It’s been a busy summer for QGenda founder and CEO Greg Benoit. The Atlanta native’s healthcare tech startup landed a major investment in June, and now Benoit is parlaying that success into the creation of a new local venture capital firm, TechRise Ventures.
“Atlanta has a number of talented back-of-the-napkin startup investors (full disclosure: I am one!),” Benoit told Hypepotamus in an email interview, “and as we saw at QGenda there is a tremendous amount of access to later-stage private equity, but there is a huge need for local Atlanta early-stage growth equity.”
Hence TechRise Ventures, which hits the ground running this week with the announcement of its first official investment: WideAngle, software designed for weekly one-on-one meetings. The TechRise website’s portfolio listings includes Benoit’s QGenda (healthcare scheduling) and two startups he had previously invested in: ProRata (revenue recognition for cloud-based companies) and TapCue (telehealth communication software). “Real recognizes real. Greg has been there, knows the process, and understands what a successful entrepreneurial journey looks like,” WideAngle CEO Jon Birdsong told Hypepotamus. “He saw the value of our product and experienced it firsthand with his company QGenda.
“There are only 2 entrepreneurs in the city who have bootstrapped $100-million businesses by the time they were 33, and both of them happen to be investors in WideAngle. It’s on me to execute like them and fulfill their expectations, and most importantly, mine. This funding gives us that option,” Birdsong said.
Benoit, a Marist High School graduate, founded QGenda in 2006 as a way to help physicians and hospitals boost efficiency by doing a better job of scheduling their services. By moving to automation, cloud computing and apps, QGenda can help hospitals and clinics save money and increase patient care.
The company’s rapid rise to 1,200 customers in more than 30 medical disciplines at 5,000 hospitals and more than $20 million in annual revenue, landed QGenda its first-ever outside investment earlier this summer. The undisclosed sum came from Bay Area-based firm, Francisco Partners. (On its website, Francisco Partners says “the firm invests in transaction values ranging from $50 million to over $2 billion.”)
Now Benoit has a chance to return some of his company’s financial success to his native Atlanta by offering VC funds to startups like WideAngle.
“WideAngle is a perfect example of an Atlanta startup that has achieved strong product/market fit with over 70 well-known customers, and now is poised for hyper growth,” Benoit said. “We feel there is tremendous growth in store for WideAngle, and see a great opportunity to apply our experience in SaaS growth to help the company reach its full potential.”
His 10 years steering QGenda towards entrepreneurial success have also given Benoit a unique vantage point for Atlanta’s tech renaissance, most of it driven by software-based companies addressing business-to-business opportunities.
“As an Atlanta native, it is exciting to see how much our city has evolved over the last decade into the largest Southeast tech hub for startups across many SaaS sectors such as marketing, healthcare, sales, financial, and HR software,” Benoit said. “If you are starting a software company, then Atlanta is the best place for founders to have immediate access to mentors, incubators, peers, and capital.”
QGenda has aggressive goals in 2016. These include adding nearly $11 million more in revenue, growing to 160 full-time employees, and expanding its workspace to 30,000 square-feet while opening up a San Francisco-based office. Beyond looking for more growth-stage startups that have proven products for their markets, Benoit also has ambitious plans for TechRise Ventures.
“We also plan to start TechRise Labs, which will provide idea-stage startups with necessary startup resources, including initial capital,” Benoit said. “Ultimately we would like to see TechRise have a physical presence for growth-stage companies that have outgrown their startup co-working spaces, but are not ready to sign a long-term lease while in high growth mode.”