Posted on Monday, Oct 12th 2015
According to Gartner, the global CRM software market grew 13.3% in 2014 to reach $23.2 billion in 2014. Bullhorn, which recently made it to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation, has strong fundamentals and is a strong contender to be a Billion Dollar Unicorn.
Bullhorn’s Journey and Offerings
Boston-based Bullhorn was originally launched in 1999 as an online marketplace and was used by professionals in the creative field to search for contract work. After the dot-com crash, Founder and CEO Art Papas realized that the system they had developed was closely mapped to a recruiter’s typical relationship management workflow. Around 2001 before Salesforce.com gained traction, recruiters did use CRM systems religiously, but they were all client-server based and offices couldn’t communicate inter-office. Bullhorn then pivoted its business model to build a CRM for vertical markets and focus on niche industries like recruiting. Slowly, it branched out to more professional services like commercial real estate and accounting.
Today, Bullhorn is a leading provider of cloud-based CRM solutions for companies in service-based industries. Its data capture and customer insight technology gives users everything they need to win customers and keep them happy. Where Bullhorn scores over Salesforce CRM is that it can analyze communication patterns and is known for the marriage of email and CRM.
It has more than 10,000 clients and 350,000 users in more than 150 countries, from fast-growing startups to global companies like Vaco and Spencer Ogden. Its software solutions are used by services enterprises to help increase sales, improve service delivery, and streamline operations. It has 500 employees and has offices in St. Louis, London, and Sydney.
Bullhorn is one of the few SaaS companies to have hit $1 million in revenue with profits. It raised $26 million in 2008 from Highland Capital and General Catalyst
at a valuation of $40 million. It hit revenue of $40 million by 2012. It then sold its stock to private equity firm Vista Equity Partners for over $100 million.
Since then, Bullhorn has been getting ready to go public. It hired its Head of Services recently from its largest competitor Salesforce.com. Its CFO was hired from a public company in Boston called Constant Contact and the COO from Parametric Technology Corporation. It acquired four companies including Clayton-based Sendouts and Vancouver-based MaxHire Solutions in 2012 and San Francisco-based Code Works in 2014. Its acquisition strategy has mostly been centered around acquiring products, talent and technology as well as expanding its operations.
Revenue in 2013 was $67 million, up from $45 million in 2012.
In my interview with CEO Art Papas in June 2015, he disclosed that revenue is expected to be $100 million in 2015. He also added,
“I’d like to be a little larger when we go public. I’d like to be over $100 million, which we will be next year.”
Last month, Art joined me at a
1M/1M Roundtable. You can listen to the recording here.
Bullhorn has strong fundamentals, and when it goes public, I believe it will do well as a steady business, as opposed to one built on smoke and mirrors.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. Unicorns will also be discussed with some special guests during our 1M/1M Roundtable programs over the next few weeks. To be a part of the conversation, please register here. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures. This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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