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Originally published Monday, May 5, 2014 at 3:00 AM

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Smartsheet raises $35 million in latest funding round

Bellevue’s Smartsheet plans to continue to expand; more than 40,000 organizations employ its cloud-based service.

Seattle Times business reporter


Bellevue-based Smartsheet, which offers a spreadsheet-like application that helps people collaborate and manage projects online, has raised $35 million in its latest round of funding.

The 9-year-old company plans to use the funds to continue expanding its offerings while also pushing for wide-scale adoption by large companies.

More than 40,000 organizations now use Smartsheet’s cloud-based service, including Google, Netflix and Groupon, the company said.

To date, Smartsheet has raised $70 million, and has grown from offering basic spreadsheet sharing to offering an array of collaborative cloud-based and mobile tools.

The spreadsheet-like tool allows users to attach documents to a cell of a spreadsheet while also adding reminders for meetings or follow-up phone calls. It also keeps track of who has made changes on the document and who has the most up to date version.

It has been used for everything from helping to organize the Super Bowl to managing a goat farm to keeping track of church donations, said Brent Frei, Smartsheet founder and executive chairman. Frei also founded Onyx Software, a customer relationship management software developer, in 1994.

“If you look at a company these days, they all use spreadsheets,” Frei said. “This is a hybrid of spreadsheets and file sharing into one coordinated tool ... something that everyone can use easily.”

“People have become a lot less tolerant of things that don’t work easily. ... The phrase we always use is ‘consumer easy and enterprise ready,’ ” company CEO Mark Mader added.

It is the simplicity of the program that has attracted investors, including Seattle-based Madrona Venture Group.

“There are a lot of things that email and spreadsheets and other applications get used for that they are really not well designed to be used for,” said Matt McIlwain, managing director at Madrona Venture Group. “Now some of the really high-quality businesses — the Googles and Ciscos of the world — are using their products. That is exciting validation for what these guys have been working toward.”

This funding round was led by California-based Sutter Hill Ventures, but previous investors, Insight Venture Partners and Madrona Venture Group, also participated.

Jim White, managing director at Shutter Hill Ventures, joined the Smartsheet board as part of the financing deal. He also sits on the board of Shutterfly and

As Smartsheet continues to spread through offices of IT teams, auditors and engineers, Mader expects the Bellevue team will need to double its employee base from 120 employees to 250.

Mader said taking the company public is not off the table, but is not in the immediate future.

Madrona’s McIlwain said he thinks Smartsheet could be a stand-alone public company, “but we are a few years away from that,” he said.

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