LiftIgniter Series A Fundraise

August 17, 2017
Adam Spector

Series A Fundraise

We are excited to announce that we have raised $6.4 million for our Series A fundraising round. This brings our total raise to $8.25 million to date. Our round was led by Storm Ventures plus team members Ryan Floyd and Pascale Diaine. Storm was joined by Rincon Ventures, Revel Partners, and NTT Docomo Ventures. We had some amazing angels also join the round including Tom Chavez, CEO and Co-Founder of Krux ($700m exit), Bruce Falck (GM of Revenue and Product at Twitter), K.V. Rao (Founder of Zuora and Aviso), Gordon McLeod (Newsday, Krux, Time and more), Raghu Raghavan (Founder of Act-On). Our new investors join a fabulous list of investors from our never announced seed round: Khosla Ventures, YCombinator, SV Angel, Initialized Capital, Data Collective and great angels.

Reason to raise: The Personalization API

When we started LiftIgniter a little over three years ago and went through YCombinator, we had a dream and vision: personalization everywhere. The belief was based on a few simple truths: 1. Users are lazy. No one wants to waste time discovering content. 2. Users are easily distracted – something better is just a Google search or swipe away. 3. Saving users time and giving them what they want = win for users and, frankly, the only reason why any digital experience should exist.

This philosophy was tested by Indraneel and his team at Google. They built what we believe was the world’s first real-time personalization engine. They launched it on YouTube as the first “test” and it performed beyond good – to the tune of billions of dollars in incremental new revenue. The Facebook vs Twitter “debate” and divergent business paths of those two companies have also shown just how powerful algorithmic experiences are (Facebook) vs non-algorithmic experiences (Twitter up until recently). One could argue that a huge reason for Netflix’s business is due to an extreme focus on personalization (and they have even publicly stated how personalization equates to billions in new revenue).

Indraneel and I recognized that in the future, digital experiences that do not personalize will cease to exist. The problem is that the only way to personalize at scale is with machine learning and machine learning is hard (and it’s even harder to hire the right team). At LiftIgniter we solved both of those problems. Using a simple API that takes hours to integrate, our customers can turn on real-time machine learning personalization and achieve an average of 80% improvements in their core KPIs. We have never lost a test. No other company in our (or adjacent) spaces can make the same claims.

We found product/market fit. Investors saw the vision. It was time to raise money and take our big idea to the world.

The Path to Series A

The path to a series A is not always easy. Startups are not easy. Building a business is hard. You have a dream and want to make it reality. That rarely happens.

Three years ago, the LiftIgniter team raised $1.85m immediately at the close of YCombinator Demo Day. We had a vision and some great customers. Then…the product didn’t work. We lost all the customers. We went back to the drawing board. We rebuilt the product and starting in winter 2015, we re-launched to the world. From that point forward, we grew, grew and grew to the point where we now have a significant number of customers globally, billions of pageviews/mo, even higher billions of events, and a real business. There are few things that make Indraneel, myself and the team happier than receiving a check from a satisfied customer. From nothing to reality. Humbling.

Even with the great growth and customers, raising an A round is not easy. Many things have to align. The fact that we have a big vision, clear product market fit, and a fantastic team helped but we also needed to find investors who understood the value prop. Storm and their team were able to do that.

The next step

When that amount of money hits the bank account, it’s exciting and mildly crazy. We high fived and then basically went straight back to work (seriously). There is so much to do to make our vision a reality. We already serve personalization on video, personalization on articles, personalization on every other type of content. We have website customers and app customers. We work in every language. Our results beat everyone. But that is just the beginning of where this can and will go.

We’re growing our team. If you think you move fast and want to move faster, come join. If you are smart and willing to prove it, join us. We’re not only building the best personalization and machine learning company in the world but also, we hope, the best culture and frankly, best run business. If that interests you, apply!

Heads back down. Be humble. Make a product customers love with a team that’s like a family.

Sincerely,

Adam, Indraneel, and the entire LiftIgniter Team