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Yesware launches e-mail tracking product for salespeople, collects $1 million from Google Ventures and Foundry Group

Posted by Scott Kirsner  September 27, 2011 09:55 AM

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Yesware founder Matthew Bellows, a second-time entrepreneur who sold a company to CNET back in 2004, says he talked to 45 different angels, micro-VCs, and seed-stage investors earlier this year, while raising money for his latest venture. Still, his fundraising pace is pretty surprising: the company was incorporated last September, and began building a prototype. They started seeking money around the holidays, and closed a $1 million round with Google Ventures and Foundry Group in April. Not bad.

Yesware is announcing its funding today, along with the availability of its product, which helps salespeople manage their e-mail interactions with prospects and customers.

Bellows explains that while Yesware is targeting salespeople, it can be useful for anyone who sends a lot of e-mails. "We offer e-mail templates for the kinds of e-mails you send frequently, and there's also tracking that can tell you when a message was opened, how many times, and whether it was read on a desktop machine or a mobile device," he says. "We can even look up the IP address to see what city they were in when they opened it, so you know if they were in the office or on the road." Yesware is built to work with Gmail (an Outlook version is on the drawing boards), and data about interactions with would-be customers can be saved to widely-used customer relationship management systems like Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, and Landslide CRM, Bellows says.

Yesware is free for individuals to use, but once sales managers decide to start organizing teams of salespeople who use the system — and getting reports on their activity — Yesware will start charging $20 per user, per month, Bellows says.

The three-person company is in hiring mode, Bellows says. They've been operating out of the free Dogpatch Labs shared offices in Kendall Square, which is underwritten by Polaris Venture Partners. Rich Miner made the Yesware investment for Google, and Brad Feld for Foundry Group.

Bellows tells me that about 500 people have been using Yesware since its beta test began in June. None are paying customers — yet.

Now, it's time for Yesware to prove its own sales mettle.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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