Dallas based Panamplify has closed a seed round of financing, a $1.1 million deal, with just $175k coming from outside of the metroplex. For founders Michael Pratt and Christopher St. John, this round solidifies the model and provides the means to build the business.
From the team’s Crunchbase profile: “Panamplify uses intelligent systems to eliminate the grunt work associated with setup, configuration, operation and reporting of complex analytics systems. Focusing initially on the marketing sector, Panamplify automates best practices for marketing campaigns enabling executives to take action based on business outcomes for all of their marketing related campaigns and activities.”
More succinctly though, Pratt says, Panamplify is “building intelligent systems to eliminate grunt work and transform the way people do their job.”
In an interview at local coffee shop Magnolias Sous Le Pont on December 22, the two said they just finished their first “funded meeting,” a meeting where all of the planning that came before mattered. This was the first day that “once we have capital” wasn’t the consideration. This day, they focused on executing the plan.
Surrounding themselves with experience was a key to landing the round. John Durham joined the team as an advisor, and Kevin Vela, a well known, Dallas-based attorney handled the legal side of the transaction.
When asked how they’ll put capital to work, in a nod to lean methodology Pratt replied, “We took the feature set from 15 to four over 18 months of refinement. Our customers paid for a BMW, but actually got Rolls Royce quality. We did everything by hand.” He continues, “We’re going to finish building the factory.”
He didn’t say a word about staffing up sales and marketing–that pipeline is full too. Customers, which include Dallas-based SpeakEasy and Slingshot Agency, aren’t the problem; automating the service and delivering on-demand is the challenge at hand.
Dallas is home to Panamplify, and there are no plans to change that. With access to the largest of enterprise class companies, there’s little need to travel. The customer list was narrowed in the early stages to only those with a local presence, “saving time and money,” says Pratt, for the team and the customers.
Headquarters for the pair is in the design district, sharing an office with Dallas based CultureMap. CultureMap’s Alexander Muse is also an advisor for the company. Previously, Panamplify shared space with the community at The Dallas Entrepreneur Center in Dallas’ historic West End.
To staff up on the technology side, St. John says they’re not opposed to a remote team, but that the UX position should be local, “It’s interface our customers see, but the back end doesn’t require face to face meetings. We’ll see.”
Entrepreneurs get crafty with tools too. To manage the investor pipeline of 300, Pratt used a sales tool called Pipedrive. Instead of tracking sales leads, the tool’s original function, he tracked every touch point with investors. A smart move, but one of necessity, says Pratt: “We did it so Chris would know where each investor was in the pipeline without having to ask.”
Pratt, a West Point graduate, spent 10 years at Goldman Sachs. “I know how to talk to people,” he says. There’s a palpable difference in fundraising meetings when the presenters are seasoned professionals. “A deck and a dream doesn’t work in Dallas,” he continued.
This isn’t the team’s first project together.
Pratt and St. John met at Capital Grille in 2010. Both were early members at Cohabitat, the now legendary seed of much of today’s Dallas startup community. It was the original “coworking” space, and has its place in the history of many of today’s notable startups, Vinli, Culture Map, and Brainspace, just to name a few.
In 2011 the pair formed Extra Sauce, a marketing, analytics, development company, with an impressive roster of clients including Cumulus Media, Coca-Cola, US Army, and Toyota.
Both founders have children and responsibilities beyond Panamplify: Pratt is the President & Founder of Digital Dallas, Inc. and St. John helped organize the first Barcamp in Dallas. Pratt has two teenaged boys, while St. John is married and has two girls. Risk means something very different when others lives are included, and today’s announcement will help calm the waters. “The financial strain of building a startup is hard on relationships, this will help.” St. John said with a smile and a nod.
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