Proggio was founded by Yaniv Shor and Barak Schiby in 2016. The product is based on a holistic approach to project portfolio management. It focuses on managerial and team alignment and on connecting delivery targets with project plans and execution. The company is growing, and Enterprise Times caught up with Yaniv Shor, CEO of Proggio.
I first asked Shor how he would describe Proggio.
“Proggio is an adaptive project and portfolio management solution. That project focus is not only on the execution level. It’s about connecting execution and decision-making, using a new language for executive management so they can really leverage and extract some value from the execution data to make decisions.
“We focus on that because of the change in the market from delivery focus to cost reduction, operational efficiencies and things like that. If you can make the right decisions, you can save costs and run the right projects.”
When you say change from delivery, do you mean change to outcome-based?
“When I was working as a PMO leader 10 years ago, the entire discussion was about delivery dates. If anything missed the schedule, we had to go through a post-mortem review with management. This is not the case anymore. It started with moving from waterfall to agile. It was accelerated with COVID, the recent crisis, and inflation in Europe and the US.
“Organisations are not asking how can we grow in 2024. They are asking how can we save money in 2024. To save money, you need to be more careful with resource management. You need to make sure you’re adding the right projects, and you give up unnecessary projects. To do that, you need clarity. If you don’t have clarity, you can’t make a decision.”
State of the nation
How large is Proggio, and what is its growth rate?
“We are a global company. We are 50% located in the Israeli headquarters, which is mainly development and product. I started the idea with a friend who is the CTO of the company, Barak Schiby. We are responsible for the European market.
“The rest of the companies are in the US. The team there supports the US market, not just sales. It is a complete company. They have solution engineers, customer success people, marketing, and sales; they have local developers who can do some local stuff.
“My background is from American corporates. I started the company with a focus on the US market. I would say 30% in Europe and 70% in the US market. About 40 employees are working in Proggio. In terms of revenue, we are between the $3 to $5 million ARR. We have 75 companies using the solution. When I’m saying a company, I can refer customers like Alcon. We’re not serving teams, only companies.”
Proggio has two offices, one in Utah and the headquarters in Israel. Are there plans for a European office?
“We are planning to have an office in the UK in 2024 to better cover the European market. We’re not going to get out of the market. It will continue to be between 30 to 40% of the company focus. For that, we need additional locations in Europe.”
What is the Proggio vision?
“The vision for Proggio is in several domains. On the operational side, we started a very interesting go-to-market approach recently, where we are actually giving a significant part of the application for free. We realised that people are attracted by the Project Map, whose patent was granted in the US. We want to expose people to that patent, Which is why we are using more and more free offerings to attract the top of the funnel. Then we find the right customers from there.
“On the product side, this is focused on AI in project management. AI has several directions. You can do natural language processing, analytics, and generative AI. Not all of these are all the way into enterprise software. Proggio is definitely not the first company that will try to do that because even larger companies are not able to do it.
“At the same time, in a patent, we have a machine learning AI area in the analytic side that we can cover, and we can combine it with NLP. For example, you can ask the system, ‘What if Yaniv is on vacation next week? Who can replace Yaniv’. This has an immediate value for the customer.
“On the go to market. We have a very unique pricing approach. We’re not counting users. We started doing that maybe two years ago. In the beginning, we were a little hesitant because it was really different from the rest of the market. We had to make sure that we could really monetize that correctly. But over time, it is very successful. We’re covering all plans with unlimited users.
“Especially after COVID, IT managers were quite frustrated with this number of seats (pricing), adding 100 seats, and suddenly paying three times the original price. We realised that we needed to price after the value. If you’re getting more from the application, you’re paying more. If you’d like to keep it limited, you will pay less. Customers appreciate that. We’re seeing that the price per contract since we implemented that two years ago, went up eight or nine times. We can extract more (revenue), even if we’re not counting seats.”
One of the things I picked up on that pricing model is the fact that you really are cutting out teams and smaller businesses. What is the target market for Proggio?
“It’s a very important question. We are targeting companies with more than 500 employees. Not because we can’t provide any value if you’re 50 or 70 employees, we can. But it is not going to be an undisputed value. You will say maybe I can do that with Proggio, but maybe I can do it with Google Sheets.
“If you have five hundred employees or more, you have multiple portfolios. You’re sitting in multiple locations. The operational volume that is required to run the business is at the point where Proggio has undisputed value. We’re not giving up on smaller companies; we are giving them a free offering. We are spreading the word with smaller customers and working with the larger ones.”
What about industry verticals?
“Mainly technology. I mean everything that is coordinating several technology domains because if you are a software-only organisation, you will use JIRA; this will be enough. But if you are also doing a payment device, a network device, a cell phone, an ultrasound machine, or anything like that, you need to manage a project. This is what I call technology.
