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A Leap of Faith: Celebrating 9 Years of Propel Software

In 2015, the Propel founders took an innovative leap to build a cloud-based PLM on the Salesforce platform. Today, CEO Ross Meyercord reflects on the company's growth and the strategic foresight that has positioned Propel as a leader in its field.

Our blog series “The CEO Lens” chronicles insights from Ross Meyercord’s learned experiences as CEO of Propel Software.

Nine years ago, on Monday the 22nd of April, Ray Hein, Ron Hess, and the other co-founders formally launched Propel. We current employees have those founders and early employees to thank for the opportunity and prosperity we are all experiencing today.

I knew Ray before he started Propel. At the time I was the CIO at Salesforce and he was the Head of Product at Apttus. Ray and I met every week to discuss the status of ongoing projects between our companies. I came to respect Ray for his tenacity, transparency, and customer focus. Eventually, our joint work was finished and Ray and I stopped seeing each other every week. 

I heard sometime later he was starting a PLM company built on the Salesforce platform. On one hand, I was excited for Ray that he was starting a company and getting a chance to be a CEO. On the other hand, I thought — why a cloud PLM, and why in the world on top of the Salesforce platform?

To say I was skeptical of the formation of Propel would be an understatement. But that is the thrill and challenge of being an entrepreneur; most people look at you like you are crazy and it is your job to prove them wrong. 

Thankfully Ray and Ron didn’t ask my opinion first, they knew in their hearts there was an important value proposition to democratizing product data on top of the Salesforce platform. They focused in those early years on building a great product, hiring a team of dedicated and smart early employees, and being laser-focused on early adopter customer success.

With the benefit of being 9 years into our Propel journey, looking backward, it all seems so obvious. Of course, PLM data belongs in the cloud, and there are huge benefits of being part of the “manufacturing family” of ISVs on the Salesforce platform. 

A Vision to Transform an Industry

Today, as we celebrate our ninth anniversary, it's a moment to reflect on our journey, recognize our achievements, and reaffirm our commitment to innovation and community.

Last year marked significant milestones in our pursuit of our unique vision for PLM and product innovation as a whole. In our eighth year, Propel achieved double-digit percentage increases in new business across each of our customer segments: high-tech, med-tech, consumer goods, and manufacturing. In addition, 80% of our customers expanded business with us. 

In addition, we introduced three major product releases to continually reduce risk, decrease time to market, and ensure customer success. Because of this, many customers increased their technology investment to reduce risk using Propel’s Component Insights which provides access to critical data on 1 billion+ standard parts. Our Supplier Community customer licenses tripled last year as product companies prioritized partner and external collaboration, delivering secure, rules-based collaboration for diverse and distributed networks worldwide.

Moreover, we were recognized among Fortune’s list of America’s 300 Most Innovative Companies, named a Deloitte Technology Fast 500 winner for the third consecutive year, and included in the Forrester Wave as a Strong Performer in PLM for Discrete Manufacturers. All of which validate our strategic focus on performance and supporting products and services.

And finally, this year marks our first-ever in-person gathering for Propulsion — a hub of Propel partners, customers, and powerhouse leaders in the market to connect and generate ideas for the future of our industry. Just a few short weeks away (May 13-15!) in Chicago, it’s gearing up to be a provocative and inspiring industry event, and I hope to see you there

Here’s to Another Year of Growth

As we look to the future, the industry trends are clear. Gartner’s Market Guide for PLM Software in Discrete Manufacturing Industries predicts that by 2027, more than 70% of PLM applications will support end-to-end digital thread strategy, with over 80% of medium and large manufacturers seeking comprehensive software data management capabilities as an extension of PLM by 2026. 

Propel is uniquely positioned to lead this transformation, extending the digital thread beyond traditional boundaries and democratizing product data across enterprises.

Each year that passes, as we grow our customer base and improve our product we gain more and more market attention that fuels the next year’s growth.

We have never been in a stronger position as a company. 

The only reason we are here today is because of the vision and leap of faith Ray and Ron took 9 years ago. We are forever in debt to their courage to make us what we are today. 

Happy Anniversary, Propel!

In case you missed it, check out the previous installment of the CEO Lens “The Power of In-Person: Learning, Service, and Team Building.”

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Ross Meyercord
CEO, Propel

Ross Meyercord is CEO of Propel Software, a SaaS provider dedicated to helping high tech, medtech and consumer goods companies build compelling and profitable products. Throughout his 30+ year career, Meyercord has worked in a variety of capacities, including directly with manufacturers to implement PLM and QMS solutions, managed global technology organizations, and has been instrumental in guiding customer-facing teams to increase customer success and drive corporate growth.

Fun Fact: When not working or with family, you will likely find Ross on the tennis courts.

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Ross Meyercord