Optimove raises $75M growth investment to manage customer-led journeys at scale

When businesses can connect more personally with their customers, those customers in turn are more loyal. However, as consumer behavior changes, especially as it did over the past 18 months, it is more difficult to establish that connection amid all of the messages put in front of them.

Optimove, specializing in customer relationship management marketing, wants to help brands “delight” their customers and keep them coming back. The company, with bases in Tel Aviv, New York and London, raised a $75 million growth investment led by Summit Partners.

Pini Yakuel, founder and CEO of Optimove, Image Credits: Optimove

The SaaS company was founded in 2012 by CEO Pini Yakuel to connect customers with brands and to apply artificial intelligence to customer data to orchestrate the right message to the right customer at the right time, and do it at scale, Yakuel told TechCrunch.

“It’s easier when you are creating three or five customer journeys a month, but when you really scale and want to do thousands, there is not an easy way to do that,” he added. “We do that with AI orchestrators that govern all of the messages. Now you can define the message and the marketer will have all of the data and be able to get feedback and analysis of what the customer segment looks like.”

As the global multichannel marketing market is expected to reach $28 billion by 2027, Yakuel said it will be an advantage to know who a brand’s customers are and how to target them. Optimove’s analysis of the data provides insights on how to achieve and attribute measurable improvement in such areas as churn, conversion, reactivation and lifetime value for each customer and campaign.

Prior to this investment, Optimove was bootstrapped for the first four years until raising $20 million. Yakuel said the company hasn’t used the money yet — it has been profitable so far. He considers the round to be Summit Partners, which is buying out the company’s earlier investors, as making a bigger commitment to the company.

“It is a transition and phase into a new era,” he added. “It felt like the right time for us given the specific climate of fundraising. We also want to do some M&A and build out our platform, but that all has to be done seamlessly. To use us today, a business may also have to use three or four other solutions and stitch them together. If we can own some of those capabilities, we can be better partners.”

In addition to M&A, the company plans to double its staff of 300 over the next two years and invest in technology, R&D and engineering to serve its 500 brand customers, including BetMGM, Papa John’s and Staples.

In the past year, the company saw 40% annual recurring revenue, and it sends more than 23 billion optimized messages via email, mobile, ad platforms and other channels, to over 3 billion customers annually. Next up for the company, Yakuel expects the next milestone to be an initial public offering in three years.

In addition to the funding, the company said Summit Partners’ head of Europe, Han Sikkens, and managing director, Steffan Peyer, are joining its board of directors.

Peyer said Summit invests in companies that are focused on marketing technology and are out to understand the customer journey, especially as that has become more important during the global pandemic. During this time, the cost of acquiring new customers has risen and this is where Optimove is most beneficial — enabling engagement with existing user bases, he added.

“What they have done is build a sophisticated customer data platform, with a sophisticated analytics orchestration engine, predicated on understanding and review the behavior of the customer and targeting micro segment campaigns to ensure the engagement level is good, and if there are other products that could be sold to a particular customer,” Peyer said. “Their modeling has a strong backend infrastructure to process data at scale and leverage that information in real time.”

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