As a Business Insider reader, you may have noticed a window pop up at the bottom of your page after reading an article, suggesting another piece you might find interesting. There's more to those suggestions than you think.
They're the creation of Sailthru, a New York based startup which announced today that it's receiving $19 million in Series B funding from Benchmark Capital. The company distinguished itself and increased revenue by 270 percent in a very crowded field by making decisions in real time and respecting users and their data.
Benchmark's Bill Gurley has joined the board.
"People have been talking about big data for a long time," Sailthru CEO Neil Capel told Business Insider, "but they're only sort of collecting the data and there are a lot of sort of flashy kind of graphics to show that big data, but really what it's about is how you make real time decisions on those users so you can make their experience more relevant."
The approach is something they call smart data, making automated decisions in real time that present content and options that are relevant and useful, actually reacting to behavior and preferences.
" It's not just putting people into buckets. It's customizing and personalizing those experience to actual individuals, Capel says. "Now a lot of other companies out there will say something along those lines, but normally they're just looking at a cookie full of data and trying distinguish from that kind of data set. But what we're really trying to do is create an end-user experience where that user keeps coming back, that user builds up more and more of a profile dataset with us and is getting something out of the relationship as well."
The second thing that sets the company apart is an focus on respecting the user. "W hat we try to do is use data to try and really improve the end user experience, I think that a lot of companies out there do other things with data that should not be done," Capel says.
That includes custom content and, for example, throttling back emails if a customer reaches a certain disengagement score.
The idea and focus come from Capels own frustrations on the web. I wanted to be treated that way by websites, which is where they idea comes from, really," Capel revealed. "I wanted to be respected, I wanted to have that kind of guidance so I could find information."
Sailthru has grown its business by growing its clients. " We want to create the most sustainable businesses for our clients, Capel says, "we're really educating the entire team that the way that you create that, the way you create that maximum lifetime value is to respect the user, so we talk about it an awful lot."
The company already has clients on five continents and is expanding into Europe in Q2. Capel plans to use the funding to grow the company aggressively , to double the sales team and hire more engineering talent.
"It's really about expansion for us in the next 3 years," Capel says. "We're growing at a tremendous rate, in 3 years we should be in IPO range and that's kind of what we're focusing on."
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