WebOps SaaS Platform pantheon, which began several years ago as a Drupal and WordPress hosting service, today announced that it has raised a $100 million Series E round fully funded by the SoftBank Vision Fund. With this round, Pantheon has now reached unicorn status with a valuation of over $1 billion.
Pantheon co-founder and CEO Jack Rosen told me the company is under no pressure to raise funds. “It really helps us accelerate everything that we’re doing,” he said. “We didn’t need the money. We had plenty of cash in the bank. We were planning to raise in a year or two down the road. But we’re very confident about where this industry is going and our customers.” The needs of the company are quite clear, so we just used this as an opportunity to drag things along for six months to a year and accelerate everything that was already in place in our operating plans for the company.”
As Rosen noted, the role of company websites has changed significantly since the launch of Pantheon nearly a dozen years ago. Originally, they were mostly about brand building and a publishing channel, these days, they are directly linked to revenue. “Most buying decisions these days are made before even talking to a customer,” Rosen said. “All the research is being done — hopefully — on your company’s website. Any link in an ad or a link in an email will direct that customer back to the website. That’s your most important digital product. And so marketers really know about it.” I started thinking like this.”
So while hosting and publishing problems can be solved, increasing revenue through a company’s website — and measuring it — is where Pantheon sees a lot of opportunities going forward. While the core of the company’s offering is, of course, still its serverless hosting platform and developers remain its main audience. But it’s the collaboration between the marketing teams and the developers that the company is investing in now. “To deliver a best-in-class digital experience – and be able to iterate it every day and work with designers and developers and website owners and project managers – you need a system of records for that work. Those teams need a solid workflow,” Rosen said.
Companies, he argues, are looking for a solid SaaS platform that provides them with high-performance hosting, CDNs, and workflows among everything else that are now table stake for hosting websites. “[Teams] Want to stop thinking about this stuff,” he said. “They just want a companion – just like any other SaaS application, whether it’s Stripe, Twilio or Salesforce. They just want it to work and not worry about it. And then, once you have it With that in mind, you can move on to the things that really drive the results that these teams care about.”
To raise from the SoftBank Vision Fund, which includes its investments (and, infamously, WeWork) such as ByteDance, Perch, Redis Labs, Slack and Arm, Rosen said that Pantheon had its own choice of firms, but in the end he added , the day the SoftBank team proved “heavy believers in this category,” and could help Pantheon reach the scale it needs to define the WebOps category.
“Digital transformation has accelerated the movement of essential business infrastructure to the cloud. Vikas Parekh, Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors, said, “By automating workflow and do it yourself with our SaaS offering, we believe Pantheon’s flagship platform is transforming the modern website experience. “We are excited to partner with Zack and the Pantheon team to support their ambition to help organizations embrace a new and improved way of building websites that deliver results.”