Submittable, a startup used by more than 9,000 companies to manage submissions, has raised $5 million in Series A funding.
Missoula, Montana-based Submittable was founded in 2010 with an initial focus on literary magazines that wanted help keeping track of manuscript submissions. As co-founder and CEO Michael FitzGerald put it, “We started with the poorest customers you could possibly imagine — poetry magazines.”
Since then, the startup has expanded to work with a variety of organizations on managing digital content, including résumés, applications and contest entries, with customers including TEDx, The New Yorker and Stanford University.
The next step is building out what FitzGerald calls an “opportunities marketplace.” In its current form, that means Submittable can algorithmically generate recommendations for writers and filmmakers about where they should submit their work.
“Our core belief has always been that the muscle that you use … to create your story is a totally different muscle to getting it published, promoting yourself, doing all that undignified work,” FitzGerald said. “Submittable’s goal is make it effortless for the writer, for the creator to find opportunity.”
That approach also opens up new opportunities for revenue. FitzGerald said Submittable’s business model will always revolve around selling submission management software to companies, but it could bring in additional revenue by allowing those businesses to promote their calls for submissions through advertising, and by creating a premium version for writers.
The Series A comes from True Ventures, and it represents the firm’s first investment in Montana. FitzGerald acknowledged that starting a company outside the country’s main startup hubs has scared off some potential investors, but he said he’s hoping this investment is “breaking the ice a bit.” He also said Submittable didn’t have to raise the funding — it was already profitable, with more than 35 employees.
“We’re really excited to invest in Submittable because of its great potential as a new kind of SaaS marketplace where both businesses and users benefit across many different verticals,” said True’s Puneet Agarwal in the funding release.
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