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#BackedbyBCV: 1:1 Communication That Brands And Consumers Love — Why We Invested In Attentive

Scott Friend
Mar 14, 2018 · 3 min read

Investing for a second time in founders who successfully built and sold a great business the first time around isn’t exactly a tough decision. When those founders are now even more experienced and hungry, and have a market-leading new product with great momentum, it’s even easier.

That’s why we’re so excited to lead the Series A round for Attentive, a personalized mobile messaging platform for retailers and brands, and once again partner with co-founders Brian Long and Andrew Jones.

Brian and Andrew’s last company, TapCommerce, pioneered retargeting on mobile, grew quickly and ultimately sold to Twitter in 2014. Having led TapCommerce’s Series A round back in 2013 and having seen the team operate through hyper growth and a terrific sale, I have close to perfect information on the caliber of this team relative to product chops, go-to-market acumen and, most importantly, team building. Hence the easy decision to get back in business together.

Attentive was founded in 2016 and came out of stealth last month to announce $13 million in Series A funding. Its mobile messaging platform enables consumers to connect directly with brands — from receiving product recommendations and limited-time offers to facilitating payments and real-time customer service.

As Brian says:

“Consumers are tired of one-way, mass communication channels. Messaging is the best way for people to interact with their favorite brands, and everyone knows how to use text messaging.”

After only six months in market, Attentive already has more than 50 leading brand and retail customers who are seeing 30 percent click-through rates and 10x higher revenue per message than email. The results are pretty astounding.

Big market, enthusiastic consumers

SMS and texting have been around for a long time. But their potential to transform mobile marketing has never been greater — especially for retail and e-commerce. The ubiquity of smartphones, unlimited data plans, richer media capabilities and deep linking are converging to enable compelling and effective new marketing and communication capabilities.

Declining email response rates and saturated social channels have marketers desperate for new ways to reach consumers. SMS gives brands a much more effective way to communicate with customers and prospects. It’s one-on-one and personalized leading to great performance and faster sales cycles.

And the best news? Consumers love SMS communication — so much that personalized text messaging opt-in and conversion rates are dramatically higher than email, in some cases converting at 10x the rate of email marketing campaigns.

Brand-name customers, visionary roadmap

Attentive is already working with dozens of leading brands (Boxed and Bliss, to name just a few) that are leveraging the platform to quickly scale opt-ins, send personalized messages and then optimize outreach based on real-time analytics.

Today’s product equips brands and retailers with the necessary tools for success in SMS (which in turn is driving a very healthy pipeline for Attentive), while the company’s robust product roadmap includes major launches of payments, customer service integrations, product recommendations and cross-vertical expansion into areas such as travel, hospitality and financial services.

A better way to engage

Consumers have had it with impersonal, unwelcome mass marketing. Text messaging is how consumers want to communicate with brands — and the opt-in and conversion rates are proving it every day. In fact, several of our early customers drove more Black Friday and Cyber Monday revenue through Attentive than any other marketing channel.

The bottom line is we believe in this team, this product and this market. Attentive is quite simply at the forefront of the next huge opportunity in mobile marketing which is perfectly suited for today’s retail and e-commerce businesses (and beyond). Bain Capital’s broad portfolio of retailers and brands, including Toms Shoes, Canada Goose, Blue Nile, Gymboree and many more are certainly all now enthusiastic prospects and customers!

We are thrilled that Brian and Andrew invited us to be a part of their new journey and are excited to support them along the way.

Ideas from Bain Capital Ventures

Ideas and perspectives from the Bain Capital Ventures team.

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