Sailthru, the leading provider of personalized marketing communications technology that employs a user-first mentality, personalizing the customer experience across all touch points, recently closed their latest funding round.
David Blanke, COO and CFO of Sailthru fills us in on the details and gives us some insight into a company that raised two big rounds, two years running.
What was the funding process like?
We ran a very disciplined process in terms of knowing what we wanted to accomplish and going after it. Working with a firm that intimately knew our space was very important to us. We also had a very aggressive timeline. We wanted to close on the round in Q4 and spend 2014 dedicated to beating our objectives, not trying to raise money. We knew which investors we were really interested in working with and focused our efforts accordingly. There are a lot of them out there, but really only a few that make ideal partners.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge we faced was telling our story. Our story is a big one. Engaging with the customer across every digital touch point and building the brand/consumer relationship is something that a lot of investors have already heard. Rising above that noise was our challenge. We had to be crystal clear about what made us unique. When we laid it out for them succinctly – that it was engaging every consumer across every digital touch point, built on a big data stack, with automated communication – and we combined that with data that demonstrated our clients’ successes, there was this clear “ah-ha” moment. But it took practice and honing to nail the message.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Rob Theis (of Scale Venture Partners) answered that in his blog much more eloquently than I could do it: http://www.scalevp.com/why-we-invested-in-sailthru But it comes down to the fact that he knows our market extremely well and can see beyond the noise, out beyond the next year or two – and can see that we are the next $1 billion company in this space. He understands the disruptive nature of our product and how our competitors are built on legacy systems that are fundamentally incapable of doing what we do.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
I would advise companies to always be looking for money, even when they don’t need it. Also, know why you are truly different. When a VC invests in your company, that individual is betting that you will lead the particular market segment or vertical. They need to believe that you are truly best in class.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
In 2014, we are focused on becoming an even more high-performing organization, as we expand throughout the Americas and EMEA. We will continue to capture market share by being ruthlessly efficient about where we choose to invest our resources, then execute like a well-oiled machine. Measuring success, understanding the biomechanics of the business, having that knowledge proliferated throughout the organization, are all absolutely critical. That’s how we crush it in 2014.