Incepted in Russia 11 years ago, this enterprise software startup is now valued at $17.5 billion

07 January 2022

Miro, a US enterprise software publisher with Russian roots, announced yesterday a $400 million Series C round. The deal brought the company — known as RealtimeBoard when it was founded in Russia back in 2011 — to an astounding $17.5 billion post-money valuation.

Several other unicorns founded or co-founded by Russian entrepreneurs emerged on the global tech scene over the past years — from Badoo, to Personio, to Veeam Software, to Wrike. But only Pavel Durov’s Telegram and Nikolay Storonsky’s Revolut can boast a valuation above that of Miro.

Miro’s latest capital injection was provided by Iconiq Growth – a Silicon Valley fund backed by such tech billionaires as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey – Accel, Atlassian, Dragoneer, GIC, Salesforce Ventures, and TCV.

Iconiq and Access were involved in the previous, $50 million round of April 2020. The valuation was not disclosed, but East-West Digital News heard from a source close to the deal that Miro had not reached yet the unicorn status at that time.

A toolkit used by “99% of Fortune 100 companies”

Miro offers a visual collaboration platform that allows distributed teams to “create, collaborate, and centralize communication for all cross-functional team work.” This solution is touted as “an entire toolkit for user story or customer journey maps, wireframing, roadmap or sprint planning, retros, and more,” allowing teams to start collaborating “in 90 seconds.”

Demand for such solutions has skyrocketed in times of epidemic, as business and educational customers move from physical to remote work.

Since the April 2020 round, the company claims to have increased its user base “by 500% (from 5 million to 30 million)” and its paying customer base “by 550% (from 20,000 to 130,000).” It says it works now “with 99% of Fortune 100 companies as they adopt a new, digital-first way of working.”

Miro has some 1,200 employees (up from 300 in April 2020) in 11 cities across the world — including Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Perm, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo.

The company says the latest funding will be invested in “product development and programs designed to bring the visual collaboration platform to more enterprises,” while it will “continue expanding its global footprint.”

“Since our initial investment, Miro has scaled with tremendous momentum, strong market leadership, and incredible product velocity,” stated Iconiq Growth General Partner and Miro board member Matthew Jacobson. “We believe Miro sits at a powerful intersection between asynchronous and synchronous work that captures and ignites creative processes everywhere.”

Jacobson believes “Miro’s culture of customer centricity” positions it to “address a myriad of use cases across hybrid work for more than a billion knowledge workers globally.”

Promising encounter in Moscow

Born in Perm, a city located some 1,150 km east from Moscow, Miro is the brainchild of Andrey Khusid and Oleg Shardin. In the early 2010s, their startup already got recognition from several domestic industry contests, as reported by East-West Digital News.

Among RealtimeBoard’s early investors was Bas Godska, one of the most prolific business angels in the former Soviet Union. In an exchange with EWDN, this Dutch businessman recalled his first encounter with Khusid: “I moderated a panel in Moscow — it was around 2013 — and in the audience was Andrey, who seemed very devoted to his product.”

Besides the product — which at that time had “little to do with Miro” — Godska felt a friendly connection with this entrepreneur. “I loved his intelligent devotion to his product, and we stayed in touch.”

Godska offered some coaching to Khusid “before the true breakthrough was achieved.”

“I mentored the first moment when Andrey needed to raise funds at seed stage. I was thinking for less than a second to back him. Since then it’s been crazy of course. It’s amazing how razor-sharp and down-to-earth the founding team has remained amid such hyper-growth.”

“Miro’s success story is yet another demonstration of the huge international potential of some of the startups grown in this region, which hosts some of the best engineers in the world,” the Dutch investor concluded.

Godska recently co-founded Acrobator Ventures, a fund that allocates a significant part of its capital to investing in Eastern European startups.

Source
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