Teacher marketplace taps SendGrid to deliver emails at volume

It may not sound glamorous, but delivering newsletters and other communications efficiently says a lot about a small company.


When you're a small organization running some sort of e-commerce or Web 2.0 site, there's email, as in all the directed, individual emails you need to send and receive every day to get your job done; and then there's EMAIL, as in the communiques, confirmation messages and other missives that your team needs so support the operations and member communications on the site.

Rising cloud services company SendGrid is gaining positive notoriety as a solution for managing the latter far more effectively. Some of its notable customers: Pandora, Uber, Pinterest, Foursquare and Spotify.


Before you protest that those companies are way bigger than your own, consider this scenario. Teachers Pay Teachers is a small New York company with fewer than 100 employees, but its email needs are huge.

Since it was founded in 2006 by a former New York City teacher as a service for helping teachers sell successful lesson plans and educational resources to other teachers, its newsletter list has grown to more than 2.8 million weekly newsletters, and the marketplace is receiving anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 new registrations every day, said John Yoo, CEO of Teachers Pay Teachers.

Overall, the site sends about 15 million emails every month to members when transactions are triggered, for member-to-member communications and, of course, to launch the newsletters (a sample appears in the image to the right). Since it's founding, the site has mushroomed to $45 million in total sales (Teachers Pay Teachers takes a service fee, but the teachers have received 85 percent of that money). Some individuals are generating up to $500,000 in sales on the site annually, Yoo said.

The marketplace saved a "tremendous" amount by integrating SendGrid's email services into the site to manage this process, while making sure that communications were received my members far more quickly."We were working with a company that sends out newsletters for small businesses, but the costs were very high," Yoo said.

Jesse McCabe, director of product marketing for SendGrid, said a migration is relatively simple. There are application programming interfaces (APIs) that you use to integrate the SendGrid service with certain task on your Web site (like signing up for information).

The plans are pretty scalable. Your organization can actually send up to 200 emails daily for free, before graduating into the "Lite Plan" which is a pay-as-you-go service that charges $0.10 for every 1,000 emails (there's also a $1 fee and there are other restrictions). From there, the plans start at $9.95 per month (for up to 40,000 email credits) up to $399.95 per month (up to 700,000 email credits); once you hit more than 1.7 milion emails per month, you can negotiate an enterprise pricing plan.