Mixpanel was a hot startup in 2014 when it nabbed a $65 million Series B on an $865 million valuation, a sizable B round and valuation for those days. Today, seven years after that announcement, the company finally has a C round, a $200 million investment on a $1.05 billion valuation from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities.
The company has gone on record with TechCrunch that there are lots of reasons for the gap, and when it promoted COO Amir Movafaghi to CEO in 2018, it was the first in a series of steps that it took to right the ship.
The company later decided to shut down adjacent messaging and A/B testing products to focus solely on the product analytics market. As it made these moves, it also began work to improve slipping customer satisfaction metrics like its net promoter score (NPS), which was sitting at 15 when Movafaghi was promoted, according to the company.
As the focus shifted back to the core product, Mixpanel’s customer retention numbers, NPS and other related metrics have come back — NPS is up to 85 this year — and revenue improved alongside those metrics this year.
“The business performance has continued to accelerate, and all of the [reasons] that we gave to you last time [we spoke] around company metrics, the acceleration on the monetization side, all of those things have just continued to improve and get better,” Movafaghi told me.
When he took over in 2018, he was leading a company with the bones of a successful startup with $100 million in revenue and close to a $1 billion valuation. Now that it has surpassed unicorn status, he doesn’t shy away from the fact that there were ups and downs in the company’s 12-year history.
“Our story, as you know, was not a straight line. Instead, there were definitely [points] at which we had to take inventory and ultimately put the company back on track.” He believes that perhaps they were a bit too early for the market, but as digital transformation accelerated during the pandemic, companies of all types increasingly needed the kind of product data analytics Mixpanel provides. Now, the company can take advantage of that with the new investment.
Dewey Awad, managing director at Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, said that he was impressed with how Movafaghi dealt with the challenges of taking over a company in transition.
“Amir spent a lot of time thinking about the category, how the product fit in, what the [market] was that the company was successful in, and he doubled down on the product and the product-led sales motion, which required a lot more time, was much more complicated and required a lot more hiring,” he said.
But beyond Movafaghi’s leadership, he ultimately likes the focus of the company and believes that product analytics is still a young market with lots of growth potential. He said Bain believed that Movafaghi’s focus on the core product analytics market, and the decision to ax messaging and A/B testing, was absolutely the right way to go.
Mixpanel now has the capital to invest in moving the market share needle through partnerships and other methods, while continuing to invest in its core product for its target enterprise customers.
The company was founded in 2009 by Suhail Doshi and Tim Trefren and has raised $277 million with today’s round, according to Crunchbase data. Doshi was CEO from inception until 2018 when he moved to become chairman of the board.