VENTURE: MemberSuite Expands to Meet Market Demand

At 37, Andrew Ryan has checked off some significant boxes on his life design: Beyond graduating from MIT and writing his first software system for an association when he was 23, Ryan founded MemberSuite in 2010 as a cloud-based way to help non-profits and other member-based associations manage, customize and automate their processes, including recruiting, fundraising, communications and data analysis.

MemberSuite was named to the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies in 2015.

In 2016, the company, with 115 customers, experienced 150 percent growth, says Ryan, and raked in Series A funding totaling $11 million with the hopes of doubling it in 2017.

It’s 2017.

Since launch, MemberSuite has raised $19.6 million and has sketched out plans to use the latest funding to add over 50 team members, with a focus on hiring in sales, marketing, and engineering in the Atlanta region.

“Modern associations and nonprofits must turn to advances in cloud computing, including business intelligence and analytics, mobile and social computing,” said Ryan. “However, there’s a lack of technology partners that can enable them to do this. This leaves thousands of organizations making do with legacy solutions, unable to use technology to better service their members and achieve their missions. MemberSuite is focused on changing this reality for nonprofits and associations across the world.”

Additional Series B investors included Fidelis Partners, Angel Investment Management, Accomplice Partners, and Alerion Ventures.

Ryan, who launched the company from his basement in 2010 is taking the swell and moving to a new address – Perimeter Center East in Dunwoody – fully aware that he is trending in the opposite direction of most black tech entrepreneurs in Atlanta.

The lack of local black tech entrepreneurs is also tied to the difficulties in raising early stage VC funds in Atlanta, he said.

Because MemberSuite now has revenue history, potential investors can quantitatively evaluate concrete metrics. But early stage investors “have to go on a gut feeling, and what they end up doing is pattern matching – ‘these 10 companies succeeded, and they looked like this.’ There’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, but they’re going to pattern-match the same way, and you’re going to get a prototypical ‘funded entrepreneur,’ which I think is happening in Atlanta. The CEOs of these companies look the same,” he explained to start-up accelerator Hypepotamus.

Steve Case, chairman and CEO at Revolution Venture saw Ryan’s potential and invested — to the tune of $11 

million. “MemberSuite is bringing associations into the future by offering them the kinds of cloud software solutions that have revolutionized business,” says Case. “We were delighted to meet Andrew and his team following last year’s ‘Rise of the Rest’ visit to Atlanta. MemberSuite is yet another example that startup ecosystems in American cities outside of Silicon Valley are rising.” AT

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