This NYC Startup Raised $35M to Keep Email Real



Return Path provides consumer intelligence that keeps brands connected to their audiences by analyzing the world’s largest collection of email data to show senders how to strengthen their customer engagement and protect their brands from fraud.

In other words, they’re trusted. And for good reason: Return Path runs the internet’s most widely used third-party whitelist.

Which, in this case, leads to investor confidence and lots of it. In fact, $35M worth.

CEO Matt Blumberg discusses the company’s latest round, and their strong focus on fraud protection, which certain helps to set this industry leader apart. .

Who were your investors and how much did you raise?

In this round we raised $35 million and Vista Equity Partners led the investment. It gives them a minority stake in the company and they join a syndicate of investors that includes Union Square Ventures, Costanoa Venture Capital, Foundry Group, Sapphire Ventures (formerly SAP Ventures), Four Rivers Ventures, and Industry Ventures.

Tell us about your product. 

We’re a SaaS-based data and analytics company. We analyze the world’s largest collection of email data to show marketers how to stay connected to their audiences, strengthen their customer engagement, and protect their brands from fraud. We also provide insight into how consumers spend their time and their money through an extensive collection of anonymous, aggregated inbox data that users share with us.


Matt Blumberg

How is it different?

No one else has the breadth or depth of email data that Return Path has developed. Simply put, we can show our clients trends, behaviors, problems, and opportunities that no one else can see. 

What market you are targeting and how big is it?

Return Path targets large consumer brands, especially in the ecommerce, travel and hospitality, social networking, financial services, and media industries primarily in North America, Europe, South America, and Australia. Our email fraud protection solutions are also used by government institutions and internet service providers around the world. As a consumer data company, our target audience is similar to media measurement and financial analytics companies. 

What’s your business model?

We’ve always operated as a software-as-a-service provider.

What was the funding process like?

We focused particularly on late-stage investors, partly because of the size of this investment. Vista was a strong fit as a private equity firm and as a data- and technology-focused investor.

What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?

Finding a partner with unique industry expertise who could contribute strategic guidance was important to us. 

What factors about your business led your investors to write the check? 

Our data provides a unique advantage and gives us the opportunity to grow in multiple ways, including into the security and consumer data markets. Vista recognized that our industry leadership and our track record of innovation have put us in an ideal position to expand our existing email optimization business, too.

What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?

Our focus is mainly on growing our sales and marketing organizations, and investing in data and product development. We need to continue the momentum we’ve built in our new businesses this year.

What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank? 

For solid businesses, especially technology businesses positioned to grow in the near-term, there are absolutely investors with the vision and strategic expertise to help you reach the next level. We were able to find multiple potential partners who understood our opportunity.

Where do you see the company going now over the near term?

We’re seeing especially rapid growth in our email fraud protection business, both in North America and overseas. Even as our email optimization business keeps expanding, the security space is becoming a key part of our story. In 2015, we think that consumer intelligence will be just as important – the potential to develop that business is extraordinary.

Where’s your favorite spot in NYC to kick back and relax and enjoy the holiday lights of the city? 

My desk. Seriously! We moved into new offices this spring with 360-degree views of the city (see below). I’ve never seen better.

Return Path_skyline view_nighttime fog

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