- Clickup finished 2022 with $150m in revenue (100% growth)
- Since its Series B fundraising, ClickUp customer growth has quadrupled, skyrocketing from 200,000 teams to 800,000.
- With 1000+ employees, the company services 100,000 paying customers.
- The firm plans to break $200m in ARR this year
Clickup Revenue as of January 2023 is $150 Million
During 2022 Clickup doubled revenue from $75m to $150m in ARR. Very few firms accomplish this level of growth, at this scale.
I estimate the firm is rapidly approaching a $10b valuation, even in our compressed valuation environment. This is a $6b increase from its last $4b valuation during their $400m Series C closed in late 2021.
Zeb Evans Launched the Billion Dollar Firm When He Was Just 27 Years Old
Zeb Evans has been a business visionary for as long as he can remember. He speaks at the the top saas conferences.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was around 5-years-old. I was always—always—doing something every year of my life. At every point, I have some type of story of a hustle,” said the 32-year-old business leader who has launched several software companies.
But it wasn’t his life-long innovative spirit that fashioned his drive for business productivity. Instead, that came from four near-death experiences—all before the age of 30.
“Those experiences made me obsess over time and efficiency. Productivity is equivalent to time. On a personal level, it’s time. On a business level, time ends up being money. So, businesses should care about productivity more than ever, and individuals should care, more than ever, about where their time goes,” he said. “When everyone sees the impact of the product, we can create that obsession and that culture around saving people time and making people more productive.”
Out of that philosophy, ClickUp, the collaboration, work planning, and project management SaaS tool was born.
Recently, GetLatka sat down with Evans to talk about the company’s rising popularity and path to profitability. Since the company’s launch in 2017, Evans and his co-founder and chief technical officer (CTO) Alex Yurkowski have led ClickUp to be an 800-employee strong company on target to top a $200-million annual recurring revenue (ARR) by 2022.
Going from $2.5m to $400m in Funding
From the outset, ClickUp, which was initially intended to be a Craigslist competitor, benefited from one of Evans’ previous endeavors, the social media company Fast Followerz. Revenue earned from that business became seed money for this productivity app. Initially, he said, he funded ClickUp with $2.5 million in convertible notes.
That led to a wave of bootstrap funding, which closed in early 2020, that resulted in an approximately $25 million run rate. The next step was Series A funding that garnered $35 million. To date, the company is sitting on $400 million of funding.
Clickup Hits $4b Valuation (Quickly Approaching $10b)
According to Evans, these efforts have led the company to explosive valuation growth, skyrocketing from a $200-million valuation in October 2020 to a $4-billion one in December 2021.
Look back at my October 2021 interview with Zeb:
Attracting 1,000,000 Teams for $150m Annual Recurring Revenue
Although conventional thought might pigeonhole ClickUp as only an office tool, Evans said it is successful for both business and personal use. Spanning that gamut has helped the company grow its customer base by roughly four times.
During Series A funding, the company boasted approximately 100,000 teams. That grew to roughly 200,000 during Series B. In 2022, 800,000 teams used the productivity tool. As of Jan 2023, over 1m teams use the tool.
The company defines a “team” as an individual customer, but within each team, there can be multiple users, called “seats.” Under the freemium model, he said, each team has an average of 10 seats.
Currently, ClickUp has around 100,000 paying teams. The average cost per seat is between $10-15. That adds up to an average revenue per unit (ARPU) of $85 (up from $10 in 2020), and the annual contract value (ACV) is roughly $1,250.
Between October 2020 and December 2021, both the monthly recurring revenue (MRR) and ARR have ballooned. In 2020, the MRR was $3 million. Today, it stands at $6.7 million. ARR has also grown from $30 million to roughly $85 million. The company’s net revenue retention is currently 150 percent.
ClickUp, which has a 24-percent gross churn annually and a 75-percent expansion revenue annually, Evans said, is on track to reach $200 million ARR in 2022.
Founders First Company was “Fast Followerz”: From $3m in Revenue to Voluntary Shutdown
Evans built ClickUp on the back of a venture he created around 2009 – Fast Followerz, a social media company that helped clients build a following on Twitter. Initially, the platform helped performance artists grow their online fan base by automating tweets and engagements with followers.
The subscription-based model, which garnered $3 million in revenue, was intended to help people improve the quality of their online content, leveraging it to gather a substantive number of followers. After his third near-death experience, though, Evans re-evaluated the motive behind Fast Followerz and shuttered its doors in 2016.
“I realized during that period that the business was not adding net positive value for the world. I actually felt bad about it,” he said. “We were inflating people’s egos on social media, and we spent four years of our lives doing that. I felt like I had wasted so much time, so we shut it down.”
Creating an 1000-Employee Team
At its launch, Evans said, ClickUp had four employees, and he was largely responsible for the marketing and sales efforts. By 2020, the team had grown to 130 employees, 20 of whom were engineers. An additional 40 were dedicated to customer service efforts.
Today, the company boasts 1000 employees with 100+ engineers, as well as 87 individuals dedicated to sales and 20 to marketing. Under the current structure, teams of 5-to-7 employees are dedicated to each core product. Each squad includes a project manager, an engineering manager, and four engineers.
Clickup Has 100,000 Paying Customers and 1m+ Users
ClickUp has always been proactive in its customer recruitment, Evans explained.
Initially, the company launched an SEO strategy that maximized the power of blogging. For example, blog posts around competitors Asana vs. Trello enticed the first 100 customers. Once the company hit $5 million in revenue, it hired Tommy Wang, the head of global revenue, to be its sales lead. It wasn’t until September 1, 2020, though, that the company introduced its first paid ads.
But ClickUp uses an innovative strategy to both retain existing customers and entice new ones. Its “Zeb Team” is dedicated to constantly creating new versions of the productivity tool. Each Monday, they brainstorm and decide on one “big bet” idea to pursue. These changes are shipped to customers every Friday, keeping the app fresh.
It’s also ClickUp’s goal to let each customer try out every new aspect of the app when it’s released without charge. Teams can use each innovation 100 times, testing how it could improve their productivity and workflow, before the feature moves behind a paywall. It’s a strategy that helps customers explore the utility of services they might not initially have purchased, Evans explained.
Advice to 20-Year-Old Evans
While his business path has led to the creation of several software companies with more than $100 million in revenue, Evans said his early professional days were filled with some uncertainty. If it were possible, there are two things he wishes he could have learned earlier.
The first, he said, would be to learn to code earlier. It would have made many of his endeavors easier. The second lesson is simple, though it might have been more difficult to grasp at a younger age—especially for a budding entrepreneur who assumes everyone has a plan.
In the last 12 years, Evans said he’s learned that’s not the case.
“Everybody’s just figuring it out as they go along, right? I used to think all of the big tech founders knew exactly what they were doing. In reality, entrepreneurship is just figuring it out,” he explained. “Even when you get to our level and beyond, the huge CEOs are just really taking big bets and hoping they work out. And, when they don’t work out, they maneuver quickly and change. I wish I knew at the time that’s what entrepreneurship was. It’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned.”