If you've seen "The Mandalorian" on Disney Plus, you're probably familiar with the gunslinging protagonist's mantra: This is the way.
In a swirling galaxy of CMS and DXP platforms, Contentstack is proving that headless is the way – and gambling big to expand its empire.
Today, the content experience company announced that it has raised $57.5 million in Series B financing, making it the latest enterprise platform to tap major investment dollars. Their ambition is clear: fuel international growth, expand an ecosystem of channel and technology partners and accelerate new technology innovation incubating in its labs.
The oversubscribed round was led by Insight Partners, who also piloted the company’s Series A round. Existing investors Illuminate Ventures and Gingerbread Capital also participated, as did new investor Georgian. Together, the investment pool brings Contentstack’s total amount raised to $89 million – a healthy sum for financing their competitive goals in an increasingly dense marketplace.
“Contentstack has risen from being the pioneer of headless CMS to establishing itself as an industry leader in its category and we are excited to support its next phase of growth,” said Teddie Wardi, Managing Director at Insight Partners and Contentstack board member. “Given our scale, we have a unique vantage point on global trends; Contentstack is tapping into the tailwinds of one of the biggest market shifts we’ve ever seen. Contentstack is indispensable for companies that want to accelerate their digital journey and maximize the business rewards promised by digital transformation.”
The impact of Covid-19 on digital transformation
According to a recent study from Twilio, COVID-19 was the "digital accelerant" of the decade for many companies, pushing up their digital communications investments by an average of 6 years. Given that, it is no surprise that Aragon Research forecasts the CXP market will grow to $28.8 billion by 2025 (up from $11 billion in 2019). Additionally, 50% of large enterprises are expected to shift to a CXP by the end of 2022 alone.
It's impossible to ignore the impact of Covid-19 on the digital landscape and igniting unprecedented growth. To that end, Contentstack is positioning itself to capitalize on this opportunity by offering modern, MACH-based solutions that outperform traditional product suites and legacy technologies.
Expanding growth with headless CMS
Since closing its Series A round, Contentstack's headless CMS has experienced over 150% growth across its customer base – and more than doubled the number of Fortune 1,000 companies that have adopted its platform.
"The company’s outstanding results were fueled by unprecedented market demand for powerful digital experiences due to the pandemic, as businesses were compelled to deliver content-rich digital interactions across the spectrum," said Neha Sampat, founder and CEO of Contentstack. "In the last year, we have helped leading companies in industries such as retail, financial services, gaming, and travel to create personalized experiences for their customers in order to drive revenue, improve customer satisfaction and build customer loyalty."
New customers include a number of well-known international brands, including Broadcom, Chico’s FAS, HP, La Perla, Leesa Sleep, McDonald’s, and NBC. Because of this growth, the amount of digital content powered by Contentstack grew a staggering 60X over the same time period. Individual customers now serve petabytes of content to their audiences every month – marking significant growth around delivery.
"This round of financing demonstrates that our strategy is paying off, including our core beliefs around equality, customer care, and product innovation," said Sampat. "During a remarkably challenging year, our team delivered impressive results and we are excited to continue this growth trajectory by delivering the best agile CMS platform for a digital-first world.”
One example of Contentstack's recent success is Harbor Capital Advisors, which was experiencing pressure from their marketing team to revamp their website and CMS, estimating it would take a year or more to make updates to their legacy system. They chose Contentstack because it offered a simple, straightforward user interface that didn’t require reading the documentation to use. After implementation, Harbor experienced a 75% reduction in developer time, expanded their content production, and increased site change frequency to weekly and even daily intervals.
Enhancing UI and investing in AI/ML
In February, Contentstack launched an elegant new user interface, raising the bar for UI experiences among CMS products and enhancing the visual sophistication of their product. Additionally, with the backing of Georgian – a significant investor in Kony (Temenos), Shopify, and Tealium – Contentstack plans to add AI and machine learning capabilities across all aspects of its operations, from delivery to customer success operations.
“We are big believers in Contentstack and the leadership team, especially after our conversations with global brands revealed how important Contentstack is to these organizations and how beloved the product is by both business and technical users,” said Emily Walsh, Lead Investor at Georgian. “Now with access to our technology platform, Contentstack can not only gain operational efficiencies but also supercharge the innovation, experience and support it offers to customers and partners. We are excited to help Contentstack customers leverage AI to gain business advantages through new insights and automation.”
Q&A with Neha Sampat, CEO of Contentstack
In our exclusive Q&A with Neha Sampat, we asked key questions about the current state of Content Management Systems, Contentstack's investment in AI, and the roadmap for the future.
CC (CMS Critic): What is your opinion on headless versus traditional or hybrid platforms?
