ActiveCampaign raises $240m at a $3bn valuation
ActiveCampaign, which has built what it describes as a “customer experience automation” platform has closed a $240 million round of funding which means the Series C values the Chicago startup at over $3 billion.
The round is being led by a new investor, Tiger Global, with participation from another new backer Dragoneer, along with two companies who previously invested, Susquehanna Growth Equity and Silversmith Capital Partners. The round brings the company’s total raised to date to $360 million.
The pandemic has resulted in a surge of interest among businesses to do more online than ever before, this could be because many people were working from home and spending more time on the internet. That has led to ActiveCampaign growing to a customer base of , up from 90,000 16 months ago.
“Today, with over 145,000 customers, we want to accelerate CXA even faster. That’s why we’ve raised a $240M Series C round of funding — to help more businesses create great experiences for their customers.” founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, Jason VandeBoom.
What is ActiveCampaign?
ActiveCampaign itself as a ‘category-defining Customer Experience Automation Platform that helps over 145,000 businesses in 170+ countries meaningfully connect and engage with their customers.’ They create optimised customer experiences by automating behind-the-scenes marketing, sales, and support processes. ‘Businesses of all sizes have access to hundreds of pre-built automations that combine email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, and machine learning for powerful cross-channel orchestration, segmentation, and personalization.’
The company also launched functionality like pages and web personalisation, plus a predictive feature that helps to navigate over 500 automation recipes. The platform grew to over 850 technology partners, which is up from 200 as of January 2020. ActiveCampaign has also plans to grow to over 1,000 employees by the end of 2021, after adding 300 in 2020.
“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,” Mr VandeBoom told .
Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”