Celebrating Five Years of Propel with Gratitude

April 22, 2020

Since we founded on April 22, 2015, we’ve brought forward our vision for a single source of truth for product success. Here's what we're grateful for as we look back on our first five years.

Five years ago, analysts were talking about the coming convergence when new product development and product lifecycle management would finally follow CRM software to the cloud. It was with this confidence that Propel was founded in 2015, ahead of what was predicted to occur between 2020 and 2022.

Unpredictably, it wasn’t a market trend that forced the industry’s hand in 2020, but a global market disruption pushing people to go to the cloud. 

Since we founded on April 22, 2015
, we’ve brought forward our vision for a single source of truth for product success, reconciling disparate systems and processes into one flexible platform for product creators and manufacturers everywhere. We started in our product lifecycle management roots, building the PLM we wanted on the best platform we knew: Salesforce. From there, we brought in the quality management side, and deepened into commercialization capabilities. 

Today, I’m proud of the product we offer, and eager to show you where we can take your team next.

Earlier this month, we received some third-party validation of how far we’ve come when Propel was named one of the Hot 100 privately-held software companies by JMP Securities. We were selected based on criteria such as financial growth, quality of leadership, market potential, products and services, and customer traction.

It’s unusual to be celebrating this anniversary and our recognition in the JMP Hot 100 with our team dispersed in their homes, but I can’t help but recognize this moment as yet another opportunity for immense gratitude. I look back on Propel’s beginnings and how we’ve grown to be able to support our customers as they navigate managing a more dispersed workforce, increased regulations, shifting supply and demand — all while working from home perhaps for the first time.

And as fantastic as it is to be named to this list, I hold these recent comments from our customers as accolades I’m equally proud of:

"We would be in a world of hurt if we didn’t have Propel […] Propel has enabled us to stay in business during a critical time as we make products for emergency care patients. We are making a difference for our customers. You have allowed us to stay in business, thank you!"  

“Propel has been a lifesaver working from home during COVID."

To be able to equip great product creators like Formlabs with a platform that enables them to stay in business during a crisis is a unique privilege our whole team has been glad to experience. Celebrations are indeed in order!

Today, we’ll all toast to our milestone on a Zoom call far away (and safely distant) from each other, and hear from our customer Alveo Technologies, who develops diagnostic devices for the detection of infectious diseases — a timely guest!

When I raise my Propel mug on our call today, I’ll be toasting with a few folks at the top of my mind:

I’d like to first thank my co-founders, Ron Hess and Brian Sohmers, for their grace under pressure and adaptability, strengthening our team and providing the leadership and vision that makes Propel great.

I’m thankful for our incredible growing team who time and again put our customers first. (A special thanks to the braintrust of staff here since the very beginning!) This team embodies a truly selfless service mindset that inspires me every day.

I am grateful for our customers, who impress our whole team with their innovative approaches to serving their customers and offering quality product experiences across the board. Especially in these changing times and as the market adapts, their commitment to quality and relentless pursuit of what’s best (not just “good enough”) makes me proud to lead Propel.

A special thank-you to our board and investors at Norwest Venture Partners, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, Salesforce Ventures, SignalFire, Alumni Ventures Group, and Green D Ventures for seeing our vision and joining us in executing on that vision. We could not be here without your foresight, resources and guidance.

And I’ll be thinking of everyone in our extended community, like the folks jumping in to roll up their sleeves in our Healthcare Manufacturer Community to get much-needed ventilators to market faster, friends of ours who have written for us or joined us on webinars, and the lovely folks who follow our work even from afar. We’re grateful for you.

So what’s next? We share the same challenges ahead as our customers, such as global collaboration becoming more urgent than ever before, and navigating supply chain disruptions. Propel will remain true to its core: We strive to create products that keep our customers 100% delighted, communicating with honesty and respect, being easy to work with and work for, staying curious, and having the courage to do things differently.

The next normal isn’t quite clear yet, but I do know our team will be ready to come alongside you to discover the path forward together. It’s what we’ve done for the past five years, and it’s what we plan on doing for the next five, thanks to you.

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Ray Hein


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