Cordial raises $15M for smarter emails and messaging

Cordial, a San Diego startup building what CEO Jeremy Swift described as a “truly next-generation platform” for email marketing, has raised $15 million in Series B funding.

Swift and his co-founders come from email marketing company BlueHornet/Mapp Digital, which he said gave them the background to see “the market was really screaming: There needs to be a better way.”

We’ve written about plenty of other email marketing products. For example, last week I covered Stensul, which focuses on the email creation process. But Swift argued that most startups are building “point solutions” that sit on top of existing email platforms, whereas Cordial is “unequivocally” taking on the big marketing clouds offered by Oracle, Adobe, IBM and Salesforce.

“Cordial has gone to market to say you don’t need a legacy solution, plus a whole host of other point solutions, to try and do real-time messaging in a better way,” he said.

When Swift and Sales Engineering Manager Justin Soni gave me a quick demo of the Cordial platform, one of the big distinctions they pointed to was the way it uses customer data. Rather than targeting and customizing emails based on broad customer segments, they showed me how a Cordial email can incorporate dynamic elements that are updated with real-time, personal data — as Soni clicked around on different products on the merchant website, the email he was creating changed based on that behavior.

Cordial Machine Learning

In addition, Cordial applies machine learning technology to optimize the emails — not just testing out variations on one element, but every part of the email, from the subject line to the call-to-action button.

And while Cordial started out with email, Swift said it’s expanded to include other messaging channels like push notifications and SMS. All of that can be coordinated from within a tool called Podium, where a marketer uses a visual interface to build different communication flows based on customer actions.

Cordial previously raised $6 million in Series A funding. Companies using the platform include Freshly, La Quinta and 1-800-Contacts.

The new funding was led by PeakSpan, with participation from Upfront Ventures and High Alpha. Swift said this will allow Cordial to continue adding new marketing channels (the goal is one per quarter) and to continue investing in the technology.