ActiveCampaign is on a mission to help one million small businesses with customer experience automation
Anyone working with the resources of a small business—which is to say, just enough money to afford access to software-as-a-service—understands the frustration of paying for an enterprise platform that could do everything, but seemingly can’t do anything without customization. It’s like owning a magic wand that you’re just too inadequate to wield … or at least it feels that way.
“Our thesis is that small businesses cannot operate like enterprises that can spend unlimited resources customizing all-in-one platforms,” said Tony Newcome, CTO of ActiveCampaign, a leader in the emerging field of customer experience automation or CXA. “Small businesses don’t have the horsepower, the engineering resources or the budget to customize everything. Their customers, however, expect the same high level of personalization that they get from larger competitors, especially when it comes to email and other communications. That’s where ActiveCampaign lives and really caters to small businesses.”
With tools including email marketing, marketing automation, Sales CRM and messaging, Active Campaign offers its more than 77,000 customers advanced elements that are the most critical to customer experiences, and integrates with 250+ other industry tools that small businesses are likely to subscribe to already as part of their processes. Tony anticipates gaining another 25,000 new customers by the end of 2019, taking the customers count over 100,000. “We’re on a mission to serve a million growing businesses and make their customers’ experiences amazing,” he said.
After opening the Indianapolis office in January, ActiveCampaign has grown to 25 people here, mostly data science, engineering and product development talent. The company announced in February that it plans to create 200+ new jobs in Indianapolis, which was its third location outside of Chicago where ActiveCampaign employs more than 400. A Sydney, Australia office was opened last July and plans to open an office in Dublin, Ireland are underway.
“We’ve hired more people already this year than we did all of last year, and I’ve hired at least 100 engineers for my tech department this year alone,” Tony said. “That’s one of the reasons I think we have the most exciting growth story in the Midwest right now. We are adding thousands of new customers each month and actually seeing our growth rate accelerate, which is a very hard thing to do at this level.”
The other reason Tony is bullish on ActiveCampaign’s growth trajectory is that his Indianapolis team has already launched products into the market that are transforming the industry. Essentially, ActiveCampaign has taken a common challenge for small businesses—providing the highest level of customer experience regardless of resources—and made it accessible to even the smallest of teams through data science and machine learning.
“The problem we’re solving is making it incredibly easy for our customers to bring their best-of-breed digital tools, whatever they may be, and connect them to our customer experience automation (CXA) platform,” said Tony. “The longer term vision—and the Indy office is already working on this—is to develop the ecosystem for third party application developers to build both connection into our CXA platform as well as to build native applications that can run within our platform. Offering this kind of agility, the simplicity of point and click integration and automation for small businesses, is revolutionary for the customer experience industry.”
ActiveCampaign breaks the rules for a typical software-as-a-service startup and scale-up because they aren’t looking to move up market and serve larger and larger enterprises. ActiveCampaign actually wants to continue to serve small businesses, solo entrepreneurs and small teams who need email marketing and automation to keep up with and exceed the experiences that their much larger competitors are delivering customers.
Jason VandeBoom, CEO, founded ActiveCampaign 16 years ago with a vision to make automation easier as part of an holistic customer experience approach. Following a move to the cloud in 2014, and an infusion of $20 million in capital from Boston-based Silversmith Capital Partners in 2016, ActiveCampaign began its meteoric rise with triple-digit growth over the past three years. Chicago and Indianapolis media reported that ActiveCampaign had revenue of between $50 to $60 million at the end of last year and in February this year respectively. Tony predicted annual recurring revenue would be $100 million by the end of 2019.
ActiveCampaign offers a free trial through its website (no credit card required) that brings in about half of the company’s business. The sales organization, which is relatively new is headed by Senior VP Adam Johnson, and also growing quickly to meet demand for ActiveCampaign’s customer experience automation platform and products.
“I feel very lucky to work with Jason and Adam and this amazing team of people. ActiveCampaign has been a lot like Jason himself, very humble and unassuming, and it’s time for that to change somewhat,” Tony said. “If you really think about our addressable market and the growth numbers we’re putting up, ActiveCampaign is a Unicorn company that has big plans to make Indianapolis a critical hub for development and innovation.”