Email sender Sailthru gets $19M to expand custom content offerings

Even as social media firms get all the hype, email remains big business. The latest proof of this is a major new investment in Sailthru, a start-up that helps media and e-commerce firms offer personalized email to their subscribers.

On Monday, New York-based Sailthru announced $19 million in Series B funding  from Benchmark Capital, the venture capital giant that backed firms like Twitter, Dropbox, Uber and Yelp(s yelp).

Sailthru, which will use the new money to expand staff and infrastructure, built its business by distributing customized emails for content and shopping offers. Sites like Fab and the Huffington Post(s aol), for instance, will produce different versions of a daily email and use Sailthru to select which subscribers receive which version.

Sailthru pitches its tools as “Smart Data” that let clients measure the effectiveness of their marketing messages; clients can rely on metrics like how many people open a given email or the amount of time a subscriber spends on a website.

In a phone interview, Sailthru founder Neil Capel stressed that the company is now about much more than email. He says Sailthru simultaneously collects data from email responses, website visits and app use in order to drive sophisticated analytics for marketing.

Sailthru’s specific tracking techniques are something of a black box (and a bit unsettling) so it’s hard to say for certain how effective they are. But the company is obviously doing something right given the new investment, and its claim of 270 percent revenue growth in the last year. Sailthru also appears poised to join the increasingly competitive ranks of content recommendation engines that offer “suggested stories” in the hope of getting a user to spend more time on a website.

Bill Gurley, a General Partner at Benchmark, will join Sailthru’s board of directors as part of the investment.

(Image by ra2studio via Shutterstock)