Funding will spur growth in its AI-driven marketplace with plans to double workforce in Montana headquarters in the next year
Submittable, the leading application review and opportunity marketplace, announced a $10 million Series B funding led by Next Coast Ventures with continued participation by returning investors True Ventures, Next Frontier Capital and Flywheel Ventures. The financing will further accelerate the company’s ongoing investment in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered matching, review technology and mobile apps connecting more opportunity-seekers with organizations of all sizes.
Since launching in 2010 and graduating from Y Combinator’s accelerator program, Submittable has provided over 10,000 organizations a platform for accepting, reviewing and ranking more than 20 million digital submissions and applications from over three million users. The “CRM for submissions” was launched by three creatives — a writer, a filmmaker and a musician — who wanted not just to simplify and improve the process of submitting their own work, but also wanted to create a marketplace to match the submissions with real opportunities across many industries including publishing, academia, philanthropy, contests and corporate giving. Submittable’s robust, user-friendly review tools and growing AI-enabled technology have become so proficient at making meaningful matches that organizations find quality submissions for specific opportunities through the platform within days, rather than weeks. Applicants receive real-time updates on the status of their applications, streamlining the acceptance process for companies. Customers include Fortune 500 companies including AT&T and NBC, storytellers including HBO and ESPN, and many mission-driven nonprofits including the Knight Foundation.
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“To date there’s been no meaningful platform that helps organizations create opportunities and review submissions to them — most companies, like ZipRecruiter and Indeed, have focused on job applications and hiring, but there are millions of submission processes that have nothing to do with jobs such as manuscripts, peer-review, contests, films, auditions, grant or academic applications,” said Michael FitzGerald, co-founder and chief executive officer of Submittable. “We haven’t just built one of the cleanest and easy-to-use UI’s out there, we’ve perfected the customizable review processes for hundreds of use-cases and are now building out a suite of AI-matching technologies that will help any organization find the right opportunity for them.”
While Submittable has raised venture dollars from some of the most innovative minds in Silicon Valley, it’s based in the college-town of Missoula, Montana. The picturesque city sits at the convergence of five mountain ranges and boasts over 5,000 acres of conserved open space. Submittable is the pride of the local tech ecosystem with over half of the 88-person staff coming out of the University of Montana. But as they’ve grown, they’ve also found success in recruiting top-talent from beyond Montana’s borders: currently over 10% of employees have relocated from coastal markets citing the high quality of life Montana offers, the company expects this number to continue to grow. Recent executives have come from leading brands like Disney, Microsoft and Oracle. The financing will also be used to expand the company’s footprint in Missoula with plans to hire seven people a month through the end of 2020 — a massive scaling initiative for the local ecosystem and a testament to Montana’s growing innovation scene.
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“Submittable is 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,” said Michael Smerklo, co-founder and managing director of Next Coast Ventures who will be joining Submittable’s board as part of the investment. “Submittable’s UI is so clean and easy to use, that paired with their customization ability and matching technology has really established them as the foremost platform in the space across multiple industries. The growth of the business has been phenomenal and we are thrilled to be partnering with the company and Michael as they continue to improve the lives of both opportunity seekers and creators of all sizes — and we are especially looking forward to spending more time on the ground in beautiful Montana.”
Submittable launched out of Y Combinator in 2010 and has raised $17 million in funding since its founding. In addition to the nearly 100 Missoula-based employees, the company has satellite teams in both New York and Beijing. Other Submittable clients include NPR, Conde Nast, The New Yorker, Harvard, MIT, TEDx, National Geographic and thousands of others.
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