It’s a big step for a small company to take on institutional financing from a global venture-capital firm—one with big expectations for growth, advanced business processes and, of course, returns.
But that’s the trajectory followed by WebPT, a scrappy Phoenix-based company that makes software for rehabilitation therapists, which partnered with Battery Ventures last year. In late April, company Co-Founder and COO Heidi Jannenga took the stage at a prominent women-in-technology conference to discuss that inflection point in WebPT’s history and the lessons she learned from it.
Jannenga told the audience at the Girls in Tech Catalyst conference that she and her fellow co-founder, her husband Brad Jannenga, could have been content to keep WebPT a modest “lifestyle business” with no expectations for breakout growth. But she and Brad instead elected to test WebPT’s limits.
The company spent two years interviewing more than 50 potential investors to find the right fit, Heidi Jannenga told the conference audience in Phoenix. They wanted a real partner, not just someone who would step in and operate the business, she added. Interestingly, Battery General Partner Chelsea Stoner was the only senior female investing partner she encountered in the search.
But Stoner also had the requisite healthcare- and SaaS-industry expertise to win Jannenga and her team over, she said. Now, a year after the investment, WebPT is reaping several benefits from the partnership, including more cash with which to make acquisitions and access to deep technical talent, such as Battery Technology Fellow Adrian Cockcroft. Cockcroft is the former cloud architect with Netflix and now helps counsel Battery’s portfolio companies on issues such as Web-infrastructure scaling.
Heidi Jannenga and her husband remain the second-largest shareholders of the company and grew headcount by 55 people last year. They hope to add a similar number of new employees this year. “As WebPT grows, it’s paramount we find the right people for our team–individuals who embody our culture, are passionate about our mission, and exceed our standards,” Heidi Jannenga said.
WebPT and Battery helped sponsor the Girls in Tech conference, which drew hundreds of women to Phoenix to discuss technology and leadership issues.