True Ventures invests in what TechCrunch calls “CRM tools to aid the forgotten sales person”.
By Angie Chang (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0)

Enterprise is sexy“, proclaimed SocialPandas co-founder Gretchen DeKnikker this week – and she’s right. Her social customer relationship management (“SCRM”) tool startup SocialPandas announced today raising $1.5 in seed funding from True Ventures in San Francisco in what TechCrunch called “an oversubscribed round”.

Investor interest in enterprise social marketing/CRM startups founded by women is reaching an all-time high after several high-profile exits: Buddy Media (co-founded by COO Kass Lazerow) was acquired by Salesforce for a whopping $689M), Involver was acquired by Oracle and Wildfire Interactive (co-founded by CEO Victoria Ransom) was acquired by Google for $250M.

What SocialPandas will do different is focus on identifying leads for the salesforce. After a decade of launching and growing enterprise SaaS startups and platforms, Gretchen is expanding on her background in social selling and leading the charge at early-stage social CRM SocialPandas.

Women 2.0 talks to founder Gretchen DeKnikker about the recent investment and her new startup:

Women 2.0: Congrats on the funding! How did you get introduced to the investors?
Gretchen DeKnikker: Thank you. We are humbled by the caliber of investors and thrilled they believe in SocialPandas as much as we do. When SocialPandas was still just a zygote of an idea, True Ventures was at the top of our list. Their “founders first” culture and focus on people made them a natural fit with our team. Our angels are equally as amazing and diverse, each bringing far more to the table than a checkbook.

Women 2.0: What is the secret to getting funding?
Gretchen DeKnikker: I don’t think there’s a funding secret sauce. We began gathering advice from our networks from day one. When it came time to actually raise money months later, it was a natural extension of those ongoing conversations, and the feedback we gathered throughout was invaluable.

Women 2.0: What will the funding be used for?
Gretchen DeKnikker: Hiring, hiring, then a little more hiring. Did I mention we’re hiring? 😉

Women 2.0: What’s your one piece of advice for early-stage women entrepreneurs?
Gretchen DeKnikker: My advice is to be an entrepreneur first. I love being a woman in technology. For one, I never have to wait in line for the bathroom. I suggest not investing a lot of energy worrying about real or perceived “downsides” of being female. Invest that energy in building your company and kicking ass.

Editor’s note: This is an exciting space full of fundings, mergers and acquisitions – congratulations to Gretchen DeKnikker and the SocialPandas team for capitalizing on the enterprise opportunity and making it fun and “sexy” again.


Angie Chang co-founded Women 2.0 in 2006. She currently serves as Editor-In-Chief of Women 2.0 and is working to mainstream women in high-growth, high-tech entrepreneurship. Previously, Angie held roles in product management and web UI design. In 2008, Angie launched Bay Area Girl Geek Dinners, asking that guys come as the “+1” for once. Angie holds a B.A. in English and Social Welfare from UC Berkeley. Follow her on Twitter at @thisgirlangie.