Tech in Montana: Raising Series B Funding in Our Own Valley

07/18/2019

For a long time, Submittable was a single office above a sushi restaurant in downtown Missoula, MT. You could count all of the employees on a single hand. This included the three co-founders—a novelist, a filmmaker, and a rock-and-roll guitar player—who wanted a better, faster way for individuals and organizations to navigate any application process. 

That was 2010 and the tech world was in Silicon Valley—not 920 miles away in the Rocky Mountains. But the co-founders all had families in Missoula. They wanted to build a tech company in Montana. The novelist, CEO Michael FitzGerald, knew the publishing slush pile added months to the submission and review process for writers, so he focused the young company on revolutionizing the publishing industry. 

door with logo

It quickly became clear the problem didn’t stop at publishing. Individuals running contests, grantmakers, corporate giving committees, anyone dealing with submissions, struggled with the clunky, slow review tools available. So the co-founders stayed up all night writing code, slept on coaches in New York to save money before big client meetings, and eventually, left the office above the sushi restaurant for a larger space down the street. The number of employees grew. 

Today there are 89 employees on two floors of the historic Florence hotel overlooking the Clark Fork River, and Submittable has announced its $10 million Series B raise from Next Coast Ventures, along with returning investors True Ventures, Next Frontier Capital and Flywheel Ventures. The investment is the 2nd largest Enterprise software Series B in Montana’s history, bringing the total investment today in Submittable to $17 million.

Robin from sales

The financing will further accelerate investment in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered matching, review technology and mobile apps connecting more opportunity-seekers with organizations of all sizes. In the press release today, Michael Smerklo, co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures called Submittable, “a perfect example of what is possible outside Silicon Valley. The platform is modernizing the often painful undertaking of managing the submission process and leveraging that data for genuine opportunity creation.” 

What does that mean for you?

  • If you’re a customer, first, thank you: This is a big moment for us and it wouldn’t have happened without your support and feedback. With this funding, you can expect to see more and more new features aimed at making your work even simpler. Advanced reporting, multi-round review tools, and public voting updates are all coming down the pipeline.
  • If you’re thinking about becoming a customer, please reach out. Our team will take time to learn about your needs and process, walk you through a personalized demo, and set you up with a custom trial account so you can see it for yourself.  
  • If you want to join our growing team, we’re hiring! Here’s how to apply.

On a more personal note, we want to thank everyone who helped turn this tiny Montana start-up into a company that brings thousands of organizations and millions of submitters together to do amazing work. 

Your excitement about the product gave us the conviction to get started, your feedback made us better, and your continued support motivates our team to build new things everyday. We’re looking forward to seeing what the next million customers do with Submittable.

Photos by Beth Berger

Jolene Brink

Jolene Brink is Submittable's Marketplace Development Manager, which means she spends most of her time thinking about ways to connect Submittable's creative community with the more than 10,000 organizations using Submittable to collect submissions. She's also a poet and visual artist. You can see her creative work here: jolenebrink.com