Madrona Venture Labs spinout Zeitworks raises $2M, taps Seattle tech vet Jay Bartot as new CEO – GeekWire
New funding: Zeitworks, a Seattle startup that helps companies improve business operations, has raised an additional $2 million and added a new CEO.
New CEO: Longtime Seattle tech veteran Jay Bartot is joining Zeitworks as its CEO, replacing Ryan Windham, who has led the company since it spun out of Seattle-based Madrona Venture Labs (MVL), the startup studio within Madrona Venture Group.
Bartot’s background: He was previously CTO for MVL, and worked at Hulu and Alliance Health Networks. Bartot also co-founded startups such as Medify (which was acquired by Alliance) and Farecast, the airfare price predictor startup that was incubated inside of Madrona and was eventually acquired by Microsoft in 2008.
Why Zeitworks? Bartot worked closely with Zeitworks as it morphed from an idea into an actual company inside MVL. When Windham announced he had to step back due to personal health reasons earlier this year, the Zeitworks board asked Bartot to step in.
“Although I love the team at MVL and am very proud of the process we’ve built and evolved over the last five years, I felt the ‘call of the wild’ in my soul to step in to run Zeitworks, ultimately returning to an operating role,” Bartot told GeekWire.
What’s next? With the new funding from Jazz Ventures and Madrona Venture Group, Zeitworks plans to add more pilot customers and grow its software that uses machine learning to suggest improvements to a company’s repetitive business processes.
The software captures data such as mouse movement or keyboard clicks, crunches the numbers, and then recommends intervention — automation or augmentation of a process, for example. Use cases include claims processing, employee onboarding, order processing, or returns management.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage this data and provide huge value to customers who want transparency into their manual/human processes and ultimately want to optimize their operations and bottom line,” Bartot said.
Zeitworks plans to double the size of its 6-person team. It has raised $6.5 million to date, including a $4.5 million round last year. Other backers include former Zillow Group CEO Spencer Rascoff. Blue Nile and Wetpaint co-founder Ben Elowitz is a co-founder of Zeitworks, though he does not have an operating role. Windham, the former CEO of Cedexis, remains on the board and is assisting with strategic projects.
“Jay’s extensive track record building innovative data and machine learning-driven products make him uniquely positioned to lead the company through the next stage of product and technology development,” said Jazz Ventures Partner John Lee, who will join the Zeitworks board as a result of the new funding.