No longer a gem in the rough: Opal hits their stride and raises $8 million

I’ve been following the Opal crew for quite some time. It’s been an interesting journey to say the least. With any number of hurdles. And any number of changes. But they’ve continued pushing and persevering. And while I’m not touting funding as much as I used to, this seems like one of those times where it’s warranted. Opal just raised $8 million in a round led by Madrona.

I’ve been impressed by Opal for any number of reasons.

First, they’re one of those rare cases where a services-based company—We the Media—finds that they have a predilection for building product. And then actually manages to carve off a product focused team to build and manage it.

That’s incredibly hard for service-minded folks. And the temptation to straddle product and services—oh we’ll just take on this consulting gig to make ends meet—is a very real one. That often results in products wallowing rather than flourishing.

Opal managed to get the escape velocity to become a product company.

And then there’s that whole product thing. Opal has always known how to build beautiful and usable products. But finding the product-market fit—like with many startups—was a challenge.

But they kept at it.

From an internal communications tool which, back in the day, I likened to “Microsoft Project : Basecamp :: Jive : Opal.” To a brainstorming tool. To their current product, which has found its market. It’s an incredibly powerful means of helping marketing teams plan and execute.

Opal is designed from the ground up to help marketers seamlessly coordinate their planning. Keep your team aligned, build more efficient workflows, and produce more effective and compelling storylines by planning everything in one place.

And that product is getting a lot of attention. And making money with some marquee clients. And raising money. Even if the company has been quiet about it.

So while I’m not going to be sounding the trumpet for every company that raises money. I thought this one deserved a little fanfare.

Oh and one other thing. This also marks a significant win for the Portland Seed Fund portfolio. For those of you keep tracking at home.

For more information, visit Opal.