TellApart may not be a household name, but if you spend time shopping (or window shopping) online, you have probably come across its technology. The Burlingame, California-based startup helps online retailers precisely target relevant ads to customers based on in-depth user data — so if you’ve ever clicked on an ad for a pair of shoes that seem like they were made for you, TellApart may very well have been responsible.
TellApart, which drove nearly 1 percent of all Cyber Monday e-commerce in the United States this year, is powered by some serious technology. And it turns out that it has also been making some serious money in the process.
TellApart is now operating at a revenue run rate of $100 million per year, according to CEO and co-founder Josh McFarland. The company, which was founded back in 2009, now has 50 employees and has comfortably profitable operations. In fact, TellApart hasn’t raised outside funding since its $11 million Series B round back in June 2011.
It’s an impressive performance, particularly at a time when it sometimes seems like the words “startup” and “revenue-generating” hardly ever appear together — let alone “profit.” So it was a pleasure to have McFarland stop by TechCrunch headquarters to talk about hitting this milestone and the lessons learned along the way. He was accompanied by James Slavet, the Greylock partner who has worked with TellApart since McFarland and his co-founder Mark Ayzenshtat started working on the concept as Greylock entrepreneurs-in-residence.
Watch the video embedded above to hear about how TellApart’s technology sets it apart from others in the field, how McFarland avoided the trap of becoming an “entrepreneur-in-reticence” in the early days of TellApart, the importance of the VC-founder relationship, and more.