NEW ORLEANS, June 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Prokeep, the first and only communications and commerce platform built exclusively for distributors, today announced the closing of their $9 million seed round. The round was led by Ironspring Ventures with participation from S3 Ventures, Benson Capital Partners, and other strategic investors including Levelset founder and CEO Scott Wolfe Jr, former co-founder and CEO of FareHarbor Lawrence Hester, former T Rowe Price Head of PE/VC Portfolio, Hugh Evans, among others.
Since 2016, the company has bootstrapped its way to serving over 1,000 distributors in 13 different industries who have used Prokeep to power over 5.5 million conversations with their customers. Prokeep employs over 60 people in New Orleans, Atlanta, and across the US.
Prokeep was born because co-founders Jack Carrere, McKay Johnson, and Mark Kanof spent hundreds of hours at distributors and observed the need for better communication tools. Now with Prokeep, contractors are able to send orders and other inquiries straight to their distributor, saving hundreds of thousands of hours monthly across the customer base. "A distributor with a line out the door is a testament to their success but also an opportunity for efficiency," said Prokeep CTO and co-founder Mark Kanof. "With feedback and the support from our customers, we have scaled Prokeep from a focused texting app to a secure omnichannel communications and commerce platform tailored for distributors facilitating tens of thousands of orders monthly."
Prokeep is building 'Mission Control' for distributors. With the investment, Prokeep will accelerate plans to build tools so distributors can build deeper relationships, provide better service, and transact more easily with customers. "By becoming the system of truth throughout the ordering process, we will bring better workflow and actionable data to distributors and enable an even higher level of customer service," stated Prokeep COO and co-founder McKay Johnson.
"This is a huge milestone for Prokeep," states Jack Carrere, Prokeep CEO, and co-founder. "We have assembled a team of employees, customers, and now world-class investors to truly revolutionize how commerce is done in wholesale distribution. We recognize that the wholesale industry manages trillions of dollars in transactions, largely offline. Our goal is to build tools that fit the unique buying behaviors of the market so that distributors can thrive in today's and tomorrow's economy."
"When you think about industrial supply chains, distributors are mission-critical but have been largely overlooked in the innovation discussion, leaving a massive whitespace for a modern distributor platform to be built. Prokeep's ability to bootstrap to over 1,000 distributors and power 5.5 million conversations, all while deeply respecting the human element involved between distributors and their customers, blew us away and is indicative of this team's ability to build a premier SaaS business. This round is all about scaling a proven business model, and we're thrilled to partner with Jack, McKay, Mark, and the entire Prokeep team.," said Ironspring Ventures co-founder and General Partner Ty Findley. Findley joined the Prokeep Board of Directors.
This venture capture round follows Prokeep's inclusion in Silicon Bayou News' 10 Must-Watch Startups in New Orleans in November of 2021 and follows in the footsteps of local area startups like Levelset, which sold to leading construction management software company, Procore in 2021 for approximately $500 million.
S3 Ventures, a firm that was a large investor in local success story Levelset, is enthusiastic about partnering with another New Orleans-grown technology company. "We believe in Prokeep's vision to become the core operating system for wholesale distributors. Their platform is streamlining how thousands of distributors and contractors communicate and do business, said Charlie Plauche, General Partner at S3 Ventures, who joined the board as part of the financing. "We are excited to partner with this team who is perfectly suited to transform the way the industry does business. The Prokeep team is top-notch, and we are excited to see them expand and bring additional tech jobs to the region."
The $9 million raised will allow Prokeep to accelerate their marketing and sales efforts in the construction industry, expand partnership channels, and enter into additional industries.
"We are thrilled to partner with the great team of professionals at Prokeep, a software company right here in our backyard that we believe is revolutionizing the way commerce is done in wholesale distribution," said Mike Katz, Managing Director at Benson Capital Partners. "We are also excited about the opportunities Prokeep will bring to the region as the company continues to expand. Prokeep will play an instrumental part in the growth and development of our greater New Orleans community."
Founded in 2016, Prokeep is a web-based end-to-end communication and commerce platform built for today's distributor market. The Prokeep platform is designed and continues to evolve from feedback from distributors to streamline ordering, deliveries, and pickups – all in one, easy to use workplace. The Prokeep customer base includes over 1,000 distributors throughout the US and Canada. For more information or to schedule a demo, visit Prokeep.com.
About Ironspring Ventures
Ironspring Ventures is a sector-focused, early-stage VC fund investing in digital industrial innovation to sustainably modernize legacy industries that shape the way we design, build, distribute, and operate in the physical world. Learn more at Ironspring.com.
About S3 Ventures
Based in Austin for 17+ years, S3 Ventures is the largest venture capital firm focused on Texas. Backed by a philanthropic family with a multi-billion-dollar foundation, we empower visionary founders with the patient capital and true resources required to grow extraordinary, high-impact companies in Business Technology, Digital Experiences, and Healthcare Technology. With $900M+ in assets under management, we lead Seed, Series A, and Series B investments ranging from $500K to $10M with the capacity to invest $20M+ over the life of a company. Learn more at www.s3vc.com.
About Benson Capital Partners, LLC
Benson Capital Partners ("BCP") is a New Orleans-based, for-profit entity founded in 2019 by Gayle M. Benson, principal owner of the New Orleans Saints, New Orleans Pelicans, and Birmingham Squadron. BCP is an organization that facilitates new business formation, workforce expansion, and wealth creation by investing capital and providing resources to the most promising companies that are addressing large markets. Benson Capital Partners is a partnership to honor the legacy of her late husband, Tom Benson, by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation in the Gulf South Region. For more information, please visit their website at www.bensonCP.com.