In the last decade, SaaS has changed almost every aspect of daily life. Whether you’re landing a new client or grabbing a ride home, chances are, it’s made possible with SaaS. Subscription-based software remains the largest market segment, forecasted to grow to $117.7 billion in 2021, according to Gartner.
But there’s a problem: founder-led diversity remains a challenge for SaaS. While the industry is growing rapidly, investment in BIPOC-owned startups isn’t. Crunchbase recently reported that Black and Latinx founders only received roughly 2.6% of VC investments in 2020.
That’s why we wanted to highlight and celebrate BIPOC-led SaaS companies that we admire and ask for your help in amplifying more.
Compiled using Crunchbase's Diversity Spotlight which highlights diversity represented in an organization, this list features ten of the top companies with BIPOC leaders changing every corner of our evolving world, as well as a few trending SaaS tools our customers love here at Vendr.
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Trending in Vendr
Calendly, the popular automated scheduling tool, reached unicorn status on the premise that it shouldn't be hard to get in touch. Developed by Nigerian founder Tope Awotona, Calendly provides simple, elegant scheduling for business. Its pricing model is accessible – scaling from free accounts to just $12/month for team options. Its price and usability propelled the company to $30m in annual revenue.
Calendly has garnered over $350m in funding from lead investors OpenView and Atlanta Ventures.
Trending in Vendr
If you've been on the internet lately, you've probably met a Drift bot somewhere (I've met four while researching this article.) These friendly pop-ups offer to show you around or answer questions.
The ubiquitous helper has aided the company in raising over $60m in annual revenue and $107m in funding. Sequoia Capital, General Catalyst, and CRV partnered as lead investors in the raise.
Drift has been a strong advocate for Latinx representatives in tech and continues to win awards as a leader in diverse and equal opportunity in the tech industry, including 2021 Best Paying Companies in Boston, Best Company for Women, and more.
Trending in Vendr
"Let's keep in touch." In sales, it's not a platitude, it's the prime indicator of success.
Founder Manny Medina developed Outreach to help sales professionals "keep in touch" better. The platform gives reps visibility and actionable next steps. Improved data access can accelerate deals and keep pipelines full. Integration brings data into focus, making it easier to track touches and reach your prospects wherever they are.
Though not first or largest, Outreach's success has pulled in $289m from names like Trinity Ventures, Spark Capital, and others. It earns $70m in annual revenue and reached the coveted $1B valuation mark.
Trending in Vendr
When the world went remote, Mural was ready to help. This virtual workspace collaboration tool helped teams keep moving forward, even from home. Agustin Soler, Mariano Suarez-Battan, and Patricio Jutard created Mural to "inspire and connect imagination workers globally." It gave marketing teams, visual storytellers, and others the power to perform remotely.
Mural couldn't have come at a better time. The company earned $60m in 2020, showing the value of connectivity when people needed it most.
Intel Capital, Insight Partners, Gradient Ventures, Alta Ventures, and Radian Capital serve as lead investors for Mural's $142m in funding.
Have a customer service issue? Don't worry, Agatha will get you sorted out.
Forethought founder Deon Nicholas created the AI-powered agent, Agatha, as a support for CS teams. She's attracted logos such as Thumbtack, Carta, and Instacart. She not only answers simple questions, but can triage more complex issues, and guide users to the right info.
Though Forethought isn't yet a revenue powerhouse ($6.5m annually) the company has gained a following. VCs including NEA and K9 Ventures have invested $27m in Agatha's advanced technology.
6. Gro Intelligence
Africa is a recognized, emerging investment opportunity. The emerging tech scene in African nations gets a lot of buzz. Less buzz? Agriculture.
This caught the attention of Gro Intelligence's Nemo Semret, Sara Menker, and Sewit Ahderom. Africa is "home to half the world's unused arable land," according to Fast Company. The big obstacle to growth? Enough data.
The team began compiling food and agricultural data, making it searchable with natural language. This gives investors and policymakers tools to build opportunities and change fortunes.
Intel Capital, TPG Growth, and others have invested over $115m in the company. The database is currently focused on African development. However, the team sees opportunities to advance into other underserved areas of the world.
Code might make the world go 'round these days, but that doesn't mean you have to spend all day writing it. Pipefy aims to improve business workflows through a no-code solution.
Founder Alessio Alionco, Kelvin Stinghen, and Leandro Johann built Pipefy to get customers, vendors, and partners on the same page. The repeatable workflows work end-to-end with fully integrated systems. Pipefy’s streamlining solution brings in $60m in yearly revenue.
Big names like Insight Partners, Trinity Ventures, and OpenView see their potential, backing Pipefy with $63m in funding.
When Allan Jones created Bambee, he believed that "HR policy shouldn't be left to Google." The HR as a Service company provides guidance, audit support, and compliance for SMB companies ranging from one to 99 employees. This fractional HR approach provides access to much-needed guidance, without hiring dedicated staff.
The program goes beyond an app, giving Bambee users access to email and chat support from an HR manager who knows their industry. It can support guide users through sticky situations (such as terminations), mitigating the risk associated with these common business decisions.
Bambee is pulling in healthy revenue for its novel services, just under $15m yearly. In addition, it's garnered $33m funding from QED Investors, Alpha Edison, and others.
9. Gig Wage
One in three Americans, 59 million in all, take part in the gig economy. With so many people earning a living from gig work, getting them paid becomes a full-time industry. Payers need scalable solutions that meet their needs. Workers need timely payment and banking options that reflect their unique needs.
So, Craig Jamal Lewis created Gig Wage, a fintech platform that makes it easy to pay contingent workers and contractors. He saw the need for a scalable solution to address the "future of work" by "hybridizing" payroll, payments, and banking.
This future-focused company attracted $13m from Revolution, Western Union, Green Dot, and the Foundry Group.
HR isn't the only compliance issue that keeps SMB owners up at night. Maintaining customer and client privacy is a top priority. It can be complex and expensive.
Ignacio Zendejas created DataGrail to give companies control in their privacy programs. They wanted clients to feel confident ensuring customer data security and transparency. With data privacy changing with GDPR and other laws, keeping data safe is a high-priority goal for most companies. What's more, the increase in data theft and leaks makes every consumer more aware of the stakes. The company is off to a healthy start with nearly $6m in yearly revenue to date.
The concept caught the attention of lead investors Felicis Ventures and Cloud Apps Capital Partners, who led $39m of funding.