I caught up with SundaySky’s co-founder and CEO, Shmulik Weller, and asked him a few questions on this exciting news, what it means for our customers, our team and the personalized video engagement category.
Q: Thanks for such an exciting announcement today, Shmulik! Can you give us a brief history of SundaySky’s fundraising timeline to date, who participated in this round and how it compares to previous financing events?
I am very excited to share this news today – especially as I look back on how far we’ve come! We secured our first institutional round of $8M from Carmel Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners in 2006; Norwest Venture Partners joined our investors and led our series B round securing $9M in 2010; three years later we raised $20M in series C led by Comcast Ventures.
New investor Viola Private Equity led the series D round and all our existing investors participated as well. This additional $30 million brings SundaySky’s total capital invested to date to approximately $67 million. Additionally, NTT DOCOMO Ventures has also joined as a strategic investor. They are the venture capital arm of NTT DOCOMO, Inc., Japan’s leading mobile operator and a SundaySky customer.
This round is unique because this is the first time we have raised finances from a private equity firm. This has been a true milestone, as it highlights our success in establishing and leading the personalized video engagement category. And, we are just at the tip of the iceberg here!
Q: Recently, the VC market has been bearish toward marketing-tech and ad-tech companies, saying that funding is drying up for them. Why do you think SundaySky was able to land funding in our current down market?
In today’s discerning investment environment and unsteady market, our superior technology and customer adoption with the largest global enterprises is unprecedented. As the pioneer of the personalized video category, we have changed how brands interact with consumers, making one-to-one personalized communication possible. And above all: we are delivering true ROI and proven business value to these businesses.
By 2020, we expect all Fortune 500 B2C companies will adopt data-driven, personalized video storytelling to engage with and communicate to their customers. Our enterprise customers – such as AT&T, Comcast, Verizon Wireless and Citi – that implement SmartVideo for one application – such as video billing, advertising or onboarding – are now adopting it for multiple stages of their customer lifecycles, across their business functions.
Q: Why did Viola Private Equity invest in SundaySky? How did NTT DOCOMO Ventures get involved?
Given our proven maturity in a market of upstarts, Viola recognizes the value of our mission of offering one-to-one communication through a storytelling medium that is measurable, scalable and highly targeted. Viola completely believes in our vision of the future, and they trust us to continuing leading the personalized video category. NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s largest mobile operator, started using our SmartVideo technology last year to deliver personalized videos to its customers. NTT DOCOMO Ventures is the brand’s venture capital arm, and they invested in SundaySky on the prospect that we will continue to grow the personalized video category, and that SmartVideo will continue to enhance NTT DOCOMO’s video advertising effectiveness and customer loyalty.
Q: How does SundaySky plan to use the funds? What’s the future of the company look like?
This investment will scale our growth, and we will continue to serve our global brand customers where the market demand for personalized communication is. It will support our rapidly expanding customer base and continued product innovation, as we continue to widen our competitive.
We are focused on continuing to build upon our position as the pioneer and leader of the personalized video engagement market by accelerating our growth, and expanding our globally customer base to help more brands prove the value of one-to-one personalized communication. We are focused on building a strong company to provide value to our customers and employees as a means to deliver maximum return to our shareholders.