Pipedrive’s cofounder Urmas Purde dies

Urmas Purde, a cofounder of the Estonian unicorn startup, Pipedrive, has died at the age of 46.

Purde died in an accident at his home in Bali island, Indonesia, his brother, Andrus Purde, announced on Facebook.

Urmas Purde had long been battling a brain tumour.

“’Inside my heart is breaking, my makeup may be flaking but my smile still stays on’ (a reference to the lyrics from a Queen song, “The Show Must Go On” – editor). Our mother thought of these lines, when she recalled her conversations with Urmas in recent months. But there is so much more to remember of his colourful and passionate life. Rest in peace, dear brother!” Andrus Purde wrote.

Pipedrive, a customer relationship management (CRM) company, was founded by Urmas Purde and Timo Rein in 2010. Purde said in an interview in 2014 that the idea for the company grew out of the frustration of the founders – he and Rein worked as trainers and salesmen.

“We had to manage the sales of our own training sessions. We had invested a lot of money in three different CRMs in a row but none of them were suitable for salespeople. We asked ourselves, how we could fail with customer management software three times in a row. And we were still keeping an overview of our sales activity as post-it notes on the wall,” Purde said.

While giving a training session to a startup company, Purde was sketching some principles of sales pipeline management on a whiteboard when someone from the audience asked: isn’t there software for that? The idea was born and the group of founders – Purde, Rein, Ragnar Sass, Martin Henk and Martin Tajur – came together to develop Pipedrive.

Pipedrive grew fast and by 2020, its software was used by sales teams at over 95,000 companies across the world. It’s headquartered in New York City and has offices across Europe and the US. In 2020, the startup was sold to Vista Equity Partners, a global investment firm. Valued at over $1 billion, Pipedrive became a fifth unicorn that was founded either in Estonia or by Estonians, after Skype, Playtech, Wise and Bolt.

“Purde’s leadership philosophy was based on four principles: learning to trust, not micromanage; making decisions fast; being patient as great things take time; and prioritising relationships above all,” Pipedrive said in a statement, following the passing of one of the company’s founders.

While Purde was building up the company, he was also battling a brain tumour, underwent three operations and had a stroke. In his book, published in 2021, he described his battle with a brain tumour and how he repeatedly had to learn to talk and walk because of the illness.

In October last year, Purde gave an interview to the Estonian Television and said he was receiving rehabilitation treatment at his private home in Bali.

In 2021, Purde was awarded the Order of the White Star Fourth Class by the former Estonian president, Kersti Kaljulaid, for his contribution to entrepreneurship.

Urmas Purde is survived by three children.

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