Marketing automation company Bislr raises $1.5M

New funding brings Series A to a total of $5 million

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
September 9, 2013
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All the information that people share on social media has created a slew of opportunities for marketers to find customers that are ready, willing and able to buy right immediately. All companies need to do is find a way to tap into that information.

Bislr, a provider of Intelligent Marketing Software for mid-market and enterprise companes, is on the forefront of that movement. It's now raised an additional $1.5 million in Series A financing, it was announced Monday. The new investment came from Southern Cross Venture Partners, and Terry & Katrina Garnett and Tim Draper, bringing the company's Series A funding to a total of $5 million.

The capital will be used to hire people in the sales and marketing teams, Michael Sharkey, CEO and cofounder of Bislr, told me in an interview.

"We are getting a tremendous amount of demand, and we underestimated the need for a sales team," Sharkey said. "There's no one managing phones, no sales team so we are going to capitalize on people who want to buy our software."

The new funding will also go toward beefing up the company's operating system.

"We are looking at all different aspects and innovations to expand our marketing operating system," he said. "That includes automation, the ability to interact directly with applications and empowering marketers by making it easier to improve how marketing  teams work with technology.

Founded in 2011, the San Francisco-based Bislr delivers website marketing products that enable marketers to create, optimize and manage their websites for social and mobile. The goal is to save marketers time and money by using Bislr to create and optimize campaigns, landing pages and campaign/microsites.

Bislr recently released a slew of new products, most notably AutoPilot, which enables in-browser drag and drop creation of multi-channel campaigns, including Web, mobile, social and offline.

For example, a marketer can set up a workflow that sends an email with more advanced tips after a prospect has used its freemium SaaS product the first three times. That would allow them to drive deeper usage of the product and, ultimately, conversion to paying status. 

The company also introduced the ability to drag and drop creation of landing pages, without the need for JavaScript to perform actions such as changing colors or the shape of a button.

"These are innovations that we have thought about all along," Sharkey told me. "Our first goal was to build platform or operating system, but the need for more innovations slowly arises as the market grows."


Some of Bislr's biggest competitors including companies like Marketo, which has raised $108 million in funding; Mintigo, which secured a $9 million second round of funding from Sequoia Capitol in 2011; Eloqua, which was acquired by Oracle for $871 million this past December; and Balihoo, which has raised a total of $24.5 million, including $5 million last week from OpenView Venture Partners.

But many of those companies have been around for a long time, some as long as a decade, and have not been innovating the way that Bislr has, said Sharkey.

Ultimately, Bislr wants to provide an end-to-end sales and marketing solution that distrupts the traditional models; those that simply put leads into database, with no intelligent way to go through them. Bislr wants to build social profiles, so companies can learn about them. By tracking their activity, what will allow the companies to the right conversations with the right people.

"Most people don’t want to be sold to. We want to find those that have a need, and want to connect. Companies waste a lot of time and efficiency on people that don’t want to buy their software," he told me.

"We are trying to build an operating system at the forefront of driving sales and marketing using modern technology and standards."

So how much can a company save by using Bisrl's marketing strategy?

That depends on the type of business and the tools they use. But Sharkey did give me an example.

One of Bislr's customers, a multinational company which had a giant database, was having trouble being able to surface who wanted to buy. By using Bislr's Link Planner tool, which allowed them to not only listen to people filling out their forms, but also see was trying to investigate the links, saved the company $2 million in just from that one campaign. The company has since begun multiple other campaigns using Bisrl software.

Bislr now has close to 100 customers, which are typically mid-market companies with around 100 to 115 employee and more than $15 millon in revenue.

The company makes money through a SaaS model, where customers pay as low as $500, or as much as $2,500, per month.

Watch the video below to get a better understand of how AutoPilot works:

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