Two Outreach founders depart, team up on secretive remote work venture

From left to right: Outreach co-founders Manny Medina, Gordon Hempton, Wes Hather, and Andrew Kinzer. (Outreach Photo)

Outreach co-founders Wes Hather and Gordon Hempton are working on a stealthy new remote work company after leaving the billion-dollar Seattle startup they helped launch six years ago with Andrew Kinzer and Manny Medina.

Hempton left this past October, while Hather departed earlier this year.

“I transitioned out of Outreach at the beginning of the year as we ramped up our new product and engineering leadership team to help take us to the next level,” Hather told GeekWire. “It was also a great time to transition out to focus on being a new Dad, but I still have the startup bug in me.”

Hather wouldn’t divulge more about the new startup. “We’re still prototyping and proving product market fit,” he said.

Kinzer left Outreach in March. According to his LinkedIn profile, Kinzer is “currently looking into market opportunities associated with problem spaces under the umbrella of climate change, as well as human health and well being.”

Outreach, which makes sales automation software, just raised a $50 million round. It’s one of a handful of billion-dollar “unicorn” companies in the Seattle region.

Medina remains at the company as CEO. In an interview with GeekWire this week, Medina said his co-founders left on good terms. He said it’s hard not having them around — “I think of them as family,” Medina noted. But he said it’s an honor to continue building on their legacy.

The four co-founders went on a roller coaster startup journey together. They originally launched a recruiting software company called GroupTalent in 2011 after going through the Techstars Seattle accelerator. But the entrepreneurs pivoted in 2014 to focus on building tools for salespeople — certainly a wise move, looking back six years later.

Chris DeVore, managing partner of Founders’ Co-op and an early Outreach investor, in 2015 called them “four of the toughest founders I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with.”

“Outreach is one of my favorite stories,” DeVore told GeekWire last year. “The business they set out to build wasn’t working, but because they stuck together as a founding team and kept adapting and learning, they figured out how to find a productive thing. But that wasn’t because of where they started or the early metrics. It was because as humans, they were so committed and resilient and so gritty that they figured it out.”

Before GroupTalent, Hempton and Hather previously worked together on a startup that eventually folded called Team Apart.

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