NS (Neha Sampat): Traditional CMS represents the past, a world in which the primary (and only) digital channel was the web – and the tighter things were coupled, the faster you could get results. Today, with the rise of many more digital channels, that tight coupling has become a hindrance. Headless represents a new architecture that allows companies to be more agile and to deliver seamless, and rich content experiences. It allows business needs to influence technology decisions, rather than technology dictating business processes. Hybrid in our opinion is a half-step in the right direction. Just like hybrid-cloud has its place, hybrid CMS will find its takers. But the biggest benefits are to be had for digitally ready organizations that can fully embrace the new architecture, which the market is calling MACH – microservices, APIs, cloud-native SaaS and headless.
CC: In your press release, you say that with the backing of Georgian, you'll be investing more in AI across your platform. Can you give us more details?
NS: Georgian (our new investor) actually has an incredible track record of leveraging AI in lots of different ways across its portfolio companies, ranging from streamlining go to market operations, to making financial forecasts more predictable, to accelerating customer onboarding, to delivering personalized customer experiences at scale via conversational channels. Within the Contentstack platform itself, there are countless opportunities for self-optimizing algorithms, automation and AI-driven insights to add value and differentiation. We will be exploring all of these aspects and more as part of our new partnership with Georgian.
CC: There's been a big shift in the overall marketplace with recent acquisitions to build more integrated offerings, particularly around data services. The most recent examples are Optimizely acquiring the customer data platform Zaius and Sitecore acquiring Boxever, a SaaS-based customer data platform providing decisioning and experimentation. How do you see the competitive field changing with large players doubling-down on CDP purchases and enhancing optimization/personalization capabilities?
NS: We’ve seen a lot of larger companies try to infuse new technologies into their legacy offerings. Acquiring appropriate technology companies is only a small part of that journey. Integrating offerings from different eras, offering a smooth migration for existing customers, making sure new customers aren’t confused by a cobbled-together product portfolio – all that takes time and doesn’t come without risk. Outside of acquisition sprees, we’ve also seen vendors from different categories partner together in new ways – for example, via industry alliances like the MACH Alliance – streamlining their products and even their go-to-market operations. The value to customers is that instead of being limited to the capabilities of any particular vendor, they can benefit from an easily composable technology stack that brings together best-in-class components from all domains. It’s the best of both worlds – with choice and seamless integration no longer being on opposite sides of the table.
CC: Are there any exclusive new features that you might have in the pipeline that are worth teasing the market with? Any market applications, industries, or partner channels where you're creating opportunities?
NS: Lots and lots in the pipeline – watch this space 🙂
What's next for Contentstack
There's no question that Contentstack is on a roll, and under Sampat's keen leadership, poised for more growth. As headless continues to shift the roles and responsibilities for a CMS within a ContentOps strategy, it will be interesting to see how players like Contentstack innovate around the key challenge for every headless platform: the ability to preview experiences.
As Preston So observed in his article about digital orchestration, vendors are grappling with a "channel explosion" that continues to evolve. If Contentstack can continue to innovate around these challenges, they might be telling the rest of the headless market: This is the way.
- "Strong Performer" in The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021
- G2 Grid® for the top Headless CMS Software
- Inc. Magazine's "Best Places to Work," May/June 2021
- Customer Magazine's 2021 Product of the Year Award
- Woman's Way Business Awards for 2021 Business to Watch
- Comparably "Best Places to Work" Awards
About Insight Partners
Insight Partners is a leading global venture capital and private equity firm investing in high-growth technology and software ScaleUp companies that are driving transformative change in their industries. Founded in 1995, Insight Partners has invested in more than 400 companies worldwide and has raised through a series of funds more than $30 billion in capital commitments. Insight’s mission is to find, fund, and work successfully with visionary executives, providing them with practical, hands-on software expertise to foster long-term success. Across its people and its portfolio, Insight encourages a culture around a belief that ScaleUp companies and growth create opportunity for all. For more information on Insight and all its investments, visit www.insightpartners.com or follow us on Twitter @insightpartners.
Georgian is a fintech company investing in high-growth software companies that harness the power of data in a trustworthy way. At Georgian, we're building a platform to provide a better experience of growth capital to software company CEOs and their teams. Georgian's platform is designed to identify and accelerate the best growth-stage software companies, taking an intelligent, data-first approach to solving the key challenges CEOs face as they grow their businesses. Based in Toronto, Georgian's team brings together software entrepreneurs, machine learning experts, experienced operators, and investment professionals. For more information, visit https://georgian.io/.
Contentstack – the pioneering Agile Content Management System (CMS) – empowers marketers and developers to collaborate around content like never before. Together, they can orchestrate superior customer journeys and deliver dynamic digital experiences across channels, audiences, brands, and regions. Companies such as Chase, Express, Holiday Inn, Icelandair, Mattel, McDonald’s, Mitsubishi, Riot Games, Sephora, and Shell trust Contentstack to power their most critical content experiences. Famous for its Care Without Compromise™, Contentstack has the industry’s highest customer satisfaction. As a founder of the MACH Alliance, Contentstack advocates for open and composable technology that is Microservices-based, API-first, Cloud-native SaaS, and Headless. Learn more at http://www.contentstack.com.