Not only is email alive and well, but Liveintent is the latest New York based email marketing company to close a substantial round of funding, joining Movable Ink and SailThru. The Series C was led by Bullpen Capital, with additional money from Alpha Capital, Valor Capital, and Brazilian investors VR.
LiveIntent provides advertising tools for publishers of email newsletters and alerts, using real time programmatic buying and selling. Their clients include Chrysler, Kraft, La Quinta, AOL, AT&T, The Weather Channel, Hearst, Conde Nast, Disney and The Wall Street Journal. LiveIntent president Dave Hendricks is here to give some insights into their fundraising process, and how they plan on using the funds to move the company forward.
What was the funding process like?
We actually didn’t run what people refer to as a process. Our plan was to engage with mostly non-traditional investors who might have some operational background or other element. We achieved our goal of attracting investors who are both operational and strategic.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
We were over-subscribed and had to say no to investors who wanted more. And like all entrepreneurs, we had to focus on the fundraise while running and growing the business. Fielding questions, answering due diligence and screening out tire-kickers was all part of the challenge, too.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
It’s possible that our investors have realized what Oracle,Salesforce.com and Adobe have realized: email and, specifically, real time CRM innovations are very valuable now. Those three big companies (Oracle, Salesforce and Adobe) accounted for about $6 billion in email marketing-related M&A in 2013. Everyone is realizing that – far from being dead – email has emerged as one of the central components of any CRM or Ad Technology strategy. So companies that have email at their core are going to be players in a future, whereas companies like Facebook and Twitter who are leveraging CRM data for ad targeting and 3rd party cookies are at risk of extinction.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Cut your burn. Ask for money when you don’t need it. Get more than you think you need. Always prepare for winter. Aesop wrote a great fable: ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’. Check that one out.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
LiveIntent raised this round to do four things: Fulfill our growth plans, hire smart sales and engineering people, and educate the market about the powerful combination of email, artificial intelligence, big data and CRM that we have brought to the market. That’s our plan and we’re sticking to it.