Pigment just closed an exciting $88M Series C (TechCrunch coverage here). The company is rapidly emerging as the global leader in the next generation of business planning platforms (aka Anaplan replacement), a testament to the power of a world-class team delivering great execution consistently over years.
While we at FirstMark are certainly excited to have been a part of the journey as investors since the seed round, this round is also noteworthy in terms of what it may (or may not) signal about the broader market. A few thoughts:
Growth market: The last 18 months have been incredibly slow in the growth market. Yet this growth round at Pigment was completely preemptive, and highly competitive, involving a number of top firms. What does it mean for the growth market? Maybe it’s an example of continued flight to quality during a downmarket phase – investors seeking A+ companies. But maybe it’s also a sign of the growth market coming back to life, progressively. I certainly get an impression, talking to my growth friends, that everyone is antsy to do more deals after largely sitting on their hands for the last 18 months, and the market has recalibrated somewhat to more reasonable levels. The obvious caveat is that one shouldn’t derive pattern from a small n, but anectodally, another portfolio company of mine will also announce a growth round soon.
Not AI: The one part of the venture market that has been active, of course, has been Generative AI. Interestingly, while it quickly rolled out some great AI features as part of its platform, and while it has impressive data infrastructure at the core of it, Pigment is not an AI company. As a next generation business planning software platform, it offers a mission critical product, going after a very large market opportunity. Perhaps this is an interesting example for a number of companies out there, that they do not need to necessarily reposition themselves as AI-native companies in order to get interest from investors.
Global company, with European HQ: It is still sometimes counter intuitive to some in the US that great, startups can be built in other geographies and go on to be globally dominant. Yes, the thinking goes, there’s been a generation or two of European and Israeli companies that dominated their categories, but each time the typical journey was to start in Europe, and then flip to the US — founders would move, companies would “flip” and become Delware corporations, and the HQ would be relocated to San Francisco or NYC. None of this happened with Pigment – both Eleonore and Romain, the company’s co-CEOs, still live in France; the company is a French law entity and while the US team is increasingly large, HQ remains in Paris. Yet Pigment has signed many of the most visible logos in the US as customers – Figma, Brex, Carta, Airtable, etc., demonstrating that the world for great SaaS products has truly become one big marketplace.
Congrats Eleonore, Romain and the entire Pigment team! Excited for the next steps in the journey.