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Unicorn in The Making: Ross Mason, Founder of MuleSoft (Part 6)

Posted on Thursday, Dec 25th 2014

Sramana Mitra: Do you have drivers that a lot of people need that you’re making significant business out of? Have you seen that?

Ross Mason: We certainly see clusters around certain SaaS applications. Obviously, Salesforce is leading the charge on enterprise. They really opened up that market. As such, we have a very strong relationship with Salesforce on many levels. We partner with them and they’ve also invested in us as a company. We work very closely with their field teams and even their product teams on helping drive more value to the product they’re bringing to the market by unlocking the data inside the organization.

To give you an example, when Salesforce announced Wave, we were one of the strategic partners there to drive data into their new Wave data analytics platform. The same for Lightning Connect. Lightning Connect is their way of getting more data into Salesforce. We have a solution that we partnered with them to get that data from many different sources inside the enterprise. There are lots of ways we partner with them. We see them as very strategic to our growth. Other examples would be Workday. We do a lot of work with Workday customers because there’s a lot of connection points to HRM. Also, ServiceNow. Those are the three horsemen of the cloud era into the enterprise. These apps tend to be the ones that land first.

Sramana Mitra: You have raised a very significant amount of money at this point. You talked about your $4 million Series A and $12.5 million Series B. Can you talk a bit about the milestones that triggered rounds of financing or where you chose to bring in new rounds of financing?

Ross Mason: The first three were about global expansion. The last two have been about really putting the paddle on the accelerator.

Sramana Mitra: What are the scaling points? What are the levers you’re pressing with these rounds?

Ross Mason: It’s important to understand that we view ourselves as a product company first. A product company creates amazing products that delights customers and delights engineers because they’re working on something that really adds value to the marketplace. In that realm, when we say accelerate, you could just assume that we are putting everything into the field. Yes, we grew our field organization, but we also grew our product organization at the same rate. The reason is, not only are we building more products, but we’re also taking on more use cases. We’re getting deeper in certain verticals like healthcare, financial services, and retail where we have a strong clustering of customers where they have a real need for this type of platform. I wouldn’t say it’s poured into one area. It gets sprinkled in different areas to drive the long-term vision of the company, which is to create an amazing product that ends up the de facto standard in the way people connect applications, data, and devices.

Sramana Mitra: Do you have a professional services organization?

Ross Mason: Yes.

Sramana Mitra: How significant is that and how big a part does the professional services part of the business play in your being able to get to the large accounts?

Ross Mason: Between professional services and our channel organizations, we work with some of the biggest consultancies like CapGemini and Deloitte. The role of our services organization is we focus on high-value services that will guide the customer in the right direction. We don’t do delivery services. We don’t really put bodies on the ground for our customers to deliver software. What we do is architectural reviews, enablement services and workshops, and foundation that helps them get their software development in order for agile development. That’s what our services organization does.

It’s extremely important because with any piece of software, if you give people the right foundation, they can be wildly successful with it versus just getting marginal benefits out of adopting an easy-to -use platform. We look at the sales organization as rocket fuel for the success of our customer. If they want to work with a partner, we’ll work with that partner to make sure that their people are enabled and understand where we’re coming from and how to get successful in that platform.

Sramana Mitra: At what point in this continuum did you switch leadership structure? You brought in an external CEO. At what point did you do that?

Ross Mason: That was in 2009.

Sramana Mitra: You did Series A and B. Before Series C, you brought on this new CEO?

Ross Mason: Exactly.

This segment is part 6 in the series : Unicorn in The Making: Ross Mason, Founder of MuleSoft
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