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Autopilot raises $12 million to help businesses with targeted client emails


Why hunt for new customers when you can make more money from the ones you already have? At least thats the idea behind Autopilot, a startup which helps businesses reach out to existing clients.

Blackbird Ventures and Salesforce Ventures are part of a group betting $12 million that this is the software businesses need. Other investors include Rembrandt Venture Partners and Southern Cross Venture Partners. This brings their total funding to $32 million.

What were trying to do is help every small and mid-sized business, CEO Mike Sharkey told TechCrunch. Traditionally, this targeting technology has been really unaffordable for a small business to justify.

And its not just small businesses using the software. They recently signed on Microsoft, Atlassian and Lyft and have 2300 other customers, which pay for Autopilot on a subscription basis.

Autopilot sends targeted emails and texts to the customer base, telling them about new products or providing discounts. But the idea is to send less email, not more, claims Sharkey. Send less messages with higher signal, he said, suggesting that they have data that helps them reach the right customers at the right time.

Autopilot also helpsfacilitate webinars and events for the loyal clientele. And theyre launching something called Insights, for tracking marketing goals.

Scott Irwin, general partner at Rembrandt Ventures says he invested because in Autopilot because they have taken a big enterprise challenge involving marketing and data, and have been successful in making it accessible to the mass SMB market.

The founders also have a track record. Sharkey is from Australia and built a startup that was later sold to HomeAway. But while he has strong ties to the Australian tech community, he and his brothers moved to San Francisco because they felt like it was a better location for Autopilot.

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