Blog Post

Announcing Ushur's $50M Series C Funding

Blog Post

Simha Sadasiva

CEO & Co-Founder
Ushur
in
Series C Simha Quote

Today, we are announcing our $50M Series C funding. Having established a great base of marquee customers in Insurance and Healthcare, built a world-class team, expanded our products portfolio and established a healthy go-to-market momentum, I can confidently say that we are well on our way to reach escape velocity with closing our Series C. This is a significant milestone for Ushur, setting us up with a strong balance sheet that will enable us to grow significantly. We intend to use the proceeds for continued market development and dominance in Customer Experience Automation (CXA), investing in our AI-powered platform and expanding our global customer base.

Avoiding the land mines

Our startup journey began with our founding vision to create a customer experience automation platform to drive better experiences. We memorialized our intent with our company name by calling it Ushur. Early validation from our first customers who adopted our solution and created value for their business while delivering delightful customer experiences nurtured our early viable and lovable product. We built on this early success and grew stronger by the increased velocity of our deployment footprint by expanding into multiple verticals while increasing our addressable market, now tens of billions of dollars.

Reflecting on our journey, we are mindful of the odds we overcame to get here. We are very grateful for the outcomes we have experienced as we join an elite, tiny percentage of the best of the best startups that get to this stage. We are rooted in humility as we acknowledge the role serendipity plays. The intangibles from lady luck tip the balance between success and failure. There are many other reasons for the vast majority of startups to fail. For companies to get past Series C, it requires overcoming many of these challenges: founder alignment, market fit, team, and last but not least - access to capital.

Founder alignment

At Ushur, we have been lucky that Henry Peter, our CTO and co-founder, and I are completely aligned in our vision for Ushur. We have a clear sense of purpose of why Ushur exists and what our mission is. Between the two of us, we have complementary skills and have spanned the full breadth of execution end-end to parachute in and help the team in any situation. Founder fallout and founder fatigue are often the reasons companies find exit paths or die. Fortunately, Henry and I have figured out swim lanes and strategies to tag team and stay fresh after all these years of working together.

Teamwork makes the dream work

Next, one has to be lucky to assemble a very core group of people - your early employees who are scrappy, have a chip on their shoulders, align with the mission, and evolve from generalists into specialists. At Ushur, we have been incredibly fortunate to assemble such an aligned group. Michael Fisher and Sreevathsa Duglapura are our product and engineering leaders who have navigated this journey with poise and patience. A significant investment we made post-Series B was to strengthen our leadership team. With help from our amazing people leader Sarah Stevens, we have created a framework and safe space for our team to thrive by enabling them to leverage their talents guided by values that foster growth and reward risk-taking.

Getting to green pastures

And then, you must have market availability and readiness to adopt your offering. It is not for the faint-hearted to focus on enterprise customers as your initial GTM motions and stay the course. The long sales cycles, lumpiness, and the more considerable initial investments to find product-market fit and go-to-market fit are often reasons why more founders gravitate to mid-market or SMB plays. But Ushur has focused on Global 2000 and Fortune 500 customers from day one. The growing demand for automation, in general, and the customer experience, in particular, has been impeccable timing for us. We have built a world-class, go-to-market team that has focused on brand and demand in equal proportions. Thanks to our two GTM leaders - Ron Gupta, our CRO, and Kashif Mahbub, our CMO, we grew 6X in the past two years as our customers in Insurance and Healthcare looked for solutions to navigate the pandemic, the Great Resignation, and the growing urgent demand from their customers for better service experiences. We established our presence on four continents without boots on the ground because we were a cloud-native, AI-native platform from Day 1. Our post-Series B journey required us to continue our customer pursuits in Insurance, and we are proud of the team for having made tremendous progress with Fortune 500 and Global 2000 insurers. We expanded our footprint in Healthcare, landing 3 of the top 6 healthcare companies in the world and a host of other marquee healthcare customers. Serving the healthcare market needs is very close to my heart. Having cared for my terminally ill mom for over 10 years, I intimately dealt with providers and payers with excruciating friction. Eliminating these pains, making such experiences a thing of the past, and transforming these industries are deeply personal to me.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Retaining our existing base of customers is such a critical requirement. Ushur could not have asked for a better leader to lead our Customer Growth and Retention function. Vandana Rao perfectly balances understanding our technology and managing post-sales value creation for our customers. Under her leadership, we have demonstrated off-the-charts net retention revenue (NRR) metrics - thanks to an incredible effort by our CSM team, ably supported by our engineering and product teams, who have taken care of our business by enabling our customers to deploy the most comprehensive CXA platform.

Gurus and mentors

It is time to also shout out to all the fantastic advisors and mentors - formal or otherwise, from whom I have learned a great deal. Thank you, Murli Thirumale, Ted Reed, Phil Bruen, and Douglas Kim, for all you have done to coach me. And then, I have two CEOs whom I have watched execute and learn from - Chet Kapoor, CEO of DataStax, and Sudheesh Nair, CEO of Thoughtspot. These advisors are my Dronacharya - the legendary, revered teacher from the great Indian epic - Mahabharata.

Good VCs, Bad VCs

Most often, entrepreneurs deal with the hand they are dealt with concerning the VC partners they choose. I have heard my fair share of horror stories of the VC-Founders dynamics that lead to turmoil and failed companies. We have been fortunate in this regard to have investors who are 100% aligned with the core vision for Ushur and have enabled us to execute without any distractions. Because of the shared vision and conviction, our existing investors doubled down on the company and underwrote our Series C investment. As a first-time CEO and founder, I stumbled a few times along this journey but have gotten stronger with great support and mentorship from our board.

Our earliest angel investors seeded us, and our Series A, B, and C investors have nurtured and helped us grow. A big shoutout to Sridhar Chandrashekar, Larry Rosenberg, Murali Venkatesan, Pankaj Patel, Joe Lonsdale & Bhaskar Ghosh from 8VC, Mohanjit Jolly from IronPillar, Bharat Rajaram from Aflac Ventures, Barry Mosheim from Pentland Ventures. Saving the best for last, I would not be the CEO I am without the unflinching support of Robert Schwartz from Third Point Ventures. Rob's witty, insightful, and deep scaling experience as an investor and board member has been the difference maker for Ushur. I always look forward to a conversation with Rob, which is always a fun-filled and experience-rich banter.

Getting to blue oceans

Our post-Series C journey requires us to scale fast. As one of my advisors reminds me, time and again, to achieve scale, you have to have repeatability. This intentional repeatability will bring focus and efficiency to any business. Our platform has evolved so much since our MVP/MLP. As we extend the depths of our platform capabilities, we are focused on accelerating value creation. We are enhancing our CXA builder experience. We are working on some fascinating AI initiatives. By adapting to the industries we serve, the advancements in language intelligence with Large Language Models & Generative AI Ushur's AI-native CXA fast tracks solving problems that will require armies of developers and AI scientists. This speed-to-value differentiation is our moat - one we will significantly invest in as we scale. Ushur has on-boarded several partners and channels. We are also expanding the various systems you can connect to Ushur. The vibrant partner ecosystem and interconnectivity allow our prospective and existing customers to overlay the most modern system of intelligence for massive value creation. Contrary to what may appear like a competitive, crowded space in CX, our intentional attempt at value creation through CX Automation is the first of its kind. Our big bet is that our vision's completeness and execution focus will lead us to the blue ocean to become the de facto CXA Cloud leader.

As we grow and scale, we will always be mindful of the core principles of our startup journey to stay humble and be nimble. It's still DAY 1 for all of us as we make our way onwards and upwards.

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