Automated Marketing Software Nets Austin’s OutboundEngine $11M

OutboundEngine, which makes marketing and business development software, has raised $11 million in a Series B round.

The Austin, TX-based startup’s software automates marketing duties for independent small businesses such as real estate agents, mortgage brokers, plumbers, and electricians. The startup creates content for the business while managing e-mail and social media channels on both the Web and on mobile devices. Customers have options to request quotes, refer friends, and schedule services on a customized site.

“We create a hub for them; it’s not just paying for leads,” OutboundEngine founder and CEO Branndon Stewart says. “The way we do that is we create content and distribute that content on their behalf through their network.”

Stewart adds that the key distinction from other marketing software, such as Constant Contact, is that OutboundEngine is what he describes as a “do-it-for-you” service rather than do-it-yourself. “Our customers don’t have to worry about how to use the platform,” he says. “The biggest difference is that we execute the service on your behalf.”

Silverton Partners led the round. Morgan Flager, a general partner with Silverton, says OutboundEngine is democratizing marketing through its software. “The market is saturated with great DIY marketing solutions, but those don’t help (small and medium-sized businesses) get more done because they require time and expertise to manage,” he said in a statement.

Other investors in the round were Noro-Moseley Partners, Harmony Partners, Altos Ventures, and Capital Factory. To date, the startup has raised a total of $17.5 million.

Stewart says the funding will be used to beef up sales and engineering staff to expand the startup’s geographical footprint—from just Austin today to four cities total—as well as creating new category specializations.

Currently, OutboundEngine sells its software to about 4,500 clients for between $149 and $299 a month. Custom content can increase the price of that subscription from $500 to $1,500 a month but Stewart says that the startup’s customers spend an average of $200 a month.

The startup began in 2010 as Promo Labs, which had focused on marketing software geared to the promotional products industry. Stewart, who had led marketing efforts in the industry, developed the software when he realized that his sales team’s contact with customers amounted to birthday or holiday cards

“They were on an island, but this is a relationship business,” Stewart says. “I was able to increase revenue on a per-customer basis by automating marketing for the individuals without stepping into the relationship they had established with customers.”

Promo Labs became OutboundEngine once the company branched out to other sectors. “We let them do their jobs, which is selling,” he says.

 

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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