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August 30, 2015

With $1.5M Injection, Klaviyo Set to Accelerate Growth of eCommerce-Focused Email Platform

Andrew Bialecki and Ed Hallen founded an email platform company called Klaviyo back in 2012 and for 3 plus years the duo bootstrapped it. Flying under the radar the startup was making money and growing steadily with their intelligent platform for ecommerce email campaigns. 

Recently, Bialecki and Hallen fully realized the opportunity in front of them and set out to raise their first outside investment in order to grow and innovate faster. This week, Klaviyo, who is currently headquartered in the Back Bay, announced $1.5 in funding from Accomplice and notable Boston angel investors, including David Cancel, Elias Torres and TJ Mahony.  

Bialecki previously worked as the first outside engineer under Cancel and Torres at Performable, who was eventually acquired by HubSpot. 

                            Klaviyo Bialecki Hallen

Bialecki, a Boston native, and Hallen, from rural Tennessee, met back in 2007 while both working for Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), where they built big data-driven marketing solutions for Fortune 500 companies. Bialecki would leave for the role at Performable and, while Hallen remained with APT until 2010 he eventually returned to Boston for grad school at MIT. 

“While I was a MIT, we reconnected, looked at the problem we always knew existed around emails and decided to go after it,” Hallen told me. “We had worked with companies who had mounds of data on their customers, but weren’t using it. Finally technology caught up and there was a way to put that data to use efficiently.” 

Working out of a shared office space in 2012 the two-man team focused on ecommerce and saw immediate traction. They built integrations into platforms such as Shopify and Magento and had customers up and running with their proprietary email platform in a matter of minutes. 

Through its simple and intuitive API, Klaviyo integrates with an ecommerce company’s data sources to better understand their customer’s relationship with the brand (i.e. what they have or haven’t bought, website activity, engagement with previous communications, events attended, products returned and more).  As a result, the Klaviyo platform understands the customer’s behavior and can target and/or trigger personalized communications at the optimal time, leading to increased open and click through rates, and more importantly, sales. 

Bialecki and Hallen grew their team to 17 full-time employees while working with small businesses like Blank Label and Ministry of Supply as well as larger online shopping sites like, Huckberry. 

“We finally realized we had a much bigger opportunity. We're excited to work with Accomplice to capitalize on how big the opportunity is to fix the broader email problem,” Hallen told me inside the Klaviyo offices on Boylston Street. 

When asked what separates them from the MailChimp’s of the world, Hallen pointed to Klaviyo’s ability to take what customers tell a company about themselves and really plug that information in and use it to drive communication. 

Klaviyo is also built on simplicity. Not only can it be up and running in minutes, but creating, sending and tracking campaign is done with ease as their dashboard was built with the average user in mind. 

“In short,” Hallen said to me, “We think the world of emails is totally broken. We’re helping companies make more sales, while making customers happier, by sending less emails.” 

Klaviyo was an under-the-radar, successful startup for more than two years. Not just “crushing it,” they were actually making money with a profitable customer base and a name within ecommerce. Now they’ve been injected with $1.5 million to accelerate the business by adding to their team and attacking new markets. Accomplice’s Jon Karlen, who led the round, sees a promising future ahead for Bialecki, Hallen and the Klaviyo team: 

“Klaviyo makes it really easy for marketers to personalize customer communications and offer the right offer at the right time. And it works; companies using the platform see a huge return on investment, averaging $75 for every dollar spent. Klaviyo is truly a game changer in email marketing.”

Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter @jb_sid
 and keep up with his latest posts by signing up for the VentureFizz Weekly Email!
 

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