DURHAM – Durham-based ServiceTrade, which announced this week it has closed an $85 million fundraising round, wasn’t actively fundraising when investors began to knock at the door, said ServiceTrade CEO Billy Marshall in an interview with WRAL TechWire on Monday.

“The investors came to us,” said Marshall.  “Many of them.”

The company, which according to Marshall has grown from a workforce of 45 in April 2020 following the layoffs of five employees to about 120 now with plans to hire more, attracted investor interest due to what Marshall called “plenty of reasons for future growth.”

“Our market segment is a new frontier for innovations, and the smart money wants to have some chips on the table as it develops,” said Marshall.

All told, once the company knew investors were interested, the process of identifying and selecting the right ones, and then closing the deal, took about two months, Marshall said.  There was not a lot of soliciting or educating of potential investors.  Instead, Durham-based Bull City Venture Partners and Charlotte-based Frontier Growth, who were existing investors in the company, joined new investor JMI Equity, which led the round.

“We like the substance of these firms,” said Marshally.  “We think their approach and integrity match our ambitions and values.”

The company had previously raised $50 million in two separate funding events, the first of which was a friends and family round, which included investments from Marshall and also from co-founder Brian Smithwick.

“Now we lead our market, and everyone thinks we have lots of potential for growth,” said Marshall, adding that the company could consider growth through acquiring other firms, if there is alignment.

Durham’s ServiceTrade lands $85M, to expand offerings to contractors

The firm was founded by Marshall and Smithwick in 2012.  Marshall worked at GE, IBM, and Red Hat, then founded rPath with Erik Troan (a co-founder of Raleigh-based Pendo).

Smithwick, upon graduating from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, attended Wake Forest University for undergraduate studies and then Texas A&M for graduate school.  He worked for an internet service provider, then later joined DunnWell as one of the company’s first 10 employees.

Marshall joined Smithwick at DunnWell in 2010, and the two collaborated, incubating the concept and technology that would become ServiceTrade, Marshall told WRAL TechWire.

The company noted in its statement announcing the funding that it has more than 800 customers who collectively manage some 12,000 technicians and generate about $3 billion in revenue.

But in total, said Marshall, the market is about $400 billion in North America.

“We believe we are in the early innings of a technology transformation for these high skilled trade industries,” said Marshall.  “We are happy we chose to focus on this market even when no one else believed it was interesting.”