Act-On’s $16M D Round From Norwest Venture Is Evidence That Online Marketing Will Be Automated

It’s funny. I was only the other day standing on the rooftop of a London startup’s office as we cracked jokes over beers about the ridiculous amount of money SEO and marketing agencies used to charge clients. “Yeah, I used to fly into Dell’s Dublin office one a week to tell them about SEO. We used to charge thousands!” guffawed my interlocutor. Well, the boot is on the other foot now, and the evidence is growing. A simple search of Techmeme reminds us that confused marketers are searching for tools mot agencies and Teradata bought marketing automation software company aprimo for $525 million. Now, Act-On Software, a marketing automation company, raised a $10 million in Series C funding, roughly half a year after securing $4 million.

Today it’s announced it has secured $16 million in new venture financing. Norwest Venture Partners (NVP) led the round, with existing investors Trinity Ventures, US Venture Partners and Voyager Capital also participating. Act-On offers a platform that allows marketers to manage a variety of online marketing initiatives from a single, cloud-based system. Much less reliance on agencies, therefore. The company’s marketing automation platform integrates with a number of applications, including and Webex.

Raghu Raghavan, founder and CEO of Act-On says the new investment will enable them to expanding operations globally and accelerate product innovation.

Because you can pay for its on a month-to-month basis it means customers can try it out just to kick the tyres. It says its main draws are a simple user experience, month-to-month contracts and speedy deployment. Act-On’s main competitors are Marketo, Exact Target, Eloqua and HubSpot.

In the last three years Act-On has grown from zero to 1,000 paying customers, and claims it grew over 300 percent in 2011. It has a UK sales office right now but more are planned.

It’s certainly boom time for marketing automation. Revenues for B2B marketing automation are projected to grow 60 percent this year to $525 million, according to Raab Associates.