News & Analysis

Australian SaaS marketing startup Simple raises $10 million to expand into US

- September 12, 2016 3 MIN READ

Australian SaaS startup Simple has today announced it has raised $10 million to help expand the company into the US market. More than doubling its size in the last financial year, clearing 240 percent growth per annum, Simple is well poised for international growth.

The startup has raised $13 million over the last three years, with a $3 million raise in 2013 and the latest $10 million coming within the last six months. Investors in Simple include Australian VC firm Perle Ventures and Global VC fund SparkLabs Ventures.

Simple first launched its marketing software in mid-2012 to help enterprise marketing teams organise their workflow and plan and execute campaigns with speed. With today’s customers fragmented across multiple digital channels, marketers are under pressure to tap into omnichannels and manage their strategies, and it’s here that Simple looks to help.

To date Simple has signed on a number of large Australian and international brands including Xero, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Westpac, AMP and Tabcorp to name a few. The SaaS startup has also recently established its first office and sales team in San Francisco, from which it will look to accelerate growth in the US.

Cofounder of Simple James Charlesworth believes that marketing has been disrupted and redefined over the past few years and that what we’re seeing now is just the beginning.

“Big brands have developed strong digital playbooks but are still struggling to move at the pace that digital channels require,” he said.

With the explosion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning in the US, the direction and value of marketing is changing. Consumers want more personalised marketing campaigns to tailor suit to their needs, wants and desires. Charlesworth believes that AI and machine learning are going to be a massive disruption for the marketing industry, but at the same time will also be a big opportunity for the way big brands do marketing.

“Machine learning and AI comes into its own when it has large data sets to work with. The more that you use machine learning the smarter the algorithm gets,” said Charlesworth. “For us when you talk about enterprise marketing teams, the way they used to work doesn’t suit the way they’re headed.”

To compete in this market, companies need to highly optimise and refine the marketing campaigns that they take to each customer segment. The changing of the digital consumer is where Simple sees the biggest opportunity for its market. Simple’s marketing performance platform aims to help marketers lift campaign velocity and measure the impact it has on each consumer segment.

Other Australian startups like Data Creative and Straight2Voicemail are also tapping into personalised marketing sector. With over 61 percent of consumers feeling more positive on receiving communication, refined marketing can help foster better engagement and interaction with businesses and brands. While both tactics are unique – Data Creative uses personalised videos and Straight2Voicemail uses personalised voicemail messages – it’s clear that traditional marketing and the one-size-fits-all approach is fast becoming outdated.

In the last six months, Simple has seen an enormous growth in its service offering, which is why the startup is commencing growth in the US. Charlesworth believes that the startup’s new office in San Francisco is important as the biggest opportunities for scaling large scale SaaS companies are in the Valley.

“It’s really about starting our US operation where we feel we’ll get the most talent,” explained Charlesworth. “For an Australian company it’s a big step because it’s a commitment, you’re not only committing to another region, but to another time zone.

“When you’re in an early stage company you don’t have the luxury of being a big publicly listed company where you can just replicate operations. The big challenge has been how to design the company to suit a global footprint.”

Simple has also announced it is gearing up to a company re-launch later this year. Charlesworth told Startup Daily that a new version of the site will be unveiled, along with the startup’s integration with other big cloud companies. The startup believes the integration with international cloud companies will help accelerate Simple’s distribution and growth, particularly in the US.

Image: Simple Team. Source: Supplied.