-based approach to email. It combines a company’s social media, email, texts and other messages into a shared inbox that an entire team has access to. It’s supposed to make it easier to work together and better communicate with customers.

Front will be using the funding to keep growing and add new functionality to its product, Collin said. This includes launching calendar software for all its customers after acquiring Meetingbird, a company that makes calendar software, two years ago. It will also be opening a new office in Phoenix and continue to hire.

It hired its first CFO last March – Jenny Decker, who joined Front from Atlassian. After hiring Decker, Front’s leadership team notably became 50 percent female, setting it apart from many of its peer companies, which are mainly male.

Decker has the expertise to help Front grow, Collin said. The main challenge with growing the company, she said, is that Front is attempting to reinvent an entire category of software.

“Whether you call it an inbox for teams, or a shared inbox, it’s something that doesn’t exist and the challenges that come with that is we need to create the category,” Collin said.

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