ActionIQ co-founder and CEO Tasso Argyros knows there are plenty of companies promising to help businesses use their customer data to deliver personalized experiences — as he put it, "The space has gotten very, very hot over the last couple of years."
But in the face of growing competition, ActionIQ (founded in 2014 and headquartered in New York) has attracted some impressive customers, like The New York Times, Conde Nast, American Eagle Outfitters, Vera Bradley and Pandora Media, as well as high-profile investors like Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.
Today, it's announcing that it has raised $32 million in Series C funding.
"At this point, we believe we are four to five years ahead of the market," Argyros told me. "[Customer data platforms are] very hot, you see people really jumping into it, but nobody really has a product."
He attributed the rise of these platforms to the growth in customer acquisition costs: "Everybody's switched their focus from 'How do we acquire more customers?' to 'How do you grow lifetime value?' "
The key, Argyros said, is "delivering personalized experiences at scale." So if you're a business trying to understand which customers need to be convinced to stick around, which customers are ready to upgrade to a paid subscription and so on, you need a platform like ActionIQ: "What’s common about all these questions is that they’re all data questions."
He described ActionIQ's approach as "product-first," creating self-serve tools for enterprises rather than relying on consulting or IT services, and he said the product is designed to "drive intelligent actions activated through any channel."
Argyros contrasted this approach with the large marketing clouds, where he said that stitching together products from various acquisitions has led to "a huge data gap between what marketing clouds promise and what they can actually deliver." And he said other customer data platforms are limited to bringing the data together — but "just putting customer data in one place, that doesn’t mean business can use the customer data to drive value."
March Capital Partners led the round, with participation from Cisco Ventures, as well as previous investors Sequoia, Andreessen and FirstMark Capital. Meredith Finn, a partner at March, is joining ActionIQ's board of directors.
"From my professional experience at Salesforce and Twitter, when it comes to building a relationship with your customers, data is everything,” Finn said in a statement. “ActionIQ took a data-first approach from day one in contrast to many vendors that are now scrambling to address their data gaps by duct-taping data infrastructure to their existing point solutions. ... The potential of such a platform is limitless, and spans well beyond traditional marketing channels to other areas of customer interactions including web and mobile app experiences, customer support and sales.”
ActionIQ has now raised a total of $75 million in funding. And while the Series C isn't significantly larger that the $30 million that ActionIQ raised in 2017, Argyros said the company didn't need to raise a huge round this time around, because it's already built out the core product.
"A lot of dollars were invested heavily in the product way before the demand was there," he said. "The Series B was pretty significant because there was so much upfront product investment. ... Most of these funds are going towards expanding the business in sales and marketing."