Launching a company at the height of the recession requires selling a product customers deem absolutely necessary. That’s one lesson behind the success of Zapproved, a Portland start up that helps companies manage their regulatory compliance obligations.
BY LINDA BAKER
Monica Enand, CEO of Zapproved.
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
Launching a company at the height of the recession requires selling a product customers deem absolutely necessary. That’s one lesson behind the success of Zapproved, a Portland start up that helps companies manage their regulatory compliance obligations. When a firm is involved in litigation, it has to preserve all documents that are potentially relevant to the case, says CEO Monica Enand, who founded Zapproved in 2008. The company’s web-based software, Legal Hold Pro, helps clients keep track of those documents, which now include emails, texts and tweets. “Companies lose millions of dollars and get sanctioned by courts for not following their obligation,” says Enand. Zapproved “took off,” she says, precisely because so many companies must comply with legal hold rules and regulations. Enand declined to reveal gross revenues, but said the company had been “on a pretty steep ramp” in the past nine months, adding six new employees — for a total of 14 — and many new clients, including Hess Energy and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. As part of its marketing strategy, the company produces white papers, webinars and blog posts explaining regulatory compliance minutiae. What’s the next step? “The product has been accepted by the market,” Enand says. “Right now, it’s all about scaling sales.”
During the early months, Enand funded Zapproved out of pocket. There was a $1 million angel round in October 2009, and a second A round for $1.5 million in late 2010. Investors include TriQuint chair Steve Sharp, Steve Wynne, former president of Adidas, and Steve Singh, CEO of Concur Technologies.
“Portland is an amazing place to start a company,” says Enand. “There are a decent number of successful CEOs, not just to give you money but their learning.” The downside: “I’ve had a tough time hiring developers. There aren’t a lot of big companies that would be early adopters, so you have to go elsewhere for that.”