Sailthru Raises $20M Round To Personalize Email Marketing And More

Marketing personalization startup Sailthru is announcing that it has raised $20 million in Series C funding.

Less than a year has passed since the company raised its $19 million Series B, and founder and CEO Neil Capel said Sailthru still had “money in the bank”. However, he said that he was excited about working with Scale Venture Partners, which led the new round (previous Scale investments include ExactTarget, Ominture, HubSpot, and Vitrue).

In addition, Capel said that raising now means that Sailthru won’t have to worry about funding next year, so it can focus entirely on growth, including international growth.

Sailthru is probably best known as an email marketing company, but Capel said it’s much broader than that — he described it as a “customer engagement” company that’s “personalizing every single touch point,” whether it’s a website, a mobile app, offline, or, yes, an email. He also contrasted Sailthru’s approach with “big data” companies (Sailthru describes itself as “smart data”) — at the end of the day, he said those companies are still dividing users into different demographic segments, rather than offering true personalization.

“We’re essentially real-time, we’re able to personalize every single event,” he said. “As opposed to everyone else who says they’re real-time, and the consumer sits in this bucket.”

This is a concept that many businesses are still catching up with, Capel added — for example, if you sign up for a website newsletter (including, I believe, TechCrunch’s) you get the same headlines as everyone else, while publications should really be tailoring those headlines to what they know about your interests.

The company says its revenue for 2013 is double what it was last year, and its customers include Mashable, Rent the Runway, Acumen Brands, and Khan Academy.

Scale partner Rob Theis is joining Sailthru’s board of directors. Previous backers including Benchmark, RRE, DFJ Gotham, AOL Ventures, and Occam Partners also participated. (By the way, you may have noticed AOL Ventures on that list. TechCrunch of course, is owned by AOL. In addition, Capel is a partner at Bowery Capital, a new fund that’s backed by AOL and shares office space with the TechCrunch New York team.)