Embarke Raises $ 1.25 Million to Improve Marketing Emails for Both Consumers and Marketers

by on October 14, 2013 in Company News
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Embarke announced today that they closed a round of funding from VCs and Angels earlier this year to make marketing email smarter and less intrusive.

The past couple years have been a whirlwind of growth for San Diego, it’s really exciting for the ecosystem.

 

 

Embarke San Diego Investor Pie Chart

Geography of Embarke’s Investors

San Diego’s Social Leverage led the round, which included Anthem Venture Partners in LA and Promus Ventures in Chicago.

A number of local San Diego funds and angels joined the round including Crescent Ridge Partners, La Costa Investment Group, and LA’s Townsgate Media.

Contrary to popular belief about San Diego’s fundraising scene, more than half the investors and almost half of the funds came from “America’s Finest City”. And 75 percent came from Southern California.

CEO Al Bsharah attributes this to, “An amazing up-swell of entrepreneurial, mentor, and investor activity in the downtown area. The past couple years have been a whirlwind of growth for us, it’s really exciting for the ecosystem.” Bsharah adds, “Oh, and the sunshine…that helps too!”

Product + Value Proposition

With less than 15 minutes of integration effort, Embarke helps email marketers increase opens and clicks by 5%-20%. These are not short-term gimmicky opens and clicks, they’re long-term retention solutions that engage the user in ways they actually prefer. Their behavioral analysis and automation gets the right message to the right user at the right time…for each individual.

If it’s not good for the consumer, we don’t do it.

 

Even though their customers are marketers, they’ve adopted a very user-focused mantra:  “If it’s not good for the consumer, we don’t do it.” CEO Al Bsharah says, “Email marketing gimmicks are like diets. Most only work for the short-term. It takes a lifestyle change to really make a long-term difference, and the only way to do that in the marketing world is to make it work for the end-user. Embarke automates most of this lifestyle change which is beneficial for both the marketer and the consumer.”

For years email marketers have been stuck with aggregate “industry standard” data that says, “Send emails in the middle of the night so they’re the first thing your users see in the morning!” Ask yourself, ask your friends…the reality for most of us is these messages are the first things we delete when we wake up!

[Marketers] can’t correctly speak to consumers as individuals, so they’re treating a very personal email channel as if it were a public one…and it’s simply no longer working.

 

In the past two years email marketers have sent 20% more emails, and consumers have clicked on 20% fewer of them. Why is this? “Because marketers are not armed with the data, the analysis, and the ability to effortlessly take action.” Bsharah continues, “They can’t correctly speak to consumers as individuals, so they’re treating a very personal email channel as if it were a public one…and it’s simply no longer working.”

Embarke has the ability to automatically segment users based on their actual behaviors. They send messages to each user at the day/time they’re most likely to engage. They’ve also got the ability to track beyond just opens and clicks, but to actual conversions on your website.

Partnership + Go-To-Market

Marketers know how difficult it is to change Email Service Providers (ESP) or Marketing Automation tools, so how can Embarke claim it takes less than 15-minutes to turn on? Because they integrate with the tools marketers are already using.

Their first partnership is with SendGrid, an ESP that’s now responsible for delivering more than 1% of the worlds’ non-spam email (that’s over 7-billion emails every month!)  SendGrid is introducing Embarke to some of its largest customers, claiming that the partnership brings incredible value to both companies.

Company Story

Al Bsharah (CEO) and Bryan Hall (CTO) met in March of 2011 at The Founder Institute. After 3 product iterations they were accepted into the TechStars / Microsoft Accelerator program in Seattle last year. They graduated demo day with their 4th iteration of Embarke, and are obviously hitting the gas pedal on this version.  Embarke is now a team of 8 employees, most of which have been entrepreneurs most of their careers.

Both Bryan and Al have run busineseses in the past with varying levels of success. When queried about Founder Institute vs TechStars, Bsharah stated they both served specific purposes and were incredibly valuable them. “Knowing what I know now, if I could do it all over again, I would have done the same thing.”

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