Business Startups Venture

Contentstack Raises $31.5M Series A For Its ‘Headless’ CMS

Contentstack, which has developed what it describes as a “headless, modern content management system (CMS),” announced this morning a $31.5 million Series A led by Insight Partners.

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Existing backers Illuminate Ventures and GingerBread Capital also participated in the round.

Contentstack is the third venture founded by Neha Sampat, Nishant Patel and Matthew Baier, who previously built the Built.io platform and brand, which was acquired by Germany’s Software AG in 2018. Contentstack had actually spun out of Built.io in January 2018, although the product had been in the market for a couple of years prior, according to Sampat.

Sampat describes Contentstack as a “modern stack for managing digital content” across all experiences. The company sees its cloud, SaaS product ultimately replacing traditional content management systems such as Drupal or WordPress, “not just for the web but going beyond that” for use in cases such as mobile, in-store kiosks, in-game content, and augmented reality.

“Mobile consumption is outpacing web consumption, and it has to be displayed differently,” Baier said.

I was curious about what the company meant by headless, and Baier said it was a metaphor with a CMS essentially giving people more options.

“With a traditional CMS, all we had was the web and one digital channel to get content,” he said. “But with Contentstack, you get a single system to get content anywhere you want so that the web is no longer the head.”

Customers span a range of industries, including retail, entertainment, finance, manufacturing, travel and technology. They include Amway, Best Buy, Chase, Cisco, Dell, Martha Stewart, Miami HEAT, Shell, Sky, and Walmart.

The company is certainly growing at a rapid clip. Sales grew four times in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year. Annual Recurring Revenue grew three times in 2018, Sampat said.

Investor Perspective

As part of the funding, Insight Managing Director Teddie Wardi joins Contentstack’s board of managers.

He told me via email that part of Insight’s thesis is to invest in the “next generation of category defining companies.” Contentstack stood out, Wardi said, because of an “incredible product, unique market perspective, seasoned team and extremely high customer satisfaction.”

Market timing was also important, he said, and Insight believed that headless CMS as a category had reached a point where mass adoption was beginning to happen.

Contentstack’s focus on enterprise-grade functionality placed it above competition when it came to delivering value in large scale, complex omnichannel implementations,” Wardi added.

“Driven by the changing nature of content itself, as well as how and where we encounter and interact with it, we’re seeing the rise of new technology in response to this massive shift,” he said. “In fact, there is a new cloud-based ‘content stack’ (pun intended) that lives in the cloud and uses APIs to deliver business results at a speed we haven’t seen before. Contentstack is at the forefront of this paradigm shift.”

Contentstack plans to use its new capital to scale its sales and marketing team, expand globally and build out its partner ecosystem. Based in San Francisco, the company has offices in India and the Netherlands, as well as in Austin, Texas. It has just under 100 employees with plans to at least double headcount by the end of 2020, according to Sampat.

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