Yesware Hauls In $15M and Replaces Founding CEO

It’s the end of an era for Yesware, an eight-year-old maker of e-mail software for salespeople. The Boston-based startup announced Wednesday that it brought in $15 million in venture capital, but the bigger news is that co-founder and CEO Matthew Bellows will be replaced by chief operating officer Joel Stevenson.

Stevenson joined Yesware in March 2017; he has also served as the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. Before Yesware, he spent seven years in leadership roles at Wayfair (NYSE: W), the Boston-based online seller of home goods.

In a blog post, Bellows said he will remain with Yesware in a full-time role as board chairman and manager of the company’s key partnerships.

As Xconomy reported in 2011, the original idea for Yesware was to develop an entirely new kind of e-mail system. The company’s board encouraged Bellows and his team to scratch those plans, and instead they built sales tools that would work within existing e-mail systems, such as a plug-in that offers customizable e-mail templates for salespeople. In the early days, the startup operated from the now-defunct Dogpatch Labs co-working space in Kendall Square.

Despite competing with products from bigger companies—including Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and HubSpot (NYSE: HUBS)—Yesware says it has built a healthy business. The company has grown its revenue over the past 18 months and achieved its first cash flow-positive quarter earlier this year, according to a press release. The company said it has 60,000 active users.

Bellows said he’s stepping down as CEO because he lacks experience running a company of this size.

Matthew Bellows

“It’s been a great run,” Bellows wrote in the blog post. “But we’re now more than [10 times] bigger a company than I’ve ever led before. More importantly, we have both the ambition and the financing to go another [10 times] from here.”

Yesware’s latest funding round was led by earlier investor Foundry Group, which was joined by other previous Yesware backers Battery Ventures, GV, IDG, and Shea Ventures. Yesware has raised $48 million to date, according to the press release.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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