With travel restricted and many executives continuing to work from home part-time or full time, face-to-face meetings and tradeshows will remain difficult for the foreseeable future. One of the successful workarounds has been offline marketing and e-gifting. Firms such as Sendoso, Alyce, PFL, and Postal have had significant success in rising above the din of digital marketing. I will be posting a set of articles on these firms over the coming days, beginning with Sendoso’s recent funding round.
San Francisco-based e-gifting platform Sendoso closed on a $100 million Series C round and announced plans to open a European headquarters in Dublin. The Irish office will include a dedicated logistics and supply center to support the firm’s 20,000 global customers. The new facility supports its multinational customers and expands its opportunities within the EU. Beyond logistics and warehousing, the Dublin office will host an engineering team, marketers, customer success, and an inside sales team focused on European sales.
The funding round was led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and raised Sendoso’s total funding to $152.7 million. Existing investors Oak HC/FT, Struck Capital, Stage 2 Capital, Craft Ventures, Signia Venture Partners, and Felicis Ventures also participated.
“We believe Sendoso offers the most comprehensive end-to-end gifting platform in the market,” said Priya Saiprasad, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers. “Their platform includes a global marketplace of curated vendors, seamless integration with existing tools, global logistics, and deep analytics. As a result, Sendoso serves as the backbone to enterprises’ engagement programs with prospective customers, existing customers, employees, and other key stakeholders.”
CEO Kris Rudeegraap termed the round a “major milestone” for the firm. The funds will be deployed to expand its products, services, and global footprint, including the Dublin facilities.
Sendoso sends corporate swag, regular physical gifts, and gift cards on behalf of its sales and marketing clients. In addition, the platform supports gift ordering, logistics, packing, custom packaging, and shipping. Sendoso is integrated with CRMs, MAPs, and SEPs, including Salesforce, MS Dynamics, HubSpot, Marketo, Outreach, Salesloft, and Groove. The firm has also partnered with ABM Platforms Terminus, Demandbase, and RollWorks.
According to Sendoso, customers enjoy a 55% net increase in new opportunities by “creating authentic connections that show prospects you care.” The firm suggests that marketers “send a coffee eGift before an event to encourage prospects to stop by your booth.” Reps can then “show them you’re listening by sending personalized gifts based on their interests and hobbies. If they’re a sports fan, send them a blanket with their favorite team or give them tickets to a game.”
In the absence of face-to-face meetings, e-gifting has helped build relationships and break through the digital noise. According to HubSpot platform data, virtual selling became significantly more difficult due to a flood of messages during the pandemic. For example, sales emails spiked 59% in Q2 2020 compared to pre-Covid levels, causing a thirty percent drop in buyer response rates compared to before the pandemic.
“Everyone was stuck at home by themselves, saturated with emails,” said Rudeegraap. “Having a personal connection to sales prospects, employees, and others just meant more.” Sendoso claims that it has the “marketplace selection and logistics precision of Amazon.com,” but with greater personalization. For example, Sendoso supports handwritten notes, special boxing, and an Amazon partnership that routes Amazon orders to Sendoso for repackaging.
“There are a lot of things we do uniquely in terms of what we have built throughout our software, gifting options, and logistics centre. We really personalize our gifts at scale with handwritten notes, special boxing, and more,” something that Amazon cannot do. We have built a lot of unique technology and logistics software that would make it hard for Amazon to compete.” He said that one of Sendoso’s integrations is actually with Amazon, so Sendoso users can order through there, but then the gift is first routed to Sendoso to be repackaged in a nicer way before being sent out.”Sendoso CEO Kris Rudeegraap
Rudeegraap is a former sales executive who found gift-sending valuable but cumbersome. This experience led him to found Sendoso in 2016 with Chief Alliances Officer Braydan Young. The firm has fulfilled three million gifts over the past half-decade.
“I was manually packing boxes, grabbing swag, coming up with handwritten notes,” he recalled. “It was inefficient, but it worked so well. So I dreamed up an idea: why not be able to click a button in Salesforce to do this automatically? Sometimes the best company is one that solves a pain point of your own.”
Sendoso has 500 global employees with plans to grow its headcount by thirty percent by the end of the year. Sendoso did not disclose its valuation, but TechCrunch estimated it at $640 million.
Continue to part I of my coverage of Postal.io which closed on a $22 million Series B last week.