Marketing teams need data-driven strategies that provide insights, organization, and optimization to ensure seamless customer experiences. Simon Data is the customer data platform that generates a single, unified view of a customer based on data that is collected across various channels. The company’s data platform is layered with an integrated marketing cloud that enables marketers to launch campaigns using email, ads, push notifications, direct email, and SMS. The days of combing through various siloes of data are a thing of the past thanks to this unified platform that allows companies to have one conversation with their customer.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO Jason Davis to learn more about how the company lets companies leverage data to build a relationship with individual customers, the company’s future growth plans, and the latest round of funding, which brings its total funding to $59M across six rounds.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We announced a $30M Series C funding round (a fast follow-on round to our Series B in July 2018), led by Polaris Partners on both rounds, and includes .406 Ventures & F-Prime. This brings our funding to date to $59M. While we don’t share revenue numbers as a private company, we can share that growth has been extremely healthy over the past 3 years – and we’ve more than doubled every year.
Tell us about the product or service that Simon Data offers.
Simon helps businesses not only utilize all of their customer data but achieve a frictionless environment to orchestrate their customer experience. Simon’s technology leverages vast amounts of disparate customer and marketing data – without the limitations’ businesses have come to expect from existing marketing tech – so that brands can build unparalleled personalized experiences for their customers.
We were founded by a team of serial entrepreneurs that had built solutions to solve problems around customer data at Apple and Google. As it turned out, many businesses were experiencing the same issues, so we built our company around the primary vision of powering the next generation of meaningful customer experiences. As we continue to solve problems for hundreds of new brands. Our mission remains the same – to build technology that enables brands to effortlessly leverage all their data to understand and engage their customers anywhere.
How is Simon Data different?
Unlike other players in the space, our technology is built on top of data infrastructure that is designed to take into consideration the requirements of data/IT/infrastructure teams and offer the orchestration capabilities marketers expect. The end result is greater campaign performance and streamlined workflows.
Additionally, we don’t have a pile of products we’re trying to sell to our customers. Our growth has been driven by a clear focus on our technology and partnerships, and our main differentiator is overall cohesion. Cohesion through agility, consistency, and ultimately relevance for the customer. Additionally, we differentiate from other customer data solutions by better:
Integration – Existing platforms integrate crudely into the data environment OR poorly into existing marketing technologies – the result is clumsy execution and inconsistent experiences. We believe customers need a platform that integrates seamlessly into all of their data and can use that data to orchestrate campaigns anywhere the customer is.
Machine Learning & AI – A platform needs to leverage machine learning in a way that is cohesive with data and orchestration – not isolated.
ROI-drive – Brands/businesses need a partner that knows how to use these capabilities to drive outcomes. While many businesses do some of the above – no one else does all of it well.
What market does Simon Data target and how big is it?
Simon is focused on enabling the global enterprise-level businesses to meet the demands of building meaningful experiences for their customers. The type of technology Simon offers and the advances our team has built are transformative to how most businesses operate their marketing programs. The opportunity is massive – a multi-billion-dollar opportunity.
What’s your business model?
Simon is a SaaS business. Our technology often becomes the core technology businesses leverages on a daily basis to operate their customer marketing programs.
How has the business changed since we last spoke after Simon Data’s Series B round?
We’ve flown a bit under the radar these past few years focusing on perfecting our technology offerings, and some aren’t aware of just how far ahead we are in terms of our ability to deliver outcomes for our customers. In building one of the best platforms out there, it was essential to source a team of the best minds in our business and thus, we have a deeply considered, distributed [remote] engineering culture that allows us to hire tremendous talent from all around the world.
What was the funding process like?
This was a fast follow investment. The CDP and marketing technology categories are and will continue to be hot, as they have been transformative to so many businesses. Our investors recognized the traction and approached us to encourage our next round.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Ensuring you find, make, and balance your time. We are running a business and also getting to know the investors. We’ve been very deliberate in choosing the right partners – which takes time – all while keeping running your business the first priority.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our lead investor said it best: “This is a business whose explosive growth is driven by putting their client at the center of everything they do,” said Dave Barrett, Managing Partner at Polaris Partners. “They pair a disruptive new data science-fueled technology with a partnership approach that’s designed to help enterprises deliver a new generation of customer experiences. They’ve emerged as a clear category leader, and this investment is all about extending that position.”
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
This round of funding will be used for three primary purposes:
Scaling the business to support our growth into the enterprise – Simon has been focused on powering experiences for some of the world’s best (and most progressive) brands. Our customers are our best advocates – and word has been getting around that we’re a great partner to help them achieve success now and for the long haul. The investment is evidence of the huge demand for our technology and approach and is intended to help more companies unlock the power of their data and to widen our lead as the preferred CDP for enterprises.
Expansion of our data science team and capabilities – The true opportunity in this category is to create an incredible platform for predictive personalization. We have always had that vision and have spent the last four years building a unique foundation that can fully-integrate AI into next-generation data technology with cutting-edge orchestration. This next phase is all about blowing it out.
The true opportunity in this category is to create an incredible platform for predictive personalization. We have always had that vision and have spent the last four years building a unique foundation that can fully-integrate AI into next-generation data technology with cutting-edge orchestration. This next phase is all about blowing it out.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Every situation is different, but it’s incredibly important to develop relationships with investors before your business needs to raise its next round. Help them understand your vision, the business, the category and industry at large, and opportunity. Be consistent keeping in touch. The worst scenario is to shake hands for the first time when you want the money.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
At Simon Data, we’re looking to build the next generation of data companies. The opportunity to improve the customer experience is virtually limitless and we believe will be the forerunner in delivering on this promise.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after-work drink?