From Seed to Sprout: 5 Q&As with Patrick Gentry on Sprout’s Series A Round
When Patrick Gentry arrived in the Philippines back in 2008, he knew that there had to be something that could fix businesses’ woes on administrative tasks such as timekeeping and payroll. Sprout began with its payroll tool called Payroll Pie, which evolved over the years to accompany a powerful timekeeping solution called HR Hub. Over the years, these software evolved into what Sprout’s current core offerings are: Sprout HR, Sprout Payroll, and Sprout Insight.
Sprout has now helped hundreds of Philippine businesses streamline their HR and payroll processes, and it’s just getting started on its mission of improving the lives of every Filipino by improving businesses in the country. Our recent milestone – a successful Series A funding round – marks the beginning of another major chapter in Sprout’s history. We sat down with Patrick Gentry, Sprout’s CEO and Co-founder, to talk about how Sprout managed to secure its Series A funding, and the direction it’s headed.
What made Sprout pursue this Series A funding after a successful Seed round which took place over a year ago?
We have a really big mission and a long roadmap here in the Philippines. We raised capital to drive towards our big goals more quickly.
Tell us some major differences between the process of raising Sprout’s Seed round and the Series A.
The seed round was tough. Just a few years ago, investors, especially overseas, wouldn’t consider the Philippine market. However this year we had a lot of interest and several term sheets from overseas investors. I’m happy to see the Philippine market making huge progress in the tech scene.
What are the challenges you encountered during the time when you were pitching Sprout to Point72 and NBV?
These investors understand our business model really well – to be honest, talking to them was quite easy. As I mentioned, the Philippines has emerged on the VC map globally. We were able to find awesome overseas investors like NBV and Point72 that really “get” our business, which makes working together really fun.
What are the most important things you’ve learned during this experience, and what advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to raise funds for their own startup?
Be honest, don’t exaggerate numbers or traction. At the same time, you need to communicate your vision as clearly and succinctly as possible. Your big vision needs to be crystal clear to them – it shouldn’t be hard to understand. Then, present how you are working towards that vision. It should be logical and hopefully as “no-brainer” as you can make it. Investors see a ton of companies – make it easy for them. Don’t make them think, because you will slip in priority.
Give us a brief overview of what’s next for Sprout after its successful Series A round.
We are growing here in the Philippines! We are moving towards our North Star of impacting the lives of every Filipino by improving business in the Philippines. In 2020 we are introducing Sprout Benefits, our way of helping companies provide benefits to their employees that are desperately needed here in the Philippines. Our goal is for our clients to make their employees’ lives better, at no extra cost or administrative effort.