A Utah company that creates and houses web platforms for small businesses has raised $60 million, much of it from a major venture capital firm, to expand its offerings and hire about 100 new employees.
Podium, based in Lehi, announced Thursday that it has raised $60 million in a Series B growth round of funding. The round was led by IVP, a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Other investment companies participating are Accel, Summit Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Y Combinator.
Podium plans to use the new funding to double its engineering staff, adding 100 employees by the end of the year, bringing its total workforce to around 400.
The growth of Podium amazes the company’s CEO, Eric Rea.
“Not even three years ago, we were operating the business over a bike shop in Provo,” Rea said Wednesday, ahead of the announcement.
Podium started in 2014 as a product to help businesses get online reviews that were honest and timely. The company now offers communication platforms to allow businesses to interact with customers through messaging, web chats, reviews and feedback.
“We make local businesses as convenient to work with as what we expect with online businesses,” Rea said.
Some 20,000 small businesses have adopted the Podium platform, the company says, generating more than 4 million customer interactions each month. Podium had five employees in 2015, and now has more than 300.
The company is building a new five-story headquarters in Lehi, which should open in August. “By the end of next year, we will be completely out of space there,” Rea said.
Rea said the company expects to open offices in the United Kingdom and Australia, and the Lehi headquarters will handle the company’s expansion into Canada.
Utah’s “Silicon Slopes” tech corridor has become a draw to workers from California and elsewhere, Rea said.
Podium is part of the growing tech field of “software as a service,” or SaaS, where businesses buy a subscription to license software that is hosted at a central location.
Tom Loverro, principal at IVP, said in a statement, “the growth Podium has experienced in just four years puts them on track to be one of the most elite SaaS companies we’ve ever seen.”
IVP invested early in such web companies as Twitter, Snap (parent company of Snapchat), Dropbox and Slack.