Today we’re proud to announce AdRoll has raised a $70M round of capital led by existing investor Foundation Capital, joined by stellar new investors IVP, Northgate, Glenmede, and Performance Equity along with existing investors Merus Capital, Accel Partners and our original angel, Peter Thiel. This is a hands-down, all-star ensemble.

Before we share our plans for how we’re going to put the money to work, let’s look back.

Since the modest beginnings of AdRoll in 2007, we’ve lived by a small number of core values. One that I have been thinking a lot about lately is “Do More With Less,” represented by the industrious, dam-building beaver on our values mural:

Do more with less

Times were tight those first couple years as we went headlong into the bad economy of 2008 without true product/market fit. “Do More With Less” was our lifeline:

Do more with less.

The downturn had a silver lining: to survive you had to get very close to the needs of whatever customers you had. This was pronounced in the advertising world, since marketing budgets were the first things to be cut. We realized that real-time bidding (RTB), which was just emerging, was a fantastic vehicle to help us deliver clear, measurable ROI to customers. As it turned out, we were arguably the first to bring this sophisticated advertising technology to small and mid-sized advertisers.

We particularly saw that retargeting was a killer fit for any brand that sold a product or service. Like search engine marketing, retargeting made so much sense from a measurability and ROI perspective that it was destined for ubiquity. However, for any startup to bring the technology to the mainstream, and scale to tens of thousands of brands, was an entirely different challenge. No display advertising company had yet cracked the code on the mid-sized and small business, and many had failed trying.

This is where “Do More With Less” really served us. With great ingenuity, AdRoll invested in differentiated tech and service. We invented intelligent algorithms and built infrastructure to make retargeting campaigns profitable for clients with any size budget, in any vertical. Our philosophy was ease-of-use and time-to-value, following a firm belief that “any product that needs a manual to work is broken” (thanks, Elon). We soon had customers signing in from over 100 countries.

We recruited Suresh Khanna, who, at the time, led all North American new advertiser sales at Google. He led us to make much larger investments in automation than your typical ad tech company so that AdRoll’s account managers could spend their time providing smart value to customers, rather than the old standard of manual campaign management. As our platform has matured, we’ve been able to serve 15,000+ customers spending as little as $100 per month and as much as $250k per month or more. We’ve also launched a NYC office to meet the high demand from enterprise customers and agencies.

“Do More With Less,” has also meant helping our customers become much better marketers. We don’t sell retargeting by way of an opaque black box. You control your creative, you know where your ads show up, and best of all, you aren’t arbitraged based on false metrics. Modern marketers want transparency. They want to experiment and learn where the levers are, so they can run smarter campaigns and get closer to the holy grail of showing the “right ad to the right person at the right time.” This is a real passion for us: we recently published The Retargeting Playbook to help marketers along in this quest.

Quickly, we grew. From our first $10k day, we began a tradition of marking our incremental $5k revenue milestones:

First $10K dayFirst $10k day, September 2010, fast forward to…

First $75K day$75k day, April 2012, and on to…

First $120K day$120k day, October 2012… and well beyond.

We wrapped up 2012 by being named the fastest growing company in California and the fastest growing advertising and marketing company in the US by Inc. And we’ve kept up the explosive growth since. Prior to this raise, on just $19M funds we’ve raced to over 15,000 happy customers and have surpassed a $150M annualized run rate. We’ve been remarkably cash efficient. Imagine what we are going to do with $70M new funds.

A round of this size is obviously a big step. Will we stick by “Do More With Less”? Is the beaver angry at us now for raising so much money?

Angry beaver

Honestly, there’s one aspect of our “Do More With Less” we can safely leave behind in the next stage: it’s dumb to be scrappy for the sake of being scrappy. Meanwhile, other aspects of our mantra will become even more important. Specifically, with our ambitious product vision and our larger scale, it’s doubly critical that we be industrious, inventive, efficient, and nimble. Luckily, this is how we are wired.

So, what are we going to do with all this cash?  Without giving away the details, here’s our rough plan for the proceeds:

  1. Continue to invest in our core retargeting products to stay far ahead in delivering the highest performing, easiest to use platform in all of retargeting.

  2. Expand on our mission to help every marketer collect, analyze, and act on their customer data. We believe customer data can be the best driver of sales. We also believe retargeting is the ideal entry into more broadly becoming the one place marketers go to better understand their customers and reach them wherever they may be. (See our Userfox and BitDeli acquisitions of last year.) And, of course, mobile has been taking a front seat in this initiative. Last month we announced our cross-device retargeting solution, which is being adopted by marketers even faster than we expected.

  3. See the world. We already have customers in over 100 different countries. Now we’re building teams around the globe. In the last six months, AdRoll has launched offices in Europe and Australia, and with this funding we will continue international expansion to serve more customers in their local time zones.

  4. Double down on providing strategic insight and best in class support for sophisticated brands and agencies, our fastest growing segment. We’ve followed a platform approach, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Salesforce, by first building for small and mid-sized customers, and then rapidly moving upmarket with additional feature sets and support options. This best positions AdRoll to provide bigger brands the same things smaller brands demand: unprecedented performance and usability of tech and service.

  5. Keep on hiring the best and brightest talent.

This is our recipe to transform our market and be the big winner.

I can’t conclude this post without thanking three groups. First, the AdRoll customer base for coming along for the ride and providing loyal support and awesome feedback to help us quickly improve our service. Second, the phenomenal, enduring AdRoll team, now at 365 strong—we should produce a Roller desk calendar—which defies the laws of company culture and has seemed to somehow grow more fun and united over time. Last but not least, the great investors who joined this round: Charles Moldow of Foundation, who has been a trusted, helpful, smart, and analytical believer in our mission; and Eric Liaw of IVP, who is joining our board as an observer, and who ascertained our unique model in record time and dove right into the hard questions.

Thank you all again and I’m excited to partner with you in the next chapter.

And now, to hit the gas…

 Team-AdRoll