News Analysis: Clarabridge Raises $80M in Funding For Expansion
General Catalyst, Summit, and Yuchun Lee To Take Clarabridge To Next Phase Of Growth
Rapidly growing Reston, VA based Clarabridge, announced on September 10, 2013 a $80 million round of capital. Founded in 2006, Clarabridge is a leading provider of customer experience solutions. The funding announcement is significant as Clarabridge:
- Invests into global expansion and product innovation. General Catalyst Partners, Summit Partners, and Yuchun Lee invests in the latest round . Clarabridge intends to apply the investment towards global expansion, accelerate product innovation, and execute strategic transactions. Key customers include B/E Aerospace, Best Buy, Charming Shoppes, Inc., Choice Hotels, Dell, Expedia, E.ON, Fidelity, Gaylord Hotels, Government of British Columbia, Intuit, J.D. Power, L’Oréal USA, Marriott International, PetSmart, QVC Inc., Sage North America, United Airlines, Walmart, Walgreens, and Wendy’s International.
Point of View (POV): With over 150% of revenue growth over the past 3 years, Clarabridge plans to expand beyond it's latest entry into San Francisco and London. The CEM vendor has the opportunity to build out new geographical markets while expanding industry reach in auto, cpg, finance, healthcare, hospitality, insurance, manufacturing, pharma, restaurants, retail, technology, telecommunications and travel. Moreover, as the CEM space continues to evolve, Clarabridge now has a war chest to acquire new technologies or engineering talent as the market continues to expand and large legacy vendors acquire to consolidate.
- Brings on experienced investors and board level expertise. Previous board members included David Blundin of Link Ventures, Don Raine of Grotech ventures, John Glushik of Intersouth Partners, Jonathan Perl of Boulder Ventures, and Sanju Bansal COO of MicroStrategy. Larry Bohn of General Catalyst Partners and Tom Jennings of Summit Partners will join as part of the board. Meanwhile, Yuchun Lee will serve as Chairman of the Board.
Point of View (POV): While the previous board and investors provided the initial catalyst to Clarabridge's success, in order to take it to the next level, the company needed new energy and direction. David Blundin and Sanju remain on the board from the previous set of investors. With Yuchun as chairman, expect innovative approaches to partnerships, OEM relationships, and positioning of Clarabridge in a broader customer experience context.
The Bottom Line: Clarabridge Poised For Growth
At the 2013 C3 Customer event, Constellation spent time speaking with over 50 of the 400 clients in attendance. The range of customers covered key brands across a variety of industries. Customers chose Clarabridge for a few reasons:
- Intuitive user experience
- Ability to handle multiple sources of engagement
- Global language support
- Self learning systems
Customer centricity is now a strategic imperative and requires first rate orchestration, company wide commitment, and leadership. This new round of funding and more importantly board level expertise will help take Clarabridge build, acquire, and partner with the capabilities that customers will need to succeed.
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Formerly, Don was an entrepreneur with a track record of a number of successful businesses. He was President of Attitude Network, one of the first entertainment networks online, which was sold to TheGlobe.com. He also served as a founding member of the Board of Directors for Accipiter through its acquisition by CMGI and was COO of DaVinci Systems, which was sold to ON Technology, enabling a combined entity IPO four months later. Don has also held senior executive positions with Novell and the IBM Corporation. Currently, Don is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Maryland, where he teaches graduate courses on new venture creation and finance. Don is also among a select group of venture capitalists chosen to serve as a consultant to the Chief Information Officer of the US Department of Defense, through the DeVenCI program, advising on emerging technologies.
Don is a member of the boards of ARPU, Zenoss, Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA), March of Dimes – Capital Area, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Foundation and Mindshare, an organization that helps CEOs from the most promising start-ups in the Greater Washington Metropolitan region build long-term sustainable companies. Previously, Don has served on the boards of Covega, Defywire, Maxcyte, Artifact Software, Flatburger, Enterprise Investment Advisory Committee for the State of Maryland and Investment Advisory Board of the State of Virginia’s Growth Acceleration Program.
Don is a James Madison University Graduate, BBA and holds a MS in Bioscience Management from George Mason University.
Mr. Perl holds an MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a BA (magna cum laude) in classical history from Tufts University.