When we launched our product in 2016, we set out to remove the friction in B2B sales and marketing and simplify the buying experience for customers.
We made a bet that the lines between B2C and B2B would blur. Software was eating the world. New products and services were popping up faster than ever. Today there is almost infinite competition in any category for any company. As a result, customers have more choices and all of the power in the buying process.
Then came the rise of messaging. iMessage, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Slack became our default communication channels. You could reach anyone, anywhere, 24/7 with a few taps on your phone. You could order cabs, groceries, takeout, and new clothes without leaving the office or getting off the couch.
In our personal lives everything could happen right now, on-demand. But B2B buying was still complex and frustratingly slow. Everything had to happen later. Lead forms to fill out asking thirteen questions. Endless emails to people that downloaded eBooks trying hopelessly to get them to buy. 99% of website visitors never actually end up talking to anyone at the company that they reached out to in the first place.
Our wedge with Drift was conversations. Instead of forms and follow-ups for later, we helped businesses connect with customers now, on their terms. With the power of Drift our customers could talk to more high-intent website visitors, convert more qualified leads, build more pipeline, and generate more revenue without having to grow website traffic or spend more money on advertising.
While we were able to spot these trends, lead the market, and create the category of Conversational Marketing, we could not have predicted the pandemic and its permanent effect on enterprise businesses. 2020 accelerated the digital transformation of most enterprise businesses by a decade or more. In a world where in-person selling disappeared overnight, enterprise businesses needed solutions like Drift now more than ever.
Over the years our mission has evolved as we have continued to grow and learn from our customers. Our focus on Conversational Marketing grew to include Conversational Sales after we learned that customers wanted to bring the power of conversations not just to the website, but to the sales team too.
Now it’s time for us to make our next move at Drift.
I believe 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 ability to learn and iterate through any challenge has long been one of our greatest strengths at Drift, but our world has changed overnight and we were looking for a partner who could provide us with the capital and the operating playbooks needed to begin the next chapter at Drift as we evolve from a startup company to a scaleup company.
This morning Elias and I shared news with the Drift team and now I’m writing here to share with you: we have received a strategic investment from Vista Equity Partners in a deal valuing Drift at over $1B.
Vista has worked with many of the top enterprise software and SaaS businesses to accelerate their success, and now we’ll have the opportunity to partner together. We’ll make bold bets at Drift, scale operations globally, and deliver on our vision of helping our customers drive revenue by creating a better B2B buying experience.
But this is not a letter to let you know that we’ve sold the company. It’s a letter to let you know that we’re leveling up.
One of our leadership principles at Drift is to be a curious learning machine. As we define it: we bring a spirit of learning to everything we do. We seek wisdom so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel whenever possible. We approach learning as both students and teachers, eager to share our discoveries with each other and our customers. We can’t stay comfortable or get stuck in our ways. Learning keeps us in motion.
Partnering with Vista allows us to take our learning to a whole new level. Our vision for the future of Drift is to evolve from the leader in Conversational Marketing to the leader in Conversational Commerce. 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.
To the Drift team, their families, our customers, investors, and advisors: thank you. None of this would be possible without your hard work, support, and willingness to continue to push us. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in part two.