Grotech Ventures this week led a $3.1 million Series A funding round for SturdyAI, a Portland, Ore.-based developer of a customer intelligence and automation platform, capping an eventful first half of 2022 in which it made over half a dozen portfolio investments and three exits.
“SaaS companies collect a ton of information from their customers every day, but much of it fails to convert to useful and actionable data,” said managing general partner Lawson DeVries, who will join Sturdy AI’s board.
“Actionable customer intelligence is no longer a nice-to-have aspect for companies of all sizes – it is mission critical for businesses to thrive in today’s market,” he added, pointing out that Grotech has a long history in this segment of the software market.
Track record of stellar deals and leadership
DeVries is a 17-year veteran at Grotech, having joined the firm in 2005. He was promoted as managing general partner in 2020. He has focused on investments in software and tech-enabled services companies. He was the first investor in NexGen Storage (acquired by Fusion-io) and has been closely associated with a number of Grotech portfolio companies including Log Rhythm (acquired by Thoma Bravo), Logi Analytics (acquired by Marlin Equity), BroadSoft (acquired by Cisco), and Collective Intellect (acquired by Oracle).
“Over the last fifteen years, Lawson has demonstrated a strong track record of successful investments and leadership,” Frank Adams, Grotech’s founder and executive chairman, said upon DeVries’ elevation. “Under Lawson’s leadership, we are extremely well positioned to continue partnering with the best and brightest entrepreneurs while driving exceptional returns for our limited partners,” he added.
DeVries represents Grotech on the boards of over a dozen portfolio companies, among them Apkudo, Ceros and CrowdStreet.
DeVries started his career doing equity research at Deutsche Bank, and later managed sales at Buckingham Research Group. He has a BA in English literature from Harvard University and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
So far in 2022, the Owings Mills, Md.-based venture firm has closed the following funding deals:
- SturdyAI, $3.1 million, Series A, Portland, Ore.
- ShardSecure, $11 million, Series A, New York
- Sunstone Credit, seed round, undisclosed
- EcoMap, $3.5 million, seed round, Baltimore
- Apkudo, $14 million, Series B, Baltimore
- Krista Software, $15 million, Dallas, TX
- Yardstik, $8 million, Series A, Minneapolis
- FactoryFix, $10 million, Series A, Chicago
Grotech also had three exits:
- Perishable Shipping Solutions, of Youngstown, Ohio, by Lineage Logistics, of Novi, MI
- Urjanet, of Atlanta, Ga., by Arcadia, of Washington, D.C.
- Youreka, of Baltimore, by Dispatch, of Boston
Grotech Ventures, founded in 1984, is one of the oldest established venture firms in the country, notably in the Baltimore region. It eyes opportunities to invest between $500,000 and $5 million in cybersecurity, fintech, supply chain, logistics and software startups.
So far, Grotech has raised nine funds and made 315 portfolio investments. It has exited 63 portfolio companies.