Drift became the latest RevTech unicorn following a strategic equity investment by Vista Equity Partners. The firm did not disclose the size of the investment nor its valuation, only that the valuation exceeded $1 billion. Vista will hold a majority stake in Drift when the transaction closes in Q4.
“In partnership with Vista, Drift will continue to invest in its customers’ success while expanding its product leadership, scaling globally and bringing Conversational Commerce to more B2B businesses,” announced the firm.
Vista exclusively invests in enterprise software, data, and technology-enabled businesses.
“Drift is now part of the less than 1% of #latinx founded companies to ever achieve that milestone [$1B+ valuation].
Elias Torres ⚡️ and I believe we have a responsibility to pay it forward, to inspire other people, who are often marginalized and don’t believe they can break the glass ceiling to know that they too can do it. So today we want our #latinx community to know that together we have taken another step forward in our fight for an equitable future.”Drift CEO David Cancel
Drift, which offers “conversational commerce for B2B,” has over 50,000 sales and marketing customer teams on its Conversational Sales platform. Drift integrates chat, email, video, and artificial intelligence to power conversations on the website and with sales reps.
75% of its customers were described as mid-market enterprise clients by Cancel. Customers include ServiceNow, Okta, Grubhub, Mindbody, Adobe, Ellie May, and Snowflake.
“Over the next decade messaging will continue to eat the world and that in order to survive and compete, enterprise businesses will need to flip the traditional model, remove friction, and put customers first. The businesses that win will be the ones that make it simpler for customers to buy from them…
Our bet is that conversations will transform the entire B2B revenue function, and with a partner like Vista, who has helped to transform and grow companies like Marketo and Wrike in recent years, we are excited for what’s next.”Drift CEO David Cancel
Drift continues on its hypergrowth path, growing ARR 70% in 2020 with a similar growth trajectory this year. However, the company is not yet profitable as it is focused on growth.
“Our purpose as a company remains simple and consistent: Build a platform that makes it simpler for customers to buy from you. We have an opportunity to bring learnings from the B2C buyer experience to the enterprise and introduce Conversational Commerce as a new B2B category,” said Drift CEO David Cancel. “Given its extensive experience investing in next-generation SaaS companies, we believe Vista is the best partner to help Drift – and our customers – further these efforts. I am excited to work with Vista’s team of investors, operators, and technologists who will help us fulfill our ambitious vision and lead the Conversational Commerce category for decades to come.”
Cancel has his eye on taking the company public, with Vista providing a “clear path” to an IPO.
“As a next-generation SaaS company with a strong leadership team, differentiated platform, and passionate customer base, Drift is uniquely qualified and well-positioned to define and lead this new market of Conversational Commerce,” said Monti Saroya, co-head of the Flagship Fund and senior managing director at Vista. “It is a privilege to partner with talented founders like David and Elias, and we look forward to supporting them and the entire Drift team to help advance their vision to remove the friction from business buying, and in turn, create tremendous value for customers as Drift’s hypergrowth continues to accelerate.”
Boston-based Drift slowed its employment growth rate with the advent of the pandemic but accelerated its hiring in 2021, with an increase of 151 employees since December. In addition, the sales team has grown 33% over the past six months to 136.
The company appears to have started a consulting organization, growing from 2 to 18 consultants over the past year. In August, the firm hired Ryan Slinkard as their VP of Professional Services.
RevTech is a field with several minority immigrant founders of unicorns. I have recently also covered Manny Medina (Outreach CEO; Ecuador; $4.4 billion Valuation) and Tope Awotona (Calendly; Nigeria; $3B+ Valuation). Awotona was recently named a board member of SalesLoft, another RevTech unicorn.