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February 23, 2018

Carmel, IN-based Bolstra, a startup focused on customer success management software, has raised $1.5 million in seed funding. Contributors to the round include Elevate Ventures, 4G Ventures, Allos Ventures, Collina Ventures, and VisionTech Angels.

Bolstra CEO Haresh Gangwani says his company differs from competitors in its dedication to customer engagement. Because customer success management, which refers to overseeing the relationship between software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors and their customers, is a fairly new field, it can be a bit nebulous to define.

In general, most SaaS companies have a person or department—usually on the marketing, operations, or sales side of the business—who makes sure the company’s customers are successfully using its product. In theory, more engagement between vendors and customers leads to better outcomes; in a best-case scenario, a satisfied customer would sing the vendor’s praises to colleagues or on social media, driving more business to the vendor.

“Customer success has evolved from being glorified tech support focused on on-boarding,” Gangwani explains. “Now, it’s an enterprise discipline. Our competitors focus on analytics, but that’s not the end-all, be-all solution to creating a culture of customer loyalty. You have to have a customer engagement solution.”

Bolstra’s goal is to make it easier for customer success management professionals to do their job by providing an agile platform with integrated data management and the tools to make the engagement process smoother, Gangwani says.

“We can take data and prescribe what the customer success manager needs to do to be a fire preventer instead of a fire fighter,” he adds.

The 13-person company also recently hired Steve Ehrlich to be its chief operating officer. Gangwani describes Ehrlich as a SaaS industry veteran, who has held leadership positions at a number of companies, including PolicyStat and Aprimo.

Gangwani says the customer success market is just starting to develop, but it’s nonetheless growing quickly. In 2018, he says Bolstra will concentrate on “developing and nurturing a community of customer advocates,” product development, and increasing sales of its product.

“We’ve got an A Team, but we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal,” he says.