Bellevue-based K2 secured more than $100 million in venture capital from Francisco Partners last week. On the heels of the funding announcement, K2 revealed a new partnership with Box that will integrate K2’s products with the popular cloud-based file sharing platform.
Box offers a low-code platform that allows users with little technical background to create customized cloud-based platforms and apps using various data sources. K2’s products integrate with Microsoft, Dell, DocuSign, and more, offering solutions to help companies efficiently analyze and share big data.
425 Business caught up with K2 CEO Adriaan van Wyk to talk about what goes into producing easy-to-use products. Spoiler: It’s very hard.
425 Business: You have created a low-code platform that is easy for customers to integrate into their daily business without too much technical knowledge. How much work goes into creating a platform like that?
Adriaan van Wyk: A lot. It’s really hard to make hard things easy.
Think about the effort that goes into making an iPhone. The hardware and software engineering effort to make something that complex easy and elegant to use is often underestimated. K2 has invested millions behind brilliant people who are also accomplishing this. We have filed a lot of patents to protect our (intellectual property) and continue to work with our partners and customers to push to the next level.
We have come a long way and are very proud of what we have done so far, but there is a tremendous amount of work left. This space is in its infancy.
425B: What was the process behind the $100 million funding round with Francisco Partners?
AVW: It was a 10-month process. We were considering our options and different alternatives. We worked with Jasson Cohen and the team at (San Francisco-based) Jefferies LLC as our advisors. During this time, we met the Francisco Partners team, and it was a great relationship right from the start. There is a strong cultural fit and, most importantly, they believed in and supported the K2 team.
We wanted a partner who understood our vision and why we have been successful, and then wanted to add value by enabling us to go to the next level. We didn’t want an investor who was looking to run the business for us and flip it to make a quick buck. The relationship with Francisco Partners developed over time and by December of 2014 we knew that this was the company we wanted to partner with. In the end, it was about the people.
425B: Is Box the first integration outside your partnership with Windows? Will there be more partnerships in the future?
AVW: We do have a strong past on the Microsoft platform, but we have always offered integration and solution that extends beyond Microsoft. We have incredible integration into Salesforce.com, our mobile apps were iOS and Android first, and now we have the Box integration. We also have used Amazon Web Services in the past, but have recently invested more behind the Azure platform. There was just some stuff we could do faster on Azure.
425B: Looking to the future, what are the expectations for K2 in one year?
AVW: We will continue to focus on innovation and customer success. We have a great team of people at K2 and they are our biggest assets. I want to make sure we provide them with the best possible opportunity to grow their skills and potential and, through partnering with our customers, exceed expectations. We want to successfully launch the new solutions offerings we have been working on and make sure that customers who invest in us are successful.