Message Bus raises $11M to manage email delivery

Northbridge Venture Partners leads; True Ventures, Ignition participate

Financial trends and news by Bambi Francisco Roizen
October 15, 2012
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As a social network for entrepreneurs, Vator understands how critical email messages can be. After all, emails alert the community about what's happening on the network. It's one of the biggest viral components for any network, and hence any service that can improve the delivery of emails is worth taking a look at. 

Message Bus appears to be one of those services as it announced Monday morning that it's raised $11 million in Series B funding, led by Northbridge Venture Partners, with participation from True Ventures, Ignition Partners and individual investors James Lindenbaum, Jim Young and Jesse Robbins.

Founded in 2010, Message Bus has built a cloud-based service to power messaging across email and mobile.The new round brings the total amount of funds raised to $14 million.

"We’re designed for large senders - companies that need to scale up from millions to billions of messages," said Ken Cheney, President of Message Bus, in an interview. Cheney also mentioned that the team and backers in Message Bus have significant domain expertise in large-scale cloud computing. Jeremy LaTrasse, co-founder of Message Bus, was part of Twitter's founding team, a position that gave him experience in handling large-scale communications. And, one of the investors - James Lindenbaum - was the CEO of Heroku, which was sold to Salesforce in 2011 for $250 million.  

Currently, Message Bus works with 33 customers, such as video-sharing company Telly. This company has scaled from a few million messages to over a billion messages, said Cheney. Messages include everything from marketing messages, alerts about posts, password reset notices to monthly newsletters.

About one out of five emails aren't delivered to the inbox, said Cheney, referring to a broad industry statistic. "The ISPs who receive the messages guard the inbox," he explained. "They're so bombarded by spam and bad senders that often what is a seeminlgy good message is tagged as a bad one. [So we] take a data-driven approach to see how receiver ISPs are viewing the message, and we rapidly respond to that data and optimize our delivery."

While Message Bus is clearly attacking a problem, it does face such competitors, like SendGrid. 

"SendGrid would be viewed as a competitor," said Cheney, saying that Message Bus' platform is different because it has a new cloud-based approach to handling email. Message Bus is built on top of multiple cloud providers, such as Amazon Web Services, Rackspace and Microsoft Azure and Joyent. So the company can balance email loads across all the platforms.

But Cheney says that Message Bus can also work with companies like SendGrid, Vertical Response and Constant Contact by using the Message Bus technology. "They're using old-school technology and can leverage our platform, which is easy to white label." 

While Cheney wouldn't talk about pricing, he said that Message Bus is price competitively.