Why I Believe in the Future of Email

And why I believe Sigstr is poised to win in the era of authentic marketing.

Sigstr Future Email

If you’re like most people, you start your day and end your day in your email inbox.

With as much talk of newer, emerging channels like Slack or Snapchat, email is still the workhorse of digital marketing. This was true ten years ago, and it’s still true today. Marketers love email for two core reasons – first, email continues to be one of the strongest levers in driving ROI and demand, and second, email is one of the most effective ways to drive personal, 1:1 marketing at scale.

The future of marketing centers on authenticity, and I believe the future of email centers on its ability to personally engage in meaningful and helpful ways with its recipients. Which leads me to this exciting announcement…

Our Big Investment News

I could not be more thrilled to announce that Hyde Park Venture Partners is leading Sigstr’s Series A investment to create the future of personalized, authentic email. We are also delighted to invest alongside Michael Brown and his team at Battery Ventures, Scott Dorsey and the amazing team at High Alpha, and to also be just the third direct investment that HubSpot has announced to date.

For those who may be unfamiliar, Sigstr is based in Indianapolis and is a cloud platform for employee email personalization. Sigstr unlocks employee email systems like Gmail and Outlook as an owned marketing channel. Every year, each employee sends an average of 10,000 emails and Sigstr helps make sure your company takes advantage of the precious real estate in the email signature block, providing meaningful and helpful content to recipients.

The company was launched out of the High Alpha studio in 2015 and recently blew through the $1M annual recurring revenue milestone, signed its 300th customer, and passed 500 million signature impressions. They also have grown to over 30 “Sigstars” on their amazing team. Simply put, the team is on fire.

What I Love About Sigstr

Perhaps what I love most about Sigstr is that the company’s product is universally needed and clearly understood. During customer calls in the investment diligence process, each customer had rave reviews on using Sigstr and could speak the value it was providing. What marketers love about Sigstr is that it leverages where they are already spending time (corporate email) and amplifies it to another level. It moves the needle without needing heavy-weight onboarding, coaching, etc. It’s enterprise software, but with simple, consumerized characteristics and rapid time to value.

The value proposition behind Sigstr is simple. Sigstr meets companies where they are already allocating significant time and resources and helps them dramatically amplify the work they’re doing.

Because everyone in your company sends email, it also turns your own employees into your biggest ambassadors. There’s nothing more powerful than giving those who know the most about your company the license to effectively tell meaningful stories. It allows you to engage with your employees and “market from inside out” as I like to say – something that is regularly overlooked in most companies but is the key to authentic marketing.

Sigstr brings awareness and drives engagement across a variety of use cases. From eliminating the hundreds of variations of your brand being distributed via email every day, to driving event registrations and engagement, to bolstering your sales velocity by educating prospects and keeping leads warm with product updates and case studies.

I also believe that Sigstr will become the new employee intranet… instead of sending employees to a website that no one will ever naturally visit, you can message information via email signatures, whether HR-related (employee benefits enrollment) or promoting an upcoming webinar. Sigstr does this all naturally, eliminating those mass emails we all could live without. It pulls people in by being relevant rather than pushing out information that doesn’t apply to most.

So Much More Than Email Signatures

With all of its success to date, I didn’t invest in Sigstr because of what has already been accomplished. I invested because of the larger opportunity I see in Sigstr’s future with their product vision and technical expertise to accomplish that vision.

I hate to break it to you, but this is not just about email signatures. This is only the beginning. I often talk about how companies need to solve a clear pain point, get meaningful traction to quickly reach $7-10M ARR, then build a platform of record to create a SaaS category leader.

It’s all about momentum in the early days of a company. It’s about getting customers and staying alive. Sigstr has done this exceptionally well, reaching 300 customers very quickly and now has the resources, vision, and the customer base to build a whole new category of software.

The future of email that Sigstr is creating is true, personalized marketing on a human to human level. It’s about understanding your audience so personally that you can serve up the helpful resources that are adding immense value whether they are directed to a prospect, loyal customer, conference attendee, interested job candidate, or fellow employee.

Sigstr’s product capability makes authentic, personalized connections that are most relevant to the reader. One clear example is when you’re sending a customer information about signing up for your user conference, but they signed up three weeks ago. You should be educating them on how they maximize their experience, where they can book their hotel, and other activities they could participate in while in town. Sigstr has already begun this journey with its ability to dynamically serve content via its Account-Based Marketing (ABM) functionality.

Bonus: check out Sigstr’s webinar with Hubspot next week to see the product in action!


It Always Comes Back to the Team

I base the majority of my investments on two key factors: the team and the space. At the end of the day, however, it always comes back to the team. A company will pivot and change course many times and have many struggles and successes. Through it all, it’s about the people who have the confidence and focus to step up to the plate to weather the good, the bad, and the ugly.

It’s been said that your one job as a leader is to replace yourself. I truly believe that is the only way you can scale beyond your limitations and yourself as leader. With that said, it’s incredibly rare to see a founder of a startup proactively seek his replacement in order to help their business achieve its highest potential. Dan Hanrahan, founder and President of Sigstr did just that about six months ago.

Dan knew he needed to swing for the fences to build on the incredible company he founded. To do that, he went for the yin to his yang – complementing his sales and partnerships savviness with product and tech prowess unmatched in the email space. Dan brought in Bryan Wade as CEO. Bryan was most recently the Chief Product Officer of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and is one of the most respected leaders in the email space… the dynamic duo of Dan and Bryan is potent. The leadership and professionalism doesn’t stop with Dan or Bryan – it permeates through the entire culture and organization.

As a company, Sigstr lives and breathes its core values. Their senior leadership team is hungry and focused on servant leadership. And frankly, when you walk into their office, you feel the urgency and positivity that is contagious. Few companies have the X-factor that a motivated and positive team brings. (By the way, I should mention they’re hiring!)

Simply put, Sigstr is in the right space at the right time, with a big vision and the right team to build an amazing business at the intersection of MarTech and HR Tech. I’m thrilled to be part of the next chapter and look forward to building an amazing business together.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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