By John Cambier, Managing Partner
This past June, we made the 15th new investment out of IDEA Fund III, leading the Seed round for RightRev, Inc. a software company headquartered in Santa Clara, CA. It’s a bit unusual for us to invest in a company headquartered in Silicon Valley, but when an associate at Salesforce Ventures told us about the company, its founder and their interest to invest, we figured we ought to take a look.
RightRev is software that automates and simplifies the process of revenue recognition (“rev rec”). Really, revenue recognition? I thought revenue recognition was a matter of GAAP accounting principles and must be handled by traditional accounting or ERP software. While some of the larger platforms like NetSuite, Oracle or SAP do have the ability to handle this process, all of them require a significant amount of custom development for the client and still require that you get the orders into the system from another platform (like Salesforce). Not surprisingly, a number of organizations still handle many of these complex calculations outside of the accounting software in Excel.
Revenue management software is not new, and specialty revenue recognition software has been around for over a decade now. It just so happens that one of the “Godfathers” of the latter is Jagan Reddy, Founder and CEO of RightRev. Back in 2009, Jagan founded Leeyo, one of the earliest revenue recognition software companies focused on the SaaS business model. After growing the business to $30M in revenue — without any funding — Jagan sold the company to Zuora in 2017. Zuora was already one of the leaders in the growing space of software to help SaaS companies manage their subscriptions, and the addition of a product to help accurately translate those subscriptions into revenue made perfect sense.
To us though, this still felt like a bit of a niche market. Well, some niche! The global revenue management market was worth $15B in 2019 and is expected to grow to over $22B by 2025 for a CAGR of 10.2%. Much of this is represented by ERP players like Oracle, NetSuite and Workday, each of whom can only provide this to customers on their ERP platform and, as noted above, have incomplete offerings that require a significant lift on the front-end of deployment.
At the same time, those of you that have been watching the evolution of the Salesforce platform over the last decade are well aware that it is today much more than a CRM and has, in fact, been steadily marching closer and closer to the edge of ERP systems in its functionality. The “bridge” functionality between what’s handled by a CRM and what’s handled by an ERP or accounting system includes CPQ (Configuration, Pricing, Quotes) and revenue recognition. Salesforce gained CPQ functionality via the Steelbrick acquisition back in 2015, but there is no rev rec software native to the Salesforce platform. Just looking at the universe of Salesforce customers with >$10M in revenue, we estimate the TAM for RightRev to be $2.4B worldwide.
Having sold into companies with Salesforce installations at both Leeyo and Zuora, Jagan was aware of this gap in the revenue management software landscape. He decided to launch RightRev, which would be fully integrated with Salesforce (in addition to having a standalone version). It would be built on a thoroughly modern tech stack and thus be better able to support customers of greater size and complexity.
So, we had a successful, serial entrepreneur who is a subject matter expert in a large, fast-growing market with vulnerable incumbents and a clear gap in the every-expanding Salesforce ecosystem, and we had a desire by both Salesforce Ventures and Norwest to participate in the Seed round. They just needed a lead. Thanks to our Principal Joe Darcy and his relationship with David Kellenberger at Salesforce Ventures, we were able to get introduced to RightRev.
The amount of progress Jagan and his team have made since launching the company in the Fall of last year is truly impressive. Before even having the product launched, the company had signed its first two customers, one of which is a 3-year, seven-figure deal. RightRev is being brought into deals alongside Salesforce by both their internal sales team and their key implementation partners. Even better, these two “lighthouse” customers are already introducing RightRev to their peers.
We’re excited to be part of writing the next chapter in revenue recognition software alongside Jagan, his team and our investor syndicate. Onward and upward!