Earlier this 12 months, the founders of Stream, a five-year-old, 60-person startup with places of work in Boulder and Amsterdam, weren’t feeling so nice about their prospects. As COVID-19 started its unfold within the U.S., some smaller prospects of the startup — whose APIs allow product groups to construct chat and exercise feeds for his or her functions — started to fold.
“It was actually scary when [the virus] initially hit, as a result of quite a lot of our smaller prospects went out of enterprise, which made us fear about what would occur to the bigger ones,” recollects Thierry Schellenbach, who began Stream with Tommaso Barbugli, the lead engineer at his final startup.
“One [larger customer] did go bankrupt, which impacted our numbers.” However then a wierd factor occurred, he says. Corporations in schooling and healthcare and on-line occasions and even non secular communities started beefing up their on-line operations, and turning partially to Stream to do it.
Schellenbach understood the impulse He and Barbugli created Stream to handle a ache they felt firsthand at Schellenbach’s first firm out of faculty — a social community that was finally acquired for a modest sum by a personal fairness agency within the Netherlands. Although it grew to “thousands and thousands of customers,” he says, its exercise feed was routinely failing because the community scaled given the numerous shifting items concerned, and it took a “ton of engineering assets to maintain it working properly.”
As a result of the 2 knew the world wanted extra off-the-shelf software program and particularly software program centered on exercise feeds, they started constructing it themselves.
But that’s not the one motive the corporate is gaining traction. Schellenbach attributes Stream’s resiliency within the pandemic to a call 10 months in the past to additionally start creating a chat API (after seeing prospects making an attempt to construct their very own atop their exercise feeds). Now, faculties like Harvard, social media corporations like Dubsmash, and the well being data website Healthline are prospects, and buyers are starting to take extra discover, too.
Certainly, right this moment the corporate is saying it has closed a $15 million Sequence A spherical that was led by GGV Capital and included 01 Advisors, Knight, seed spherical lead investor Arthur Ventures, and different backers, together with Datadog CEO Olivier Pomel and GitHub cofounder Tom Preston-Werner.
The spherical brings the corporate’s complete funding to $20.25 million, and it was raised from many people who Schellenbach (primarily based in Boulder), and Barbugli (primarily based in Amsterdam), have by no means met in individual, together with the GGV crew.
Schellenbach credit GGV for not hewing too intently to previous fashions throughout these socially distanced days, as did “three or 4” VCs with whom he’d spoken and who mentioned he’d have to fulfill them in San Francisco as a way to make a deal occur.
He additionally traces Stream’s fundraising success to the accelerator program Techstars, which Stream entered when it was simply two months previous again in 2015. As he explains, he and Barbugli had “no VC connections on the time, so Techstars was vital to open up the fundraising facet of issues.”
These references have solely bred extra references — and now, greater than ever — it makes a distinction, he observes.
“We’re fortunate,” he says. Stream was launched to GGV. GGV then launched the crew to Dick Costolo of 01 Advisors. In the meantime, for “corporations making an attempt to lift a seed spherical, when you don’t have clear references, proper now, it’s powerful.”
Picture of Schellenbach and Barbugli, circa 2015, courtesy of Stream.