SIM Partners closes its first round at $8 million to double company size

by Carlin Sack
June 18, 2014


Left to right: Neil Mahoney (SVP), Jon Schepke (CEO), Adam Dorfman (SVP) and Jay Hawkinson (SVP).

SIM Partners, which is known for its local, mobile and social SaaS technology called Velocity, announced a $8 million Series A round yesterday. The funding, which was led by River Cities Capital Funds and Jump Capital, will help the previously bootstrapped company to double its headcount to 100 and double its headquarter space with a move downtown in September. Overall, SIM is projecting 50 percent YoY growth this year, CEO Jon Schepke said.

The local, mobile and social advantage

Enterprise brands with hundreds or thousands of locations like Allstate and US Bank use Velocity to manage their digital presence and to maximize social, search and mobile at a location level. Velocity Social, a social CRM extension of Velocity, allows these brands to manage social media strategies at a local level and to comply with enterprise standards in regulated industries. With the funding, SIM will continue to enhance Velocity and expand its ability to leverage Big Data to drive results for brands at a local level.

“Local digital marketing drives the best ROI for large multi-location brands and SIM provides the most efficient and effective solution for the complex issue of multi-site brand management,” Rob Heimann, Director at River Cities Capital, said.

Eight years of bootstrapping

Schepke bootstrapped SIM Partners for eight years before the Series A round, learning a few lessons from the process. Here’s a few pieces of his advice to those raising capital for the first time:

  • Read “Venture Deals” by Brad Feld before you try and raise capital.

  • Get your management team aligned with the process and your goals.

  • Make sure you have good advice for accounting, finance and all legal idiosyncrasies.

  • Have an advisor that you can reach out to who has “been there done that,” someone you can contact during the heat of the deal to provide sage advice.

  • Understand the nature of the game...learn from every meeting. Most people will say, "No." Get used to it and don’t take it personally.

Closing the $8 million round is a milestone for SIM as the company works to meet the growing demand (local digital ad spending will reach $44.5 billion by 2017). “SIM is well positioned to take advantage of this growing market,” Schepke said. “We are excited that River Cities and Jump Capital share our vision about the local opportunity.”

Chicago startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Chicago
Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
Best Sales Jobs in Chicago
Best Perks at Chicago Tech Companies
Your Guide to Healthtech in Chicago
Best Data Science & Data Analyst Jobs in Chicago
Best Marketing Jobs in Chicago