We’ve been fortunate to work with Glint for the last five years of its journey. Glint possesses three commonalities seen in the wildly successful companies: the right founders, an unbeatable product and a huge market. Let me explain.
From the beginning, when we watched the company’s formation in Shasta’s offices and co-led the company’s first outside investment, a $6.5 million Series A in 2013. At the time, we believed that Glint was the next generation of human capital management software – an application for enterprises to reimagine how they engage with their employees. Glint did not disappoint, fulfilling its promise to become the leading people success platform. Today I’m thrilled to congratulate the team on its acquisition by LinkedIn.
The founders – passionate, relentless and uncompromising
At Shasta, we look for founders who are maniacally focused on building great products. They possess a drive to succeed and iterate (in a way that many others don't) that makes them truly exceptional.
Glint co-founders Jim Barnett and Goutham Kurra are a perfect example of a passionate relentless, uncompromising founding team. Jim is an accomplished entrepreneur who built and ran several successful companies including Turn, Overture Services, Ancestry.com and Accolade. We backed Jim at Turn and were lucky enough to also have him as a partner at Shasta. He’s exceptional. His co-Founder Goutham, Glint’s Chief Product Officer, founded Rock Paper Labs and worked with Jim at Turn helping pioneer data-driven advertising. He’s a true technologist.
When Jim tells the story of Glint, he talks about how he didn’t have anything to monitor the ongoing health of his teams. When comparing notes with other executives, he discovered that companies typically hired consultants to measure employee engagement – a process that was slow, costly and inefficient.
Jim knew, firsthand, that there was a need for a real-time people success platform – one where you can get a pulse on your team at any time, develop your employees and reduce attrition, ultimately helping your employees be happier and more successful at work. This vision still holds true today. Glint knows that successful people make successful organizations.
The product – continued focus on the customer
With any startup, customer focus is the key to success. Your goal is to build a product that delivers true value to your customers. Glint is a fantastic example of a customer-centric mindset.
In the current war for talent, companies have a pressing need to engage and retain top talent. Glint’s solution uses people data to empower leaders and managers and make employee engagement a strategic weapon.
Enterprise software products also need to be designed for today’s workforce – digital natives who want to be productive anytime, anywhere, on any device. Glint is well-designed and easy to use, fitting seamlessly into an employee’s life.
This customer-centric approach has helped Glint win an all-star list of customers including DropBox, LinkedIn, Nvidia, and United Airlines.
The market opportunity – the right-sized customer within
Employees are the lifeblood of every enterprise. We believe that enterprises will never stop optimizing the employee experience. The market recognizes this and, according to Bersin of Deloitte, the market for HR software is $14+ billion and growing.
But market size is only one factor. Even if you have the right timing and the right product in a large market, you still need to sell to the right customers. For Glint, these customers are large enterprises.
From the early stages, we spent a lot of time working with the team to define who their customers were. We consistently asked who is the main target customer segment. After lots of healthy debate, we settled on enterprises. This focus served as a north star for the team, defining the product roadmap, sales strategy and the team build out. As Jim said, it was a seminal point where the Board really helped the company to focus and scale. It helped the team focus and see the forest for the trees.
It’s times like those that are important moments for investors as well. We take the responsibility of being involved with a company – of becoming part of the family – very seriously. At Shasta, we view ourselves as service providers to the entrepreneur. Our primary objective is to support entrepreneurs with an unwavering partnership through thick and thin. And when we’re lucky, we get to work alongside an entrepreneur like Jim Barnett.
Without a doubt, it is an exciting time to be investing in enterprise software. Digital transformation is touching every facet of the enterprise. Enterprises are looking to startups for technologies, ideas, and innovation. And with Glint, LinkedIn got just that.
I couldn’t be more thrilled to congratulate Jim and his team on the acquisition. It’s been a true pleasure. And I can’t wait to see how this next chapter unfolds.