Here’s why work goal-setting startup Ally just raised $15M two months after its last funding round – Fresh off a new funding round, Ally wasn’t looking to raise any more cash right away.
The Seattle startup that helps companies track and hit their goals raised $8 million in August. Soon after, an existing investor introduced Ally to top tech investment firm Tiger Global Management, whose portfolio includes heavyweights such as Facebook, Flipkart, Slack and Stripe.
Tiger Global was intrigued by Ally’s vision of a complete reinvention of how businesses operate — with goal-setting playing an important role in a much faster-moving world. The two firms clicked, and it wasn’t long before talks of a new funding round started up.
“To run a business in this new model, with higher velocity, we think a new business operating system is needed, and that is what we want to build in Ally,” Founder and CEO Vetri Vellore told GeekWire.
That’s why just two months after raising its Series A round, Ally today announced a fresh cash infusion of $15 million. The Series B round — led by Tiger Global, with participation from existing investors Accel, Vulcan Capital, and Founders’ Co-op — brings Ally’s total funding to date to $26 million.
The company has grown exponentially, adding 100 new customers and doubling its headcount in just the last three months. And it expects to double again this quarter.
Ally had 25 employees in August, split across offices in Seattle and India. Vellore wouldn’t give a headcount update. The company’s LinkedIn page lists 46 employees.
Ally’s software helps companies manage their Objectives and Key Results (OKR), a popular framework for running teams and businesses that gained traction across the industry thanks in part due to its use at Google. Today, Ally’s customer base includes big names like Slack, Remitly, DoorDash, Nike, LG, Smartsheet and many others.
Big picture planning — setting and executing annual and strategic goals and measuring key performance indicators and other benchmarks — is very disjoined right now, Vellore said. Ally’s goal is simple: Fix that.
“We want to be this central nervous system that actually can connect the dots of what the enterprise is trying to do,” Vellore said.
Ally integrates with other services such as Salesforce, Asana, Smartsheet and Slack, allowing its goal-setting software to work alongside a company’s daily flow.
Vellore came up with the idea for Ally after an experience at his previous startup. In 2007, he co-founded Chronus, a company that built digital tools for employee development programs. He implemented OKRs but found it cumbersome to track progress with spreadsheets and other manual methods.
So Vellore built his own tool to streamline the process, which is what eventually led him to start Ally.
Vellore called this movement toward more centralized planning a “seachange” in how businesses operate. He compared it to a major change he saw during his 14-year tenure at Microsoft: The shift from the more linear Waterfall model of developing products to the Agile philosophy of early delivery and flexible, continual improvements.
“Every company has made this transition, and what I think is happening now is a similar seachange, but at all levels, not just product development,” Vellore said.
Another startup aiming to help customers track OKRs is Koan, a Portland-based company launched by former Jive execs that raised $3 million this week.