Michel Feaster spent more than a decade building products for breakout enterprise software companies Mercury Interactive, Opsware and Apptio.
Now she’s launching her own venture – building tools for modern business operations – and money’s pouring in from eager investors. Feaster’s company, called usermind, is announcing that it raised $7.6 million in an oversubscribed series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz.
Feaster (above) co-founded the company with Przemek Pardyak, who previously co-founded and sold business software startups Doyenz and Perfomant.
“We invested in usermind to get access to Michel Feaster’s mind,” Ben Horowitz, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said in the release. “Michel is an unparalleled product thinker in the world of enterprise applications. She and Przemek are exactly the right team to revolutionize business operations in the enterprise.”
Other investors are Charles River Ventures and SV Angel.
Horowitz had an inside line. He was Feaster’s boss at Opsware, which was sold to Hewlett-Packard for $1.6 billion. Later she was vice president of products at Bellevue-based Apptio, which was also backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Another link is Apptio Chief Executive Sunny Gupta, who first met Feaster at Mercury Interactive and later hired her as vice president of products at Apptio.
“It’s amazing how those relationships from 15 years ago are still shaping all of our lives professionally,” Feaster said in an interview.
Feaster left Apptio last year “to see if I could take everything I learned from Sunny and put it into practice myself.”
Usermind is building tools for business operations managers to configure cloud applications and build processes that span applications. Feaster said the idea for better “enterprise 2.0” tools crystallized after more than 100 interviews with potential customers.
“We want to target this new IT person, if you will, or business operations person (and) make them more productive,” she said.
Usermind recently leased an office in Belltown where she hopes to grow from five employees to 25 over the next 18 months.
Feaster also hopes her company is also part of a new wave of enterprise software companies that could emerge over the next decade.
“I think we’re about to hit inflection here,” she said.