Solvate Scores $4M in Series B Funding

Independent professionals and employers who use the services of Solvate would be thrilled to know that the company has acquired $4M in Series B financing from RRE Ventures , DFJ Gotham, and their CEO Michael Paolucci. They intend to use the fresh funds to enhance Solvate’s user interface as well as to expand its marketplace of talents and clients.

CEO Michael Paolucci answers a few questions about Solvate in this e-interview:

Who are your competitors and how are you different from them?

From Google Docs and Microsoft Office Live, to Yammer and Chatter, it is clear that people no longer need to be in the same office to work together effectively. But those services support work among people who already know each other. Solvate facilitates work between people who heretofore have not met; we’re the trusted middleware between such parties to work from afar.

What percentage of your marketing budget are spent on the
following?

A.      Advertising –15%
B.      Social Media Marketing –25%
C.      SEO –30%
D.      PR –10%
E.      Direct Marketing –10%
F.      Other –Affiliate marketing–10%

What marketing tactic has given you the highest ROI?  What
percentage ROI do you get back on this?

SEO gives us the biggest bang for the buck. The 1,600 independent professionals in our network are indexed according to our proprietary lexicon of services, roles, skills, and companies they have work for, providing tens of thousands of searchable terms that makes it easy for clients to find the right person for their work. We are ROI positive for every new customer who comes to us through SEO after just the first project.

What do you plan to spend your new funding on?  Product
development?  Marketing?

The investment will be used to enhance interfaces that promote a social protocol for remote work and expand their marketplace of clients and talent who use Solvate to establish productive work relationships online.

If this is your first round of financing and you’re the CEO, how
many hours did you put into working on getting your financing?  Was that taking up the most of your day?

We have raised a total of $6.3m from two venture capitalists based in New York–RRE Ventures, and DFJ Gotham. Having institutional investors in from the start makes it much easier to raise subsequent rounds, and is an affirmation of our progress thus far.

If you are the CEO, what are your biggest challenges?

Solvate is promoting a new way for businesses and independent professionals to work together–through the wire, in the cloud. In order to take advantage of the productivity gains inherent in an on-demand workforce–turning a fixed cost into a variable cost, reducing overhead, and paying by the hour only for what you need–companies must learn to adopt a new business practice. Everything we do at Solvate–from vetting the talent and putting them under contract, to indexing them according to their skills and enforcing high levels of transparency in the work, to establishing ourselves as an accountable party in the middle of the transaction, is designed to build trust among parties working from afar.

How many employees do you have?

Solvate has 15 full time employees operating from our office in NYC, but we have tapped over 100 independent professionals from our network to support our growth, for services like SaaS configuration, PR, website design, video creation, sales support, Powerpoint design, market research and more.

When were you founded?

We took a very small seed round in the summer of 2008, added a Series A in the summer of 2009, and just closed our Series B in January.

How much did you revenue increase(if any) this year over last year?

We grow 6x year over year.

Want to know more about their recent funding? Check on their press release here.