March 30, 2016 / 6:20 PM / 3 years ago

Bulk email sender SendGrid targets $100 million revenue by 2017

(Reuters) - SendGrid, a company that delivers Uber cab invoices and Airbnb bills over email, is targeting revenue of $100 million by 2017 and expects to become profitable in the second half of this year.

SendGrid generated more than $60 million in revenue last year, according to a source close to the company.

At a time when Facebook Inc (FB.O) and other social media seem like the most attractive way to reach customers, emails remain the easiest and most cost-effective way to run marketing campaigns or send bulk messages, SendGrid Chief Executive Sameer Dholakia told Reuters.

SendGrid, which also sends out newsletters and notifications, competes with Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) AWS Simple Email Service offering as well as MailChimp and ExactTarget.

Boulder, Colorado-based SendGrid, which counts Pandora Media Inc (P.N) and Spotify among its customers, sends 23 billion emails every month on an average. That is about double the tweets sent out on Twitter Inc (TWTR.N), Dholakia said.

SendGrid charges its customers on a pay-as-you-go basis - a free plan offers 12,000 emails a month and paid plans can cost as little as $10 a month to as high as $1 million a year depending on the number of emails sent.

The company, which has raised $48 million in funding so far from investors including Bain Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners, is readying to be “IPO-worthy” by next year, Dholakia said.

SendGrid will seek more funding only if it decides to look for acquisitions, Dholakia said.

The idea of SendGrid was born in 2009 when co-founder Isaac Saldana noticed that his Web developer friends needed bulk email services for their tech projects but couldn’t find any service in the market that suited their needs.

Saldana created a email delivery platform, put it on the cloud and rented it to his friends. This platform later formed the basis of SendGrid, which received its seed funding in late 2009.

Dholakia, who joined SendGrid from Citrix Systems Inc (CTXS.O) in 2014, believes the email format is here to stay, no matter what the competition.

“I find it hard to imagine that email will not be here for a long, long time to come.”

Reporting by Anya George Tharakan in Bengaluru; Editing by Sayantani Ghosh

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