Showpad, a Europe-based platform for salespeople, plans new Chicago home

Blue Sky Innovation

Showpad, a Belgium-based startup that makes software for salespeople, is opening a new North American headquarters in Chicago and has hired a local as the company’s new president and chief operating officer, the company announced Wednesday.

The software-as-a-service business, founded in 2011, allows sales teams to access multiple kinds of software and communication technology they might need, such as Gmail, Salesforce, Outlook and PowerPoint, from one cloud-based platform. Marketing and other support teams can also upload relevant material to the cloud for sales reps.

Jason Holmes, the new COO, will be based out of the new Chicago office. In addition to wanting to work in the same city where he lives, he was drawn to the European startup because of the momentum within the sales tech industry and within the company, in particular.

“It’s a real, classic Silicon Valley high-flying-type (software-as-a-service) business that’s based in Belgium, which is not the most intuitive place,” he said. “But it’s the real deal in terms of momentum and growth, and so I was super-interested in the momentum of the business.”

Showpad runs almost entirely on a subscription-based business model, offering three tiers of access to the software, starting from $35 per user per month. The company says its more than 1,000 customers include Audi, Fujifilm, Johnson & Johnson, Xerox and Schneider Electric. Holmes would not disclose Showpad’s total revenue.

Holmes, who left his position as executive vice president and COO of marketing automation company Marketo seven months ago, also brings experience from vice president positions at Oracle and Adobe Systems.

He cited a number of advantages to having a headquarters in the Midwest: cheaper rent, a strong university system that can support a long-term labor market — and a direct flight between O’Hare International Airport and Brussels Airport.

Showpad intends to decide on a facility in the Chicago Loop and hire between 20 and 25 new employees, including additional executives, by the end of 2017, Holmes said.

Beyond building the new North American headquarters, Holmes is tasked with “leading global sales, marketing, customer success and business development organizations,” according to the press release. Showpad also has U.S. offices in Portland and San Francisco.

The company counts Chicago-based Savo among its competitors, Holmes said; others include San Diego-based Seismic and Seattle-based Highspot. Chicago-based MediaFly has named Showpad as a competitor, as well.

The announcement comes about a year-and-a-half after the startup received $50 million in Series C funding, largely from Insight Venture Partners. Showpad has received $60.5 million in total funding; other investors include Hummingbird Ventures and Dawn Capital. The company also received $4 million in debt financing from Columbia Lake Partners.

maclevine@chicagotribune.com

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