Twilio to acquire Seattle business texting startup Zipwhip for $850M

Zipwhip CEO John Lauer
Zipwhip CEO John Lauer
Zipwhip CEO John Lauer exhibits off the company’s Texterator, a textual content-enabled beer bot that designed its debut at the 2016 GeekWire Gala. (Zipwhip Picture)

Twilio, a communications application business with Seattle roots, is acquiring Seattle-centered enterprise-texting startup Zipwhip for about $850 million in a dollars and inventory deal, the providers introduced Monday.

Founded in 2007, Zipwhip originally targeted consumers and set out to be the “Facebook of textual content messaging.” But it pivoted all over 2013, taking a diverse tactic by doing work with wi-fi carriers to allow hundreds of millions of small business landlines to get and send textual content messages. This allowed companies to text with their prospects from landline phones, VoIP products and services, and toll-free numbers.

“Twilio and Zipwhip share a vision for the long term of business messaging and its expanding purpose in buyer engagement,” Zipwhip co-founder and CEO John Lauer stated in a information launch. “Zipwhip’s goal is to make absolutely sure every business we provide can textual content their consumers making use of their current enterprise cellular phone figures and, collectively, we have a unique chance to elevate the shopper encounter, encouraging manufacturers much better talk by using a trusted and rising channel that is been demonstrated to travel prolonged-term consumer fulfillment.”

Twilio basically started off in Seattle 13 decades back, the brainchild