In a day and age where customer reviews can make or break a company, companies have bent over backwards for their customers in all directions; but at the top of the totem pole of customer service lies Sprinklr. The Customer Experience Management software is putting repairing the front office allowing you to focus your customers. The Sprinklr platform connects all of your channels, help you run your social campaigns and more all in order to deliver the best experience for the customers, who we know are ‘always’ right.
Today we sit down with Sprinklr CEO and founder Ragy Thomas to discuss the company’s latest mega round of financing and how the been able to scale since its founding in 2009 to its current state – a $1.8B valuation, firmly cementing itself in the NYC unicorn sphere.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
Sprinklr announced $105 million in new funding at a $1.8 billion valuation. The Series F round was led by Singapore-based investment firm Temasek. Wellington Management and EDBI, the corporate investment arm of the Singapore Economic Development Board, also participated along with Sprinklr’s existing investors.
Tell us about your product or service.
Sprinklr provides the most complete enterprise social technology in the world, designed to help large companies collaborate across their entire organization to deliver superior customer experiences on every social channel.
More than half of the Fortune 50 and 1,200+ brands including Nike, McDonald’s, Microsoft, P&G and Samsung use Sprinklr’s unified platform to help manage everything they do on social — from listening to planning, publishing, engagement, analytics, and more — across their enterprise, from marketing to customer care to sales.
What inspired you to start the company?
My last company was an email marketing organization, so I’ve seen first-hand how brand communications can be transformed by technology. We started the company in 2009 because we believed that social media, like email marketing, was destined to become a disruptive force that would forever change business and the way that brands talk to their customers.
How is it different?
Sprinklr apart from these competitors is that they’re either built only to perform one function or they’re a series of “clouds” that are stitched together. We take a more holistic approach to customer experience management and believe that the world needs an Experience Cloud – a technology platform purpose built for the enterprise.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Sprinklr is targeting what it (and its group of distinguished investors) believes is the greatest opportunity yet in enterprise software — addressing the fractured state of the front office.
Here are a few statistics that signal the size and importance of the opportunity ahead:
– In the age of connected and empowered customers, companies are realizing that it’s no longer what they say about themselves that matters. As a result, 89% of companies now compete primarily on the basis customer experience — up from just 36% in 2010.
– The share of marketing budgets spent on social media is expected to more than double over the next five years, from 11% today to 24% by 2020.
– Moreover, by 2017, social network ad spending is expected to reach $36 billion, representing 16% of all digital ad spending globally. As those pies grow, so does the market opportunity for Sprinklr’s enterprise social technology platform.
What’s your business model?
Sprinklr provides its customers with its technology on a subscription basis.
Being a company that has ‘made it’, do you have any words for anyone starting a company?
My biggest takeaway for anyone starting their own company or running their own company is to ask yourself if you’ve built an invisible fence around your dreams that limits the way you’re thinking. Have you found your higher calling and your deeper purpose? Have you been looking for one? Or are you still walking around with that invisible fence that sells you and your dream short? Tearing down that fence will lead the way to finding the higher calling behind your business.
What was the funding process like?
The funding process was absolutely pleasant. We’re fortunate enough to receive regular inbound interest from investors because of our unprecedented growth and the unique opportunity in front of us. We entered into discussions only with those investors who we felt truly understood the enormity of the market opportunity and how our approach is best suited to capture that.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Whenever we’ve gone out to meet with investors, our philosophy has been to raise only what we need at a valuation based on the fundamentals. Often times, there’s pressure from investors to take on more capital than needed at the highest possible valuation. That’s probably been the biggest challenge.
Raising at a valuation based on the fundamentals allows you to be independent of market perspectives on what’s good and bad and whether the market is hot or not. If you based your valuation on the fundamentals — growth, scale and profitability — it’s easier to defend and build on.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Some businesses yearn for a world that once was. Others see the opportunity to transform their enterprise, putting customers at center of everything they do. Our newest partners – respected investors in category-defining public and private companies – see this shift as an unprecedented opportunity for the world’s largest organizations to create more value for their customers (and themselves) through a new class of enterprise software that enables more human experiences at scale.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We are laser-focused on growing the business and helping the world’s largest brands deliver unforgettable experiences to their customers.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
When you’re out in the market trying to raise capital, don’t take on cash for the sake of taking on cash. Raise the capital you need, when you need it. It will make it easier to defend your valuation in the long term.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
The front office is broken — we’re going to fix it.