News & Analysis

These guys just got the largest VC investment in Australian tech startup history

- April 17, 2014 2 MIN READ

If you were reluctant to believe that a couple of guys would be kicking some serious arse by the beachside of Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, prepare yourself for the following news. The Founders of Campaign Monitor, David Greiner and Ben Richardson, have just secured USD$250 million (AUD$266 million) of funds from US-based venture capital firms, after 10 years of bootstrapping. This is the largest capital injection experienced by an Australian technology startup ever.

The USD$250 million in invest capital, combined with the USD$160 million the company is raiding on US debt markets, will be used by the company to expand aggressively into the US and Europe. This involves building a sales team in the US, where 40 percent of the company’s sales come from. The cash will also be used for acquisitions, according to AFR Weekend.

Campaign Monitor currently boasts over 800,000 users worldwide; and among its 100,000+ paying customers are reputable brands including Apple, Facebook and Spotify. The Cronulla boys have experienced tremendous growth over the past 10 years, with users sending 1.3 billion email communications to their clients per month. All this has been achieved with no prior funding or salespeople.

Although the company’s major competitor Mailchimp still dominates the marketplace with over 5 million customers, Campaign Monitor has overtaken them in more critical areas. For instance, the average number of emails sent per customer at Campaign Monitor sits at 1,625 compared to that of Mailchimp’s average of 1,200.

Greiner told AFR Weekend that he’s proud of the company’s “bootstrapped heritage” and what they have achieved with their own resources to date, “but to go from 65 people to 165 people, and to triple or quadruple the business and continue to grow our revenues, that’s a different skill set.”

This massive investment round, led by Insight Venture Partners, is a good indication that Australians are on the radar of international investment firms. According to AFR Weekend, several major US firms, including iSelect backer Spectrum Equity, Accel Partners and Technology Crossover Ventures were vying to invest in Campaign Monitor, alongside Melbourne-based Square Peg Capital.

Managing Director of Insight Venture Partners, Deven Parekh, told AFR Weekend, “There’s a tremendous amount of interest in [Campaign Monitor]; US and foreign investors are comfortable with making investments in Australia.”

In a globalised economy where money flows across borders, this is a positive sign, demonstrating Australia’s competitive edge and its participating role in global innovation.

At the core of Campaign Monitor’s platform is the ability for businesses to manage multiple email campaigns across multiple clients. Right from the beginning, Richardson and Greiner made a strategic decision to target designers and agencies – a very specific vertical in the world of email marketing.

Since then, the service has been adopted by companies big and small – from local media agencies to creative and marketing departments of the world’s biggest brands. And better yet, their prices have never changed – a flat rate of 1 cent for every email you send.

Perhaps what’s most impressive about Campaign Monitor is that they focused on perfecting the product before raising investment – when, with startups, it’s often the other way around.