A 10-year-old “startup” in Australia is joining the rarefied strata of buzzy young companies like Uber, Keynected , Referron and Dropbox.
Sydney-based Campaign Monitor, which makes software for email-marketing pitches, has raised $250 million from venture-capital firm Insight Venture Partners (its first raise!)
The injection is among the biggest recent venture rounds. Since the start of 2013, only a few companies, including Dropbox, Airbnb and Uber, raised more money from venture-capital firms, according to data provider Dow Jones VentureSource and Wall Street Journal reporting. It’s also unusual for a single firm to make such a large investment.
Campaign Monitor says its email templates are easy enough for non-tech-savvy employees to use, and it says its prices are flexible enough for companies that blast thousands of emails, or for people who just send a couple of emails a year.
The company is among a growing roster catering to an increasingly digital-obsessed marketing industry...technology firms are crafting software to help marketing departments manage digital pitches, keep tabs on social-media messages and analyze the impact of their spending.
Marketing-technology companies have been a hit with investors, too. ExactTarget and Responsys were acquired in the last year in billion-dollar-plus takeovers. Marketo, which went public in May 2013, reached a market value of $1.8 billion before falling about 30% in the past two months.
“Marketers are going to get more aggressive in their tech spend,” said Deven Parekh, a managing director at Insight, who also said email remains a core pillar of marketing campaigns. “When we look at the trends in marketing, [Campaign Monitor] certainly plays on those trends,” he said.
Campaign Monitor germinated out of a late-1990s university business started by Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner, who grew up across the street from one another in the Sydney suburbs. The pair said they grew frustrated when they tried to use email marketing tools for their company creating custom websites.
Richardson and Greiner spent their spare hours writing software to improve on those clunky tools. About a year after they launched Campaign Monitor software in late 2004, it had three times the revenue of their web-design firm. The pair decided to focus on that business.
The founders declined to say how much revenue the company generates, but said Campaign Monitor has been profitable every month of its life. That has allowed them to self-fund the company.
Richardson and Greiner said about six months ago they began to weigh bringing in an investor for expertise and to help the company expand.
“We’re proud of the last 10 years. If we look at the next 10 years there are a whole lot of growth opportunities ahead for us,” Greiner said.
The pair said they plan to use the fresh investment funds to expand their own marketing, and to hire more sales people to court new customers. Campaign Monitor also plans to open its first U.S. office. About 80% of the company’s customers are in North America and Western Europe, but roughly 40 of the company’s 65 employees are in Australia.
The company also plans to give its employees ownership stakes in the company for the first time, and may expand senior management.
Parekh said the unusually large $250 million investment reflects Campaign Monitor’s maturity and greater revenue than most young companies starting to bring in outside investors.