Segment, a customer data platform provider based in San Francisco, today announced a $64 million, Series C funding round led by the Y Combinator Continuity Fund.
This brings the near 5-year-old company's total funding to $109 million. It comes of growth for the company. About 14 months ago, Segment reported 80 employees and is now up to 160 with offices in San Francisco, New York and Vancouver.
Existing investors Accel, Thrive Capital and NEA also participated in today's round, as well as Ron Conway’s SV Angel Fund. Y Combinator Partner and former Twitter COO Ali Rowghani will join Segment’s Board of Directors.
"Segment is battle-tested, providing customer data infrastructure to some of the world’s biggest brands," Ali Rowghani, CEO of Y Combinator Continuity, said in a statement. "They are on a path to be among the most successful Y Combinator companies."
Segment's tool collects, unifies and sends customer data to more than 200 analytics and marketing tools automatically. It can combine website and mobile data with data from cloud services like Stripe, Salesforce, MailChimp and Zendesk.
Segment CEO Peter Reinhardt told CMSWire in an email interview the company has "ambitious growth plans on the hiring and product fronts."
The company will develop new products that make the data flowing through the platform more valuable by "consolidating it in a meaningful way," the CEO said. He added Segment's largest growth and demand has come from the enterprise sector and cited Intuit, Atlassian and Gap as customers.
"Currently, the data that companies collect is multiplying at a rapid pace, making it difficult to understand and put to use," Reinhardt said. "We plan to unify those disparate data points to provide a clear sense of each customer and share hints about their needs. This synthesis on top of the streaming data will make building personalized products and marketing accessible to every digital business."
Data Collection, a 'Daunting' Task
What problems is the company seeing among clients collecting and analyzing customer data?
Making sense of customer data and getting it organized, he said, whether to improve product design or send personalized messages based on past customer interactions.
Data collection itself "can be daunting," Reinhardt added. Developers must familiarize themselves with event tracking conventions, new code libraries and APIs for every single tool or vendor their company wants to integrate into its business systems, he added.
"That integrations challenge alone can tie up development resources for months or even years," Reinhardt said.
But companies also have to determine, Reinhardt added, which data to track and how to proliferate it across different tools. All tools need to be "on the same page in terms of customer behaviors tracked and how to respond to these behaviors in real time."
"Segment’s platform solves for all these integration and infrastructure challenges, enabling businesses to refocus their energy — and development resources — on creating delightful customer experiences as opposed to spending it all on figuring out how to keep track of them," Reinhardt said.
Segment's Busy Year
Segment made significant updates to the platform leading up to today's funding.
In April of last year, Segment released a tool designed to help organizations measure customer experience beyond websites and mobile apps. Called Sources, the tool allows users to load data from a variety of systems including CRM, email and payments.
Specifically, it integrates Segment's platform with Salesforce, Zendesk, Stripe, SendGrid, MailChimp, Mandrill, Intercom, HubSpot and Twilio straight into Amazon Redshift or PostgreSQL without writing a line of code.
In September, Segment updated Sources to help customers avoid the manual spreadsheet haze of slicing and dicing data from Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Segment Sources for Facebook Ads and Google AdWords pulls data directly from the Facebook Insights and AdWords reports APIs into a single view without what Segment officials call ".csv shenanigans, futzing around with a bunch of APIs, or iterating on hacky scripts."
Segment also released a feature, Cross Domain Analytics, which launched last month. Reinhardt said it's an alternative to existing systems like LiveRamp and BlueKai which use third-party cookies to tie users across domains.
"These are not only lossy by nature, but fundamentally violate users’ privacy by following them as they browse the entire internet," Reinhardt said. "We've built a system which both preserves privacy, but helps brands track users across domains they own."
Segment’s open source software, analytics.js, is used by more than 300,000 websites to power customer data and event tracking. Segment claims more than 15,000 customers.