Front, a communication hub for building strong customer relationships, today announced it has raised $65 million in Series D financing, led in part by Salesforce Ventures.
This latest funding round is helping the female-led company reach new heights. We sat down with Mathilde Collin, Founder and CEO at Front, to learn more about her entrepreneurial journey and what this partnership with Salesforce Ventures means to the company.
Q: What led you to founding Front?
I've always been interested in entrepreneurship. Growing up, I was surrounded by people who were not engaged at work. That sparked the desire to create a company where employees could be happy. It was hard to imagine how to start a company, so I went to business school, where I studied entrepreneurship.
I landed on the idea of improving customer communication, starting with email. It's one of the tools that people use most to get work done, and really hasn't evolved in the past 25 years. If we can make this tool that's so fundamental to both employees and their customers better, we're creating a more fulfilling work environment for everyone involved.
That led me to start Front eight years ago. Today, we have 400+ employees with offices in Paris, Dublin, Chicago and San Francisco.
Q: Why was Front drawn to working with Salesforce Ventures?
I admire Salesforce so much. People love working there, and I'm inspired by its impact and how mission driven they've remained. The success is extremely inspiring.
I am very aware that a lot of our success at Front comes from learning from companies who are more experienced than us, so I'm very happy to partner with a company that I admire independently from its products or the market we're in.
Also, the people. The people I've met with at Salesforce Ventures are kind, caring, intelligent human beings, and these are ultimately the kind of people we seek to work with.
Q: What does the Salesforce Ventures partnership mean for Front? What is it enabling the company to do?
I think Salesforce and Front have a similar vision of relationship building: the way you can scale relationships - and in turn empathy, trust and compassion - isn't that easy, but it is what's going to allow companies to set themselves apart and differentiate.
Salesforce has a much bigger voice than we do currently. This partnership will enable us to be guided in part by a larger, more seasoned company that has a similar belief on how relationships can work together better. We sell to different industries and sizes of companies, but there is a ton of mutual learning that can take place.
Q: Front's leadership team is about 80% female, which is unique. What impact do you think that's had on the business, if any?
I definitely think being female-led has contributed to our success. Front has a history of being very capital efficient and I think there may be a correlation there - women are sometimes less willing to take less risks, which isn't a good thing or a bad thing, but we may be more careful, and that is being rewarded in today's environment.
I also believe that having female representation in a company makes it easier to attract women to leadership roles. I feel very fortunate that I've been able to attract and learn from my female colleagues. Eighty percent of our exec team is women, and more than 50% of our leaders are women. My hope is that we can continue to be a role model for female leadership and attract more women into the software space.
Q: What are some challenges that you think female founders face?
Primarily, self confidence. I've noticed that women conduct themselves with less confidence, not because they're less skilled, but because they subconsciously feel they need to be told they can do something in order to do it. And that's a huge problem when you think about attracting women to entrepreneurship, because the level of self confidence that you need to start and run a company is unmatched.
If I could change one thing, I would have a magic wand and give more confidence to every woman that's born.
Q: What's your vision for the future?
When I look ahead, I envision our mission, which is to enable better relationships at scale.
I deeply care about us having an impact.
To me, this means having more people happily employed at Front, and having more customers using and getting a ton of value from our technology.
Tactically, I picture the company as larger and in more regions in the world. The product delivers more value, we have more customers. We keep going up-market to have bigger and bigger customers. Everything we're doing today, including our partnership with Salesforce Ventures, is helping us to achieve this mission.
To read more about the funding partnership, read Front's news release.
For more information on Salesforce Ventures, go here.