While French startups never raised so much money in 2019, French Tech continues to encourage people to return to school. After Mirakl’s record $ 300 million funding round a few weeks ago, it’s up to another French actor to finalize a nine-figure fundraiser. Thursday October 1, Sendinblue, specialist in digital marketing, announced it had raised $ 160 million.
The French startup finishes its third round of funding three years after raising $ 35 million. For this third operation, Sendinblue has won the trust of financial partners like Bridgepoint Development Capital, Bpifrance and Partech (who led the fundraising in 2017). Blackrock, the American multinational asset management company, is also participating.
“Sendinblue is positioning itself in a growing market as more and more SMEs go digital, especially in the last few months of containment,” said Olivier Nemsguern, partner at Bridgepoint, in a statement. “We are looking for investments that meet a critical market need. Sendinblue is the perfect example of a company that makes an impact. “
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With this large-scale funding, Sendinblue is turning its eyes and growth ambitions to the other side of the Atlantic. An American market in which the startup already gained a foothold last year and whose sales are equal to gold and which is already established in France.
Sendinblue, the spearhead of booming digital marketing
As 2020 enters its final quarter, it is very likely that it will remain the crucial year for many companies’ digital strategy. Indeed, despite the dramatic economic impact caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in multiple sectors, some will have succeeded in apparently Amazon and its record financial results despite the build up of controversy (see in particular next to the spread of antitrust investigations in Germany and Canada the increase in the number of accidents in camps). French e-commerce is unbeatable as Mirakl raised $ 300 million in September to keep providing businesses with merchant site templates and integrations.
The other sector that’s in the spotlight is digital marketing. The changed consumer habits have prompted companies to put the Internet back at the center of their strategy. As customer relationships continue to move to the internet, online marketers have a path ahead of them to gain market share. This is precisely the niche of the French Sarbacane and Sendinblue. The first had also made its comeback with a financing round of 23 million euros.
Sendinblue was founded in 2012 by Armand Thiberge and has specialized in SMEs with its all-in-one SaaS solution for marketing and sales. As with other players in the industry, the startup initially concentrated its product ranges on a single segment: that of email marketing. Eight years on, the range has expanded significantly and the number of digital tools available to marketing teams continues to grow (email, SMS, marketing automation, sales management, chat, landing page, etc.). ). A path to more integrations not unlike that of one of its largest American competitors, Mailchimp.
“Since our last fundraiser in 2017, we have evolved into a model where we offer a solution that meets all of the business and marketing needs of SMBs. The needs have changed significantly, and digitization is becoming increasingly important. Sendinblue has set itself the goal of building the most intelligent and intuitive marketing and sales platform ”, as Armand Thiberge explains in the press release published by Sendinblue.
Focus on the international market with the American market in your sights
In the health and economic context of the last few months, the startup has taken its figures into a new dimension, a sign of accelerated market maturity. “We saw many new customers who started implementing a digitization strategy and we did not find any particular errors,” notes the founder and CEO. Sendinblue also confirms that it “achieved growth of more than 50% in the months of March to June 2020 alone”.
The startup now claims 18,000 customers around the world and generates 70% of its international sales of 50 million.
The main expansion route is across the Atlantic. A playing field that is much larger than France and more digitally sophisticated. “The COVID pandemic has accelerated our business,” commented Steffen Schebesta, who heads the company’s operations in North America (and came to Sendiblue when its start-up Newsletter2Go was acquired a few years ago). “We saw that many SMEs are realizing that they have to work digitally in order to survive.” And to describe the goal of the typical Sendinblue customer profile: “To give small and medium-sized businesses the opportunity to be on par with large businesses in terms of the tools they can use by accessing all on one platform at an affordable price “
Sendiblue has long been aimed at SMEs, but now has renowned brands in its customer portfolio, including Louis Vuitton, Haribo, Fujitsu, Amnesty International and Greenpeace.
For the rest of the startup’s adventures, however, the weight of the North American market doesn’t mean the French focus will shift. Armand Thiberge firmly believes in the digital sovereignty of Europe: “In the age of the GDPR it is crucial to build an independent European ecosystem that guarantees the confidentiality of data. Our DNA is European, but our ambition is global. We are therefore pleased that two European funds are returning to our capital. “
A story that mirrors the recent position of Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, who has pledged to invest 1 billion of his personal fortune in European technology. Europe apparently beginning to piece together the pieces of its digital puzzle. The formalization of the European cloud project GAIA-X is a first step in this direction. In a ceremonial speech on September 16, 2020, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that 20% of the € 750 billion in the restructuring plan will be used for digital projects.