Big Data

Marketing automation startup ActiveCampaign raises $240M

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Customer experience automation startup ActiveCampaign today announced that it raised $240 million at an over $3 billion valuation. The capital, which comes as the startup surpasses $165 million in annual recurring revenue, up from $90 million a year ago, brings ActiveCampaign’s total raised to date to $360 million.

Created in 2003 by Jason F. VandeBoom to help businesses orchestrate email marketing, customer relationship management, and ad campaign processes, ActiveCampaign’s automations are powered in part by AI and machine learning algorithms. They’re customized with flows that inform hundreds of unique experiences generated dynamically for each customer. And they live within a visual automation map that reveals which are connected to each other, active, or in need of adjustment.

ActiveCampaign’s platform enables brands to broadcast emails or configure triggers that send messages based on purchase intent, site visits, or engagement. Segmenting tools let managers group audiences and orchestrate email autoresponders, funnels, and scheduled emails. Meanwhile, an integrated drag-and-drop email designer enables features like revision histories, geotracking, analytics, image hosting, and social sharing.

Above: The ActiveCampaign dashboard.

Image Credit: ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign supports split testing — up to five emails with different subject lines, content, images, and calls to action can be tested at once — and records metrics like conversion rate, opens, and more to bubble the best-performing options to the top. A split actions feature allows customers with a certain number of products to make offers until they sell out, for example, before sending other contacts down a different automation path. And extensive event tracking saves logins, plays, clicks, video views, orders, and more across apps, membership sites, and online portals.

Beyond email, ActiveCampaign features a text message marketing platform that supports scheduling, notifying, and automating as well as social media audience targeting. Companies can target people with Facebook Ads and draw on data to automatically retarget based on visits to websites, product interests, form submissions, custom fields, and other collected information.

A brand can set up a welcome series and other automations and view them from within a single dashboard using ActiveCampaign. Or they can tap migration services that move emails, forms, and contacts from other platforms to ActiveCampaign’s own. They’re also able to implement site tracking that follows up customer interactions with triggered messages and tracks goals and conversions to evaluate the effectiveness of ongoing campaigns. And they can employ lead scoring to pick out top engaged contacts and offer what they want.

“We … rely on machine learning to help our customers better understand their own customers,” a spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. “One example is sentiment analysis, which looks at the emails of a customer or prospect and analyzes the sentiment of that communication to trigger automations. This means we can easily automate a happy customer receiving a thank-you note while a frustrated customer can receive a support call — all without manual intervention.”

Year of growth

In 2020, ActiveCampaign says that it achieved record usage including four billion weekly automated experiences, 150 million monthly automated campaigns, and two million daily predictions. The company also launched functionality like pages and web personalization, plus a predictive feature that helps to navigate ActiveCampaign’s over 500 automation recipes. The platform’s ecosystem grew to over 850 technology partners, up from 200 as of January 2020. And ActiveCampaign announced plans to grow to over 1,000 employees by the end of 2021 after adding 300 in 2020.

The global campaign management software market was valued at approximately $1.85 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to grow at 15.65% from 2018 to 2025. Competitors abound. There’s Pyze, which raised $4.6 million in July 2019 for its AI-driven analytics and marketing campaign orchestration tool, and Clari, which recently nabbed $60 million to further develop its AI sales pipeline toolset. That’s not to mention TapClicks, which raised $10 million in August 2019; BoomtrainAlbert Technologies6SenseAppierHighspot; and Panoramic.

But VandeBoom notes that ActiveCampaign’s client list is swiftly growing, with over 145,000 customers in more than 170 countries — 50,000 of which were added in the last year. “The need for enhanced customer experiences is fueling growth at ActiveCampaign and the growth of businesses around the globe. Companies are becoming increasingly frustrated with legacy marketing automation tools and customer relationship management platforms that only solve for one part of the customer experience,” he told VentureBeat via email. “Our customer experience automation solution helps companies grow by automating 1:1 communication during the entire customer lifecycle, from awareness to acquisition to advocacy, and creates experiences that turn customers from first-time purchasers into long-term brand advocates.”

Tiger Global led the series C financing round announced today in Chicago, Illinois-based ActiveCampaign, which included new participation by Dragoneer. Existing investors Susquehanna Growth Equity and Silversmith Capital Partners also participated.

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