Thursday, March 17, 2011

A big thank you to the Cornerstone OnDemand team!

Four and a half years ago, I started digging into the software as a service space, pursuing an investment roadmap that Bessemer was very excited about.  Early on, I came across Cornerstone OnDemand.  Talent management seemed like an interesting and large market, and the website had some nice customer logos on the site, so I reached out to Adam, Cornerstone's CEO, to learn more about the business.  I started with a voicemail, and when I didn't hear back, an email, and then another voicemail, and another voicemail... four more voicemails and one more email later, I finally tracked Adam down.  Let me tell you, Adam was worth the hunt!

Adam was a guy who loved to learn.  A former investment banker (don't hold it against him), Adam racked up a JD (another thing you shouldn't hold against him), a MBA (another thing...), a BS and a CPA.  He is also, perhaps, the most goal-oriented guy I've ever met.  Adam, along with his co-founders Perry Wallack and Steven Seymour founded Cornerstone in 1999.  I would be willing to bet that the day Adam, Perry and Steven incorporated Cornerstone, Adam set his mind on building a public company.

1999, I don't need to tell you, was a crazy time.  Despite everything happening around them, Adam and his team put their heads down, built a fantastic product that their customers needed, and didn't raise a dollar from institutional investors.  That is, until I introduced Adam to my colleague Byron Deeter (who can resist?).  The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, Cornerstone went public on the Nasdaq at a $13.00 price per share and closed 47% up at $19.07, a $885m market cap.  What an amazing ride.

Joel Cutler of General Catalyst, whom I had the pleasure of seeing in action on the Board of Bessemer/General Catalyst portfolio company OLX (acq by Naspers), likes to say that investors are "invited guests" at a company.  We try to be helpful where we can, but at the end of the day, it's the team that lives and breathes their company 24/7 and determines the ultimate success of a company.  So a big thank you to the Cornerstone gang for letting us join them for this ride, and a big congratulations to my colleague Byron on such a fantastic investment.

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