Boundless Co-Founders Unveil New Startup, Blissfully, in New York
The Boundless boys are at it again. Ariel Diaz and Aaron White, who previously co-founded Boston education startup Boundless, have moved to New York City to pursue a new tech venture.
The new company is called Blissfully, and it recently raised a $1.5 million seed funding round led by Eric Paley at Founder Collective. Blissfully hasn’t said much about what it’s building yet, but it has to do with helping small and medium-size businesses manage and integrate various software-as-a-service offerings that they use internally. The startup’s website says its software “automatically uncovers all the tools your teams depend upon, pay for, and trust with data.” (For a big company in the sector, think of San Francisco-based MuleSoft, which had an IPO in March.)
“Companies are building their business entirely on” software as a service, Diaz said in a recent phone call. “It’s completely changed.” What that means is that there is a growing market for software that helps companies integrate other software tools.
Here’s some background: Diaz, White, and Brian Balfour started Boundless in 2011, with the idea of providing online textbooks and class materials for college students. The company raised about $10 million from venture investors including Founder Collective and Venrock. Boundless was sued by three textbook publishers for alleged copyright infringement and ended up settling the lawsuit in late 2013. In 2015, Boundless was acquired by edtech firm Valore for an undisclosed sum.
Diaz left Boundless in early 2016, while White left in 2013 and spent two years as a venture capitalist at Venrock. (Balfour went on to HubSpot and now leads Reforge, an education and networking startup in the Bay Area.)
Diaz, who serves as Blissfully’s CEO, moved to New York a little over a year ago to work on the company, and White followed suit in early 2017 (he’s the CTO). It sounds like they both had personal as well as business reasons for wanting to be in the city. Their new company’s office is in the heart of Union Square.
Asked for his early impressions of the New York tech scene, Diaz cites the great “diversity of skill sets” and talent, from design and engineering to products, sales, and marketing. He says the general feeling in the startup community is that New York’s engineering talent pool has been getting stronger in recent years.
“It’s a big ecosystem,” he says. “We’re just getting plugged in.”
Indeed, it looks like much of Blissfully’s network of early testers is rooted in Boston, for now. The company’s website lists New England stalwarts like Drizly, Localytics, Pixability, Price Intelligently, SessionM, and Shareaholic as early users of the software.