Melbourne-founded Nitro secures $19.7 million as it enters next major growth phase

Nitro Software - CEO Sam Chandler V2

Melbourne-founded Nitro has secured $US15 million ($19.7 million) in a Series C funding round led by global tech investment firm Battery Ventures.

The investment brings Nitro’s total funding raised to more than $US35 million ($46 million) since it launched back in 2005. Sydney-based Alium Capital and Regal Funds Management also participated in its latest round.

For Nitro founder and chief executive Sam Chandler, it’s a piece of good news following a harrowing 2016.

“Every founder and CEO has a laundry list of challenges … we’ve seen it all,” Chandler tells StartupSmart.

“For me personally, the most challenging year was last year. My brother passed away in May … that really rocked us.

“It was losing somebody in the context of trying to make a pretty significant change in the business.”

While dealing with this loss, Chandler has continued to lead Nitro into its second chapter and the focus now is on accelerating growth, building the team and expanding market share.

The document software company is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Melbourne and Dublin, Ireland.

Nitro is used by more than 600,000 businesses, says Chandler, and generating “many tens of millions” in revenue. According to StartupDailyNitro was on track to record $US30 million in revenue in 2014, however, Chandler declined to disclose the company’s current turnover.

“Every month we have millions of active users,” he says.

Chandler says the new funds will be injected into product management, engineering and go-to-market plans.

“We’ll be hiring more engineers, sales people and product managers,” he says.

Read more: Easier to be more diverse from the start, says Nitro’s Sam Chandler

A “different kind of investor”

After previously raising a $US6.5 million Series A round, followed by a $US15 million Series B, and now a Series C from a “broad spectrum” of investors, Chandler says, he chooses who he works with based on what added value they can bring to the business beyond money.

“We were looking for investors in this round who would be strategic,” he says.

By partnering with Alium Capital and Regal Funds Management, Chandler believes Nitro has brought in a “different kind of investor” with a strong understanding of Australia’s public market.

“These guys are going to give us a tonne of perspective on the Australian market and in the event we chose to consider an ASX IPO, we have [a] venture partner here who would help us,” he says.

To founders getting ready to meet investors, Chandler says, his best advice is to be prepared.

“You have to show investors a path to success that is credible … a lot of entrepreneurs are very good at promoting but if the plans and metrics and numbers don’t look credible you’re going to struggle to raise,” he says.

Chandler says investors want to see a “tonne of ambition and a credible plan that fits with that ambition”, which means founders must be able to communicate the startup’s value, product strategy and go-to-market plan.

“Certainly the bigger you get the more important it gets to articulate your go-to-market,” he says.

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