We’re excited to announce that Propel has just closed an oversubscribed $4.2 million Series A round! Thank you, Cloud Apps Capital Partners, SignalFire and Salesforce Ventures!
Propel, PLM and Why PLM Needs a Reboot
Several of us at Propel were working at Agile Software when the term “Product Lifecycle Management” or “PLM” was created in the late 90s. PLM was focused on helping engineers coordinate designs, collaborate on changes, and streamline handoffs with manufacturing.
Many PLM products have been great, but they really haven’t changed since then. They’re still:
- Focused on helping hardware engineers manage CAD files or BOMs
- Hard to set up, modify, upgrade and use
- Really hard to collaborate with partners, customers, etc.
- Limited in terms of mobile support
A lot’s changed since the early days of PLM. The birth of smart phones, more software in products, cloud platforms, the Internet of Things, to name a few.
Unfortunately, PLM companies haven’t changed with the times.
The Idea for Propel
Over the last few years, several of us at Propel have been fortunate enough to work with the Salesforce platform at our previous companies. For those unfamiliar with Salesforce, it’s more than just a CRM company. Salesforce provides one of the world’s most robust, scalable and reliable business cloud platforms. Companies like Veeva, ServiceMax and Apttus have built companies valued over $1 billion thanks to the power of the Salesforce platform. While Salesforce has traditionally been focused on the front office, over the last few years, Salesforce customers have increasingly been using the platform to improve back office related processes like finance, operations and supplier management.
That’s when the idea hit.
Salesforce manufacturing customers were consistently ranking PLM as one of their top product requests. Why? It’s not easy managing the process of how new products and updates show up in their CRM system. The concept of “redlining” a product and managing product changes in Salesforce is unheard of.
But we knew Propel had to be more than just PLM rebuilt on Salesforce.
What is Propel?
The easiest way to categorize Propel is that we’re a PLM company, but we’re more than that. There are 3 ways to think about us (watch our interactive web demo to see more).
- Propel is a PLM solution. Of course, we offer capabilities that you expect in any PLM offering— including hierarchical BOMs, AMLs, redlining, change management, approvals, file versioning, you name it.
2. Propel also introduces modern features to PLM, thanks to the Salesforce platform. Features like a super-intuitive UI, point-and-click administration, internal and external collaboration, partner portals, built-in dashboards and reports, and full mobile support. You can see all these in our interactive web demo. Many of these features are table stakes for modern apps, but for PLM solutions, they’re revolutionary. We’ve also incorporated very flexible lifecycle phases that allow companies to manage all types of product content uniquely, so that you can now manage the entire product record—hardware, software, consumables, services, documentation, etc. (For example, documents may go through certain lifecycle phases with no change control, while electronic components may have different lifecycle phases with rigorous approval processes.)
3. What Propel does really different from other PLM companies is connect products, customers and services. Unlike legacy apps that are focused on hardware design, Propel helps everyone — including software developers, marketing, sales channels and partners — capture customer requests, collaborate on all the content that defines modern products, and ensure customers embrace products after purchase. Of course, being built on the Salesforce platform allows Propel to be in the unique position to have product, sales, service and customer information in one place for everyone to access. Specifically, Propel helps with critical customer-facing processes:
- Customer input: An integrated process from sales opportunity to product delivery helps everyone see, coordinate and approve changes with customer requests and product details. And easy, secure and mobile access helps customers see the latest product updates.
- Market launch: Propel makes it easy to define launch checklists, share updates to sales and marketing content, and stay on top of key product changes. And partners can access the latest product changes, share best practices, and provide product feedback — all through a mobile-friendly portal.
- Customer service: Propel’s integrated customer service to development process hepls capture product feedback and resolve field issues.
All of us at Propel are humbled and honored to close an oversubscribed round in 2016 — a year marked so far with fluctuating stock markets and struggling unicorns. We’re especially pleased to be working with Cloud Apps Capital, SignalFire and Salesforce Ventures. These firms are on the forefront of venture capital and have some truly innovative ideas for working with portfolio companies.
Propel launched our solution on the Salesforce AppExchange in early December 2015, and we’ve been fortunate to have some customers already using our product. With this Series A investment, we’ll be able to propel our sales and marketing efforts, as well as accelerate development of our modern cloud PLM solution for product companies of all sizes.
Does a modern PLM solution built on Salesforce sound interesting to you? Please feel free to reach out to us info@propelPLM.com.