IPO not the goal as Campaign Monitor drives US growth

Australia's Campaign Monitor has revealed that an IPO is not the company's near-term goal, as it works to expand its North American operations following last year's $250 million capital raising effort.
Written by Leon Spencer, Contributor

The $250 million (AU$321.6 million) fundraising round Australia's Campaign Monitor received from Insight Venture Partners in April last year has allowed it to swiftly execute on a number of its long-term strategic goals, with some industry speculation that the company has been manoeuvring towards an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

Not so, according to the Sydney-based email marketing provider's recently-appointed chief executive officer Alex Bard, who is far more interested in growing the business as it is for the time being, and for that, he suggests, it is better to remain private to be more agile when it comes to decision-making.

"The goal is really to grow this business, and then we will have opportunities for a variety of things," he said. "Building this team is not really intended to take this company public, it's to build a really great business.

"I think that we'll stay private for a while. It gives us opportunity to be more agile in the investments that we make. And, then we'll come see where that leads us," he said.

While Campaign Monitor will remain open to acquisition opportunities, it plans to continue investing heavily in its organic growth, which is already beginning to speed up since the funding last year.

"Deeply investing in this organic growth, bringing in really great talent into the company, to help grow the business is number one for us," he said.

Bard's comments come as Campaign Monitor gears up to officially launch its North American headquarters on Wednesday morning, California time, with the company setting up shop in San Francisco with online survey provider GetFeedback, which it acquired in November last year.

The launch of the new office is a major step in the Sydney-based company's efforts to double its workforce and ramp up its global sales and marketing operations following the $250 million (AU$321.6 million) in funding it received from Insight Venture Partners in April last year.

Campaign Monitor has grown from its local startup roots in the southern Sydney suburb of Sutherland into a worldwide team of more than 100 employees spread over several countries. It plans to use the San Francisco office for sales and marketing operations, along with continued product development by the GetFeedback team.

The launch of the new headquarters comes as no surprise, however, with Campaign Monitor indicating late last year when it took on GetFeedback, for an undisclosed sum, that it would move into an office space in the hometown of its new acquisition.

Campaign Monitor is clear that it wants to expand its global team by 100 people in 2015, with a substantial proportion of incoming sales and marketing staff set to move into the San Francisco space.

Already, the office has been filling up with new appointees and fresh energy, according to GetFeedback founder and Campaign Monitor's new chief marketing officer Kraig Swensrud.

"We're going through this exciting time of growth, and we're doing it both in San Francisco, and in Sydney," Swensrud told ZDNet.

Swensrud said that just weeks ago, there were only a few Campaign Monitor employees in the office, in addition to the survey company's existing staff, and already that number had expanded dramatically.

One Campaign Monitor employee who had already settled into the San Francisco office was Bard, who came on board late last year following the quarter-billion dollar capital raising round.

According to Bard, who was previously responsible for Salesforce's Service Cloud business, the cash injection from Insight Venture Partners has allowed Campaign Monitor to finally put together an extensive sales and marketing operation, which until now, had played second fiddle to product development, and service and support operations.

"The company is predominantly product, and customer service and support, which is globally distributed," Bard told ZDNet from the company's Sydney offices. "[There was] no real marketing to speak of, no sales, or account management whatsoever.

"And so, when I joined the company, what I was really excited about was how to take this amazing thing, this great value we've been delivering, and scale it more globally," he said.

To this end, the company is now building out its sales and marketing operations, with Bard saying that Campaign Monitor is primarily starting by building those teams in San Francisco.

However, product development remains central to Campaign Monitor's core focus, with plans to add advanced functionality that takes the company beyond basic email marketing campaigns, and into more sophisticated email automation and transactional, system-triggered email.

Campaign Monitor's co-founders Ben Richardson and Dave Greiner remain heavily involved in product execution and development, leading the engineering and product teams in Sydney as chief technology officer and chief product officer.

Bard said that Richardson and Greiner have been busy punching out code for a host of new products. However, he remained tight-lipped about upcoming product details, apart from indicating that the work involves more personalisation and automation to Campaign Monitor's offering, which he indicated could eventually move towards a more multichannel approach.

"By having me come on board, it enables them to continue to focus on product. The guys are stuck in a cave right now coding our amazing new product stuff," he said.

The upcoming product development work that Bard spoke openly about is being done in the area of integrating the platforms of Campaign Monitor and GetFeedback.

"A product integration between GetFeedback and Campaign Monitor is already in the roadmap," said Bard. "We've already done some lightweight integrations; we've announced the acquisition of GetFeedback with our base. We have FAQ articles and some additional work to make it easier to integrate the two products."

Although building out the sales and marketing operations is currently central to Campaign Monitor's international expansion strategy, Bard said he would eventually like to see Campaign Monitor's support offices around the world incorporate an element of product development as well.

"Largely, the product density is here [in Australia], and the sales and marketing density is in San Francisco," said Bard. "The vision is that every office will have every discipline inside of that office, so that we have diversity of thought and opinions, and perspective, and people are more connected to what everyone is doing versus being a siloed set of groups."

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