Today we speak with Vivek Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of Movable Ink, a real-time email marketing platform. Vivek shares some insights into the fundraising process in the Alley as his company just completed a sizable series B round from some distinguished investors.
What was the funding process like working with some notable investors?
Far easier than raising our first $50,000! A seed round is a bigger leap of faith for an investor. B rounds require real traction, a great team, and multiple signals that a company can become a category leader. We also learned a lot about running an effective and streamlined fundraising process. You want to find the people that will be great partners to the company. We are delighted to be working with the team at Intel Capital.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Putting my involvement with the company on pause for two months. Fundraising ends up becoming a full-speed sprint over a concentrated period of time. Luckily, I had a great team, firing on all cylinders, while I was on the road. Getting out and telling the story can be fun… up to a point. Multiple investor meetings can also provide perspective and get you thinking about your business in a whole new way.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
After a year-long search we found a formula that worked (right product + customer acquisition channel + right positioning) and our growth began to take off. We started signing up Fortune 1000 brands at a faster and faster pace. There was a road to profitability that would never require us taking on additional capital. However, we also realized there was an opportunity to cement our position in a new “agile email marketing” category that Movable Ink had pioneered. Investors at a later stage want to back the perceived leader and Movable Ink is now one in its space.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh $11 million in the bank?
When you are starting out you certainly do not need $11 million in the bank. Constraints often spur creative thinking. In the early stages, a small team (where literally one founder is building the technology and the other founder handles sales) meant that our learning cycles were extremely short and rapid. There were even cases where we would pitch a product via Keynote while it was still being built! The feedback from these pitches was incorporated into the product rapidly through this iterative and agile process.
About Movable Ink
Movable Ink is the leading provider of Agile Email Marketing technology. Since the channel’s inception, email has been frozen in time when a marketer hits the “Send” button. With Agile Email Marketing from Movable Ink, email can now be dynamically updated in real-time based on each recipient’s time, location, device, and social context at the moment of open. Hundreds of innovative brands such as American Eagle Outfitters, Seamless, Lilly Pulitzer, and Finish Line use Movable Ink to enhance customer engagement and increase marketing ROI. The company is based in New York City and is backed by Intel Capital, Contour Venture Partners, Metamorphic Ventures, ff Ventures, Kima Ventures and email veterans such as Bob Pittman, Andy Russell, Josh Baer, and Alan Laifer. For more information, visit the Movable Ink website and Movable Ink on Pinterest.