Austin-based OutboundEngine has raised $14.3 million in venture and debt financing, the company has shared exclusively with Crunchbase News.
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Founded in 2012, OutboundEngine’s marketing software provides “a responsive website, relevant content created and sent automatically across email and social media, and hands-free social advertising on Facebook and Instagram.” Its subscriptions range from $199 to $449 per month. The company currently works with over 10,000 businesses, including individual professional service providers such as real estate brokers, mortgage companies, and independent insurance offices “to make their marketing simple and easy to manage.” Specifically, it writes and produces branded relevant content and then distributes it via social and email channels.
“Our mobile app surfaces the most engaged content and provides a means for customers to engage with their prospects and to start conversations and close more deals,” CEO Marc Pickren told Crunchbase News.
In recent months, OutboundEngine closed on an $8 million “venture loan” from Horizon Technology Finance Corp. While that news was announced last month, the company also quietly recently raised a Series C-1 round of $6.3 million from S3 Ventures, Silverton Partners, Noro Mosely, Alerion Partners, and Harmony Partners. That round is an add-on to a $16 million Series C round it closed in 2016. OutboundEngine has raised a total of $48.1 million over its lifetime, according to Crunchbase data.
Pickren joined the company last year with the goal of accelerating growth. Last year, OutboundEngine had a $23 million annual run rate, according to Pickren, and has been growing about 16 percent year-over-year.
“We’re continuing to focus on what I call healthy company unit economics and making sure we’re growing in the right way,” he said. “We’ve increased customer retention rates by over 25 percent, sales productivity has increased by over 40 percent and improved how cost-effectively we acquire customers so that they pay us three times as much as it costs to acquire them.”
The company is using its recent debt and equity raises to “dramatically expand” the industries and types of professionals it serves, as well as to expand its total addressable market, Pickren added.
“We’ve been investing in our prospect database and marketing capabilities,” he said. As part of these efforts, OutboundEngine has hired nearly 40 new salespeople in the last two to three months and today has over 200 employees.
Empowering small businesses is a big part of the company’s overall value proposition.
“When you’re in the technology business or in a software business, sometimes you can lose sight of the customer and human element,” Pickren said. “The people we serve are small businesses and independent professionals, so many of them try to do their own marketing and fail. That’s where we come in.”
Morgan Flager, general partner at Austin-based Silverton Partners, believes that SMB marketing automation software “is an untapped, compelling opportunity.”
“Almost 17 million SMBs use no digital marketing tool and 92 percent of them use no marketing automation software, yet they spend more than $35 billion on digital advertising,” he said. “We believe that the SMB market will move away from do-it-yourself (DIY) and toward do-it-for-me (DIFM) offerings” such as what OutboundEngine provides.
Charlie Plauche, partner at Austin-based S3 Ventures, notes his firm led OutboundEngine’s $16M Series C and also invested again in the C-1 round. Plauche believes that most small business owners don’t have the time or expertise to write content and manage outreach themselves.
“OutboundEngine solves this void in the market with a simple, easy to use platform that basically does everything you need,” he said. “The market has several basic email campaign managers but none match the product depth and functionality of OutboundEngine.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
Featured image courtesy of OutboundEngine
Disclosure: The author wrote for OutboundEngine on a contract basis in 2016.