SpringCM looks to be Chicago’s ‘first billion-dollar enterprise software company’

by Carlin Sack
April 21, 2014


Greg Buchholz, founder and CEO of nine-year-old SpringCM, has a big goal in mind for his cloud content management company: that it will be the first billion-dollar enterprise software company to come out of Chicago.

“We haven’t really built a billion-dollar enterprise software or service company in Chicago,” Buchholz said. “Groupon: billion-dollar outcome, but consumer-focused. GrubHub: billion-dollar outcome, but consumer-focused. We would like SpringCM to be the first billion-dollar enterprise software company to come out of the city.”

SpringCM’s recent $18 million round, which was announced Thursday, will help Buchholz reach this goal and position the company uniquely in the enterprise content management space.

“Do not look at us as ‘store-and-share-files-in-the-cloud guys,’” Buchholz said. “That, to me, is going to get dominated by Google and Amazon and Apple and Microsoft; there’s not a lot of value long-term in that. It’s not just finding a piece of content, it’s editing it, it’s routing it for approval, it’s version control. We can do more in automating a business process than anyone who’s out there. We want to keep that lead.”

SpringCM has a plan of attack to do so: first, the company will make about 15 additions to the company’s sales, marketing and biz dev teams in the Bay Area. Although 90 percent of SpringCM’s 100-person team currently works from the Chicago headquarters, “more physical presence” is needed out west for SpringCM to interact with its customers (50 percent of which are also customers of San Francisco-based Salesforce). By next year, the company’s employee base will clock in at about 200, 150 of which will be based in Chicago.

SpringCM’s engineering team, which is entirely in Chicago, will also be beefing up to expand mobile capabilities for the company and to continue to expand SpringCM’s ability to connect with other cloud service providers. There are about five or six other companies Buchholz said he wants to work with in a way similar to how they work with Salesforce.

SpringCM’s customers are mostly in the tech, healthcare or general business services (accounting, legal, consulting) space and include NCR, Google and Facebook (which uses SpringCM as an HR application to house candidates’ resumes).

The big-name customers are a sign that SpringCM is getting it right - and a sign that Buchholz just might reach his billion-dollar benchmark alongside many other enterprise software companies such as Base CRM, Fieldglass (acquired by SAP), kCura and Mattersight working towards the same goal in the name of Chicago.

“Maybe we break some ground and get capital interested in enterprise software in the Midwest,” Buchholz said. “Chicago’s in the best shape it’s ever been relative to early-stage tech investment and it will be easier going forward. The walls are coming down.”

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