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Why Getting Funded as a Start-up Is a Lot Like Getting Married


Hemanth Puttaswamy

May 12, 2020

Do I have your attention now? OK, so we didn't exactly get hitched, but we did a start-up version of that by closing $3 million in funding with Osage Venture Partners (OVP). This is a great milestone as we execute our vision and continue to grow, becoming a game changer in the contract management space.

Why, you ask? Well, at Malbek we love analogies because they use stories to tell deeper truths, so let's go with the marriage metaphor to explain. Getting married and taking on investment have a surprising number of things in common.

For starters, the dating and engagement phases are pretty intense. You spend a lot of time putting your best foot forward to attract your counterpart. They want to know who you really are, and you want the same. You share your plans for the future and expectations for your partnership. You spend lots of time together trying to figure out if you can live with things the way they are, like the fact that they leave the cap off the toothpaste tube, or whatever the start-up equivalent of that is (maybe cheesy blog posts?). Both sides talk about finances and meet the family (think customers, employees, and business partners). And once you have the term sheet (equivalent to the engagement ring), the negotiating begins. When is the big day? What will the relationship look like? What are your common goals?

All jokes aside, getting funded is somewhat like getting married because it opens up new opportunities. Doing a start-up on your own can only take you so far. At Malbek, we knew we were ready for that next phase of growth, and we knew that to achieve it we needed a strong VC partner, like OVP, who is the perfect fit for us.

Did you know that a staggering 85 percent of enterprises lack an effective contract lifecycle management solution? As crazy as that number sounds, we know it's true because we've talked to countless companies who are deeply unhappy with their CLM tool or don't have one at all and are ready for something modern and refreshing. Now that we have numerous customers implemented and enjoying the benefits of our platform, we are ready to innovate more and accelerate our growth. Many thanks to our customers and partners for their incredible support. We know that we can continue to change the market experience of contract lifecycle management for the better.

Partnering with OVP also brings experience and perspective. They place a huge emphasis on cultural fit for their portfolio companies, something we also deeply care about at Malbek. Together we can scale the company while maintaining the integrity of the unique culture we've built. There is a drive and rigor that we embrace at Malbek while balancing our human need for connection and fun. We work hard, but we also play hard. From our conversational marketing tone to the jam sessions after weekly dev meetings, it's all about people and relationships. As we look ahead with this investment, we are excited about increasing our solution footprint with an expanded product suite and growing our market presence with more customers across even more geographies.

Under the current circumstances, we are humbled for being welcomed into the family, especially with the current economic conditions. This experience has been surreal. One minute we were pitching to investors on our traction of winning big customers, getting them live in record time, accelerating revenue growth, and there was a ton of interest. The next minute, the world went upside down with the pandemic crisis. In spite of this, we still got offers for funding, including interest from a few of our esteemed customers, partners, and initial round investors. We are very thankful for these wonderful VCs and investors who keep the American innovation engine running come rain or shine. As they say the crisis can be an opportunity to do something big, and we believe we are on that train.

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