Announcing iContact’s Series B Investment

August 30, 2010 · Print This Article

Eight years ago when Aaron Houghton and I met at UNC, we never fathomed we’d have the opportunity to build the nascent iContact into a great global company based here in North Carolina. As iContact passes 225 employees and $40M in annualized sales, we see an opportunity to do something rare—to build a venture-backed IT company here in the Triangle from start-up to IPO. Today, we’re announcing a critical milestone on our journey.

I’m thrilled to share the wonderful news that iContact has closed on $40 million of Series B venture capital funding from JMI Equity of Baltimore, Maryland. We worked with Allen & Company out of New York as our investment bank advisor in this round.
This $40M comes in addition to the $13.3M we’ve raised so far from our investors IDEA Fund Partners, Updata Partners, and North Atlantic Capital.

We’ll be using these new funds to make significant investments in sales and marketing, back-end technology, our product features and usability, global expansion, and of course our people that drive all of our success.

Over the past eight years we have been on a growth spurt, increasing from $2M in annual sales when we raised our first round of funding in May 2006 from IDEA Fund Partners in Durham to $40M in annual sales today four years later. We have been fortunate to find great people to join us at iContact as employees and investors. We would not have been able to get to this point without the amazing team that is with us.

For us, this is just the beginning of building a company that will be here in North Carolina for many decades to come. iContact’s vision is to “build a great global company, based here in North Carolina, for our customers, employees, and community.”

Building a Unique Company, For the Long Term

We are working on building a unique company, one that sees social and environmental responsibility as additive to success not counter to it, one that invests heavily in building a fun and creative place to work, and one that cares about maximizing value created in the long term not profits generated in the short term.

Our business philosophy says “The purpose of business is to solve human problems and that if we focus on creating positive value for our customers, employees, and community we will maximize financial return for our investors and shareholders.”

We will use these new funds to invest in building iContact into a customer-focused socially responsible high-growth company with a wonderful work environment and company culture. We are glad to be part of the conscious capitalism movement that the B Corporation community is forwarding and wish to provide another example for what a socially responsible company with a great employee culture can become.

Our Three Promises

These new investment dollars will enable us to better fulfill what we call our Three Promises. Our Customer Promise is to “help SMBs succeed and grow.” Our Employee Promise is to “create a wonderful work environment that attracts A+ talent.” Our Community Promise is to “make a positive wake in our local and global communities.”

Our Customer Promise
Working toward our Customer Promise, we have recently rolled out our brand new MessageBuilder to our 65,000 customers and 700,000 users that has been under development for the last year. MessageBuilder makes it extremely easy for anyone to create a beautiful, professional, effective communication. We currently have 110 templates with the new MessageBuilder and will have hundreds more by year end.

We will also be rolling out the brand-new iContact for Salesforce next week, which has been in limited release for the last six months. We acquired in April to enable added event marketing capability for our customers. These product investments are in addition to an upgraded back-end infrastructure, an expanded QA team, and a six person in-house User Experience Team who talk to customers and users to help us design extremely easy to use features and functionality.

Our Employee Promise
Working toward our Employee Promise, we will be moving to brand new company headquarters on October 24th in Morrisville, North Carolina in Perimeter Park within the Lenovo Campus that will allow us to expand to 550 team members.
We have recently implemented on-site monthly massages to add to our list of unique employee benefits like on-site car washes, Bagel Mondays, monthly lunches, unlimited free sodas, and a culture that encourages Nerf gun battles, dressing up in drag, and creative expression.

Our Community Promise
Working toward our Community Promise, we rolled out our 4-1s Corporate Social Responsibility Program which includes giving 1% of payroll, 1% of product, 1% of equity, and 1% of time back to the community.

For 1% of payroll we will contribute $150,000 in 2010 to 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. For 1% of product, iContact is now free of charge to any North Carolina non-profit to send newsletters up to 10,000 subscribers. For 1% of equity, we have committed 1% of the equity in iContact to the iContact Foundation to endow the foundation with funds to expand our ability to give back permanently.

For 1% of time, we have provided each employee 2.5 additional days off per year to volunteer in the community during business hours. When we started the year, I set a goal of 1000 hours of community service in our first year. iContact employees have already completed 1200 community volunteer hours and it is only August!

Special Thanks

We worked with Brad Wolosen, Jit Sinha, Bob Nye, and Krishna Potarazu from JMI Equity’s Baltimore Office on this fundraise. Brad and Jit will be joining Aaron, myself, and Carter Griffin from Updata on our Board of Directors.

We used Allen & Company to represent iContact as our investment bankers on this transaction, working with John Griffin, Dave Wehner, Kemp Webber, and Michael Melnitzky.

We worked with Joey Silver and Sarah Loya out of DLA Piper’s Atlanta office and Neil Bagchi of Bagchi Law, with Mark Burnett, Kathy Fields, and Maggie Wong representing JMI at Goodwin Proctor.

Special thanks go to our internal deal team of Tim Oakley, Ben Redding, Bryan Conner, Robert Plumley, and Susan Harrison and to our full Senior Leadership Team who endured two months of due diligence requests while still getting their day jobs done.

Our goal is simple—build a financially successful socially responsible company based right here in the Triangle that becomes the global leader in email marketing software and services for SMBs.

Thank you to all of our customers, employees, investors, mentors, advisors, and supporters who have helped us get iContact to this point and here’s to the road ahead!


3 Responses to “Announcing iContact’s Series B Investment”

  1. Clay Schossow on August 30th, 2010 1:24 pm

    Congrats on the big round! It’s good to see a local company growing at such a large scale and attracting national attention to the entrepreneurial scene in the triangle.

  2. Frank Stoltmann on September 1st, 2010 3:19 pm

    Great job securing another round of funding and your continued impressive growth as a company. I have read “Zero to a Million” and am impressed with your success. I also have an entrepreneurial spirit…the only question now is how to I get my resume looked at a t iContact to become part of your team???

  3. Vik Chaudhary on September 2nd, 2010 12:14 am

    Thank you for writing your blog. I originally planned to sign up with Constant Contact, but then saw an iContact ad and signed up. I wasn’t sure how big or successful your company was – this post really tells me a lot. Love the culture aspect. Indian Bento hasn’t made much use of our account so far, but will be ramping up now that I know we’ll be staying with you!

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