December 16, 2022
🎉Product | ❓Question | 🧑‍💼 Candidate | ⬆️Company Coming Up | ​🍾​Raise a Glass

EP29 | Proline, Venture Debt, All-Star Finance Candidate, DebtBook, SoHookd, MessageGears

Introduction: Welcome to Five & Thrive: a weekly podcast highlighting the Southeast’s most interesting news, entrepreneurs, and information of the week, all under 5 minutes. 

My name is Jon Birdsong and I’m with Atlanta Ventures. 

Product of the Week: This week’s product of the week is called Proline a communication tool for contractors. This application does everything from sending sales follow ups, providing job updates, creating appointment reminders, to generating invoice nudges. AJ Briley and team have been in the space for over 2 years and evolved their product offerings to this must-have solution for any modern day contractor. There is no-credit card needed free trial then a monthly subscription charge afterwards. When looking at companies who have simple and quick ways to sign on to a free trial then convert those trials into paying customers, you know there is real demand in the market. 

Question of the Week: This week’s question of the week is around venture debt and how we view it at Atlanta Ventures. The macro economic environment has made this a bit more topical with interest rates increasing and burn multiples now having a larger magnifying glass on it than let’s just say the last two years. The way we view venture debt is as a safety net and not part of the burn rate calculations. Focusing your burn rate around the number of months of cash on hand is the smart play and then viewing venture debt as a way to sleep better at night. Venture debt should be used only as a “break the glass in case of an emergency” scenario.   

Get Them While You Can: Just this week I met with an all-star candidate in finance. This person has spent 7 years scaling a SaaS company and now the company is just too big. If you are listening to this podcast and looking for a Head of Finance or early stage CFO, email me today, jon dot birdsong at Atlanta Ventures as this person will be scooped up quickly.  

Company Coming Up: This company coming up is already up and scaling so we may need a new title headline here but the company is out of Charlotte, NC and it’s called DebtBook. They are in the accounting standards compliance space, and make debt and lease management easy. Over 1000 finance teams across the nation use DebtBook to manage debt and lease compliance and streamline reporting so the team is efficient and on the same page. Their customers range from municipalities to universities to non-profits which makes it a sticky solution in a large and wide market. Back in August they raised $7.5M led by Elephant Partners. Keep an eye for this company to be a major job provider and software stalwart in Charlotte. 

Raise a Glass: 

A few announcements on the fundraising side this past week. First, Jim Stallings of PS27 out of Jacksonville just led the $1.6M seed round of SoHookd which is one of the fastest-growing digital wellness marketplaces. Whether you’re an individual consumer or an employer looking to amp up your wellness offerings, SoHookd, led by their CEO B.J. Wiley Williams is making it simple to add the right products to you or company’s lifestyle right now. Congrats to Jim and the PS27 team for leading the round. 

Another major announcement this week out of Atlanta comes from MessageGears. Talk about a company that has put their nose to the grindstone for years and built a complete and persistent product for a decade – I can remember 11 years ago when they were in the corner office of the ATDC, walking in and seeing the focus and dedication of the team. Well, this week they announced their raise of $62M led by Long Ridge Equity Partners which included participation from Atlanta Ventures as well. MessageGears led by Roger Barnette is used by customers including Expedia, OpenTable, T-Mobile and more to leverage zero- and first-party data to engage with their customers in highly personalized ways across email and SMS. What makes MessageGears unique is how they directly access their customers’ data repositories versus relying on the cloud making it faster, more secure, and have greater flexibility. And when we start talking about companies that have direct access to company specific data and workflows, we know that leads to a very sticky product. Well done to Roger and team. We look forward to seeing what you do with that $62M!   

Annnnd, that’s 5 minutes.

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Resources discussed in this episode:

Product of the Week: Proline

Company Coming Up: DebtBook

Raise a Glass: