VC Funding of Marketing Automation – Is It the Best Strategy?


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Marketing automation software is still considered a relative newcomer in the enterprise software space. However, there are new entrants popping up regularly, leading to a lot of activity and buzz in the market. With the growth in this space, the topic of venture capital comes up fairly often. Some vendors are taking on new rounds from top tier VCs, while others are pursuing what they perceive to be the more sustainable method of bootstrapping.

I decided to explore both ends of spectrum: from the Marketos that have raised $58 million in VC funding to the Pardots that have gone it alone. Do you really need that much money to build a software company? What kind of growth can you expect with minimal financial backing?

Since 1998, the marketing automation market has received $398 million in funding.

VC Funding

What is it about Marketing Automation?

VC’s are continually turning their attention to the cloud. They are pouring their investments into new companies that are focused on the Web because that’s where the majority of activity is happening these days. Marketing automation is almost entirely a cloud-based market, and the stories these vendors are pitching – excellent approach and measurement of Internet-age marketing efforts – is in line with what VCs are hearing from their portfolio companies.

But let’s see how this money has really affected these vendors. The chart below outlines VC funding in relation to number of customers and total revenue.

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Lauren Carlson
Lauren writes about various topics related to CRM software, with particular interest in sales force automation, marketing automation, and customer service. She has a background in the music industry, and when she isn't writing about software, you can find her running at Town Lake and singing at local venues. She is a graduate of the University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @crmadvice


  1. Great article, good conclusion too. It would seem that some of the Marketing Automation vendors could be a little apprehensive to the “go big or go home” idea because there’s always the chance that their “go big” ends up as their “go home” if that makes sense. But in this competitive niche, you almost can’t afford to not go big. Thanks for posting by the way.


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