Announcing Our Investment in Pace

Aug 24, 2022
Announcing Our Investment in Pace
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We’re excited to announce our investment in Pace’s $5M Seed round, alongside AlleyCorp, and other notable angel investors including John McMahon, 5x public company CRO; Adam Gross, Former CEO of Heroku; Jeanne Dewitt Grosser, Head of Revenue and Growth at Stripe, Jay Simons, Former President of Atlassian, and others.

At Work-Bench, we love backing enterprise teams that call New York City home and who have previously experienced the pain points they’re now solving for firsthand. Founded by former MongoDB revenue and product leaders, Pace co-founders Justin Dignelli (CEO) and Rez Khan (CPO) fit the bill.

TL;DR 

Pace enables the transformation from traditional enterprise sales motions to a hybrid, product-led approach.

The Team

Justin and Rez met during their time at MongoDB. There, they helped launch and grow MongoDB Atlas, a self-serve cloud product that facilitated the introduction of product-led growth (PLG) to the public database company by transforming its traditional top-down selling motion to a PLG and consumption model. Ultimately, MongoDB Atlas grew from $0 to $400M to comprise over 50% of MongoDB's overall revenue (more of MongoDB’s journey and success here). 

From their time at MongoDB Atlas, Justin and Rez saw firsthand the enormous opportunity for a PLG model, coupled with their existing enterprise sales, to transform a company’s growth trajectory. Justin recently recounted his time at MongoDB from early 2018:  

“...During Dev Ittycheria's [CEO of MongoDB] keynote presentation, he…explain[ed] how a low-friction, self-service model would only amplify our existing, well-oiled sales machine. We were putting fuel on the fire and $1B was destiny, not fantasy - everyone in that room left believing exactly that…
MongoDB, of course, had many tailwinds working in our favor. We had massive adoption of our open-source product, along with a proven enterprise sales go-to-market. Despite these tailwinds, we knew there was room for even more growth. The transformation to a product-led go-to-market motion was our ‘x-factor.’”

The Problem

The way enterprise products have been built in the last few years has fundamentally changed with the rise of product-led growth. Enterprise buyers historically needed to talk to a sales rep to buy or use a product. Buyers now expect self-adopted products that allow them to pay for what they use. 

To accommodate this shift in behavior, enterprise companies are shifting their growth strategies, which can be seen in the rise of self-service products like Twilio, Snowflake, Atlassian, and others, with the growth rate of public PLG companies found to be nearly 25% higher than traditional SaaS companies. 

While these new strategies are great for customers, they materially change the workflows of most go-to-market teams. With PLG, there are more users of varying intent touching a product than ever before, creating an entirely new layer of user data that forces Sales, Product, and Marketing teams to change how they work. 

Because of these new workflows, GTM teams struggle to adapt to this new way of understanding customers. As Justin says, “I’ve spent the last decade working as a quota-carrying rep, a sales manager, and in an operations role tackling complex challenges related to product-led growth. Spending time in the right place has always been the challenge and PLG only makes that harder—there are so many more customers whose statuses change every minute.”

The Solution

Pace has identified that companies are no longer “either/or” - either traditional enterprise sales or PLG. Instead, almost all companies are a blend of both - building a product that enables users to self-service, coupled with an enterprise sales team that can go after these users as scalable leads and/or upsells - more about hybrid GTM motions here.

Pace is building a new stack of GTM infrastructure to enable this hybrid, product-led growth and enterprise sales motion. Pace ingests data from a customer’s CRMs, data warehouses, and usage data from the product to equip customer-facing teams with critical insights about customer behavior.

More specifically, they create a unified customer funnel that allows customers to orchestrate their GTM via code across systems and teams. By providing the ability to create workflows around individual users, Pace helps sales teams understand where an individual user is in their in-product journey, their health, and how best to engage them to increase customer lifetime value (LTV). This cohesive view of the customer allows teams to spend time growing revenue, not combing through dashboards.

The former Head of Growth at GitLab explains it well: 

"I think the most burning need is definitely laying out that data foundation—connecting marketing data with product usage and with sales activity— to map the entire user journey. Whether it's marketing campaigns or product usage, how do we guide the user to use the critical features—whether that’s during onboarding or with sales touches like calls, conversations, or emails." 

Pace is already seeing traction with design partners ranging from Fortune 500 companies to high-growth startups, including Equinix, Starburst, Streamsets, Influxdata, Firebase, and more. The team has also been hard at work publishing content and building an incredible community (see their jobs board and past meetups here and here). If you are a company moving towards a hybrid PLG motion, check out Pace and their launch blog post to learn more.

We're super excited to support and cheer on Pace as they head into this next chapter. 🎉

Pace Team & Work-Bench
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