Email is broken, and investors are going deep on Front ($PRIVATE:FRONTAPP) which, by some estimates, may already be worth $800 million. We looked into the startup’s rapid growth to get a handle on why investors (and journalists) believe there’s so much upside for this company. Everyone understands that email is disruptable, there are no real competitors in the industry, and it's hard to reinvent the wheel on something so ubiquitous.
Cofounders Mathilde Collin and Laurent Perrin founded Front seven years ago, and while it doesn't publicly share its valuation, it's received $138 million in fundraising thus far. The list of investors include Zoom CEO Eric Yuan, Okta co-founder Frederic Kerrest, Qualtircs' co-founders, and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.
Here's what they may be seeing in Front.
So far, ratings for Front's app are relatively positive and growing, although a 3.6 out of 5 in the Google Play Store is just above average. Then again, a lot of Front's users are likely doing so on desktop machines, so app reviews only provide an early glimpse into how people are responding to the software.
Some real growth, however, can be seen in Front's workforce size. According to LInkedIn, the start has doubled in size over the last year, adding 100+ new workers.
Over the last six months, hiring has been more or less the same, landing at or around 50 openings at any given time.
Front has added 160% more followers on Twitter in three years. For a software and HR company like Front, positive growth in social will become a critical user-communication tool, as we've seen with similar companies in the space like Slack.
Front has room for improvement on Instagram, although that platform hasn't been proven to be an important medium for companies of this sort. That said, there may be an opportunity here, especially for a company that's trying to get people to think differently about something as vanilla as email.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.