(For example), “biotech and pharma, with very long projects, some of them FDA related, some of them manufacturing related, some of them operational related, or IT related. Then, all kinds of operational projects with a focus on IT. If you’re running an IT organisation that is big enough, For example, recently we started working with Northwest Bank’s IT department.
“These companies are not using Proggio on the operational side because they’re a transactional business. When they need to replace all computers because they are moving from one Windows version to another over six months, they need to coordinate that, and this is where they are using our system.”
What have you achieved this year?
“This year, the main achievement is completing our US team. We are a young company, and we started selling to enterprises in 2020, and this was the COVID-19 year. 2021 was really the first year we sold to enterprises. Between 21 and 22, we built the US team from a single employee in 21 to half of the company.
“2023 is the year we are leveraging that. We’re seeing more, bigger customers from the US subscribing. Up to half of them are also working from Europe. We are working with Genmab in the US; it’s actually a company from Denmark. Many companies are really global companies, especially among the big ones.”
You last took funding in 2022. The reason for that funding was to expand the US, and clearly, you’ve started to spend that money. Is another funding round on the cards?
“Not very soon. We did the previous round between the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022. It was a complete A round with almost $8 million in investment. 2022 was a complicated year because of the crisis in Europe.
“Many startup companies raised a lot of money in 21, they spent too much in 22, they had to go for another run in 23, and there are no investors. We didn’t make this mistake. We managed the money very carefully in 22, so we can grow in 23. Right now, the runway that we’re seeing is going to end of 24, even 25. it means that we will be very comfortable getting to a B round in the second half of 2024. We will go past the $5 million ARR. We will have good traction within our target market. We will be in great shape with at least two or even three Sales Team globally.”
What’s your partner strategy? There is nothing on the website yet.
“For a company between an A round and B round, this is exactly where you will start thinking about partner strategy. The partner strategy will kick off in 2024. It will be related to a lot of the investment we are doing on the automation side. When we started three years ago with enterprises, we had our product market fit. Companies are seeing value in that, and we grow from that.
“Once you have the product working out there, and people are happy about that, the next thing is to provide customization, which we already did. Then, many different kinds of automation can also include AI. When you do that, you’re actually kicking in the work with partners and also professional services. This is a target for 2024. When we are heading to the B round, we will have this engine already up and running within the company.
“I believe that in 2024 Q1, we will kick off the partner programme. We already have a baseline and some infrastructure for that. It will be based on the ability to customise Proggio and create automations inside. The project management space is very heavy on automation; you can always say if this and that is happening, then do this and that, and you can build a complete infrastructure just by doing that.”
Do you have any technology partners?
“It’s a must to have a technology partner. We have two significant technology partners first one is Salesforce. Our platform is running on Salesforce Heroku. This is a state-of-the-art enterprise-grade platform located in West Europe and in the US. We’re getting all our platform services from Salesforce. It has many implications on the ability to maintain a high level of security and things like that.”
Do you have integrations to the Salesforce platform itself, beyond Heroku, to Sales Cloud, perhaps?
“Not really, mainly because we’re not seeing customers asking for that. The integration between Salesforce and Proggio we do have is through the Proggio API. The integration between a CRM and the project management system will be mainly to trigger your project when you close a deal. This is a very simple integration.
“We are focusing on integration with more execution systems, for example, a built-in integration with JIRA, Slack, with the Google platform or with the Microsoft platform.”
Proggio will also shortly announce an AI partnership that it is currently working with.
Priorities and challenges
What are your priorities?
“For a company between every A and B round, the only priority is to go-to-market. We’re not going after our vision. We’re not going after product market fit. We’re executing on the go-to-market strategy.”
What about your challenges?
“I was very lucky to work on my target market in 2020. My journey as a CEO is a journey from crisis to crisis. We started, and then COVID hit. We started again and hit the crisis in Europe, and this is still the main challenge. We are seeing companies that are changing focus. If you don’t know how to shape your go-to-market accordingly, and if you’re not changing your pricing plans, you’re not talking to customers differently, you’re going to lose your market share.
“You need to carefully go after the market and then think from the market backwards into what the company will do. This is the most challenging thing for a CEO. Most of the people in my company would like to think about the company and then the market. As a CEO, you always need to look at the market.
“If companies are not growing these days, you can’t really talk about productivity. They are not focused on productivity. You need to talk about cost reduction. You need to develop what-if scenario planning tools; otherwise, people are not going to use your system; they are now going to see the value.”
The book question
What was the latest book you read?
“The last book I read was about a pilot who was landing in Tuscany in World War Two. He was wounded, and he met a local girl which saved him. Later on, he migrated to the UK and died there. His daughter went all the way back to Tuscany to find the roots of his story.”