Amperity is Seattle’s latest unicorn with $100M round to supercharge its customer data platform

Inside Amperity’s Seattle HQ. (Amperity Photos)

Amperity is the latest company to join the Seattle region’s elusive club of unicorns, or privately held tech startups valued at more than $1 billion.

The marketing startup just reeled in a $100 million investment round to boost its software that helps brands such as Alaska Airlines and Kroger organize and analyze individual customer data. The Series D round pushes total funding to date to $187 million and is yet another gigantic cash infusion for a Seattle-area startup.

Washington state now boasts 12 “unicorns” and many of them — including Highspot, Zenoti, Outreach, Rec Room, and now Amperity — have raised venture capital rounds of $100 million or more in the past six months. It’s part of a red-hot climate for IPOs, venture capital, and acquisitions this year.

Amperity CEO Kabir Shahani.

Founded in 2016, Amperity’s software lets companies fine-tune their targeted marketing campaigns by connecting fragmented data sources about individual customer habits via emails, purchase history, mobile app usage, website traffic, physical store visits, etc. The idea is to give marketers a holistic understanding of a given user and increase sales while driving brand loyalty.

For example, a company such as Starbucks — whose CEO, Kevin Johnson, joined the Amperity board last year — uses Amperity to bolster digital relationships that compliment its in-person coffee shop experience.

“When you look at business-to-consumer brands, the real key to modern day retail is to create an experience in your brick-and-mortar store, but then you have to extend that experience to a digital customer relationship,” Johnson told GeekWire this week.

Amperity is one of many customer data platforms riding tailwinds from growing regulation around personal data control and blocking of third-party cookies — which in turn has increased the importance of first-party data that Amperity helps manage.

There’s also a pandemic-driven acceleration of digital adoption that is driving demand for Amperity and “CDP” competitors such as Segment, which was acquired by Twilio in November; Adobe; Salesforce; Oracle; and a flurry of startups like fellow Pacific Northwest startup Lytics.

Despite the crowded market, Amperity just this month inked the largest deal in company history, and has added dozens of new enterprise clients over the past year. Revenue grew by nearly 100% last year. The company declined to share specific metrics.

Amperity CEO Kabir Shahani said many of its customers use Amperity’s software alongside products from the likes of Adobe and Salesforce.

The use cases for Amperity include increasing customer acquisition; targeting specific customers to drive revenue in certain markets; improving financial reporting; becoming privacy compliant; and more.

“When you solve the underlying problem of getting your customer data complete and accurate and available, what our customers go do with that is awesome,” said Shahani. He estimates the total addressable market at $15 billion.

Shahani and Amperity co-founder Derek Slager previously started Appature and sold the Seattle-based healthcare marketing company to IMS Health in 2013. Appature had raised just $10 million before it was acquired six years after launching — the scale and size of Amperity is certainly on another level.

Amperity employs 225 people across Seattle and New York, and plans to increase headcount to 300 this year.

As for the “unicorn” status, Shahani said it’s an accomplishment — and in some ways, a chance to reset.

“When you cross the chasm of existential risk — and the unicorn thing is part of that — it’s like, okay, there’s a real business here now. It’s a real company,” he said. “When you start a company from scratch with blank piece of paper — we get that opportunity right now, to kind of step back and say, ‘we’ve got all these pieces — what are we going to go do with it, how are we going to assemble it to go even faster?’”

HighSage Ventures led the Series D round, which included participation from existing backers Tiger Global Management, Declaration Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Madera Technology Partners. Other board members include Concur co-founder and Accolade CEO Raj Singh; Madrona Venture Group Managing Director Matt McIlwain; and music superstar Ciara.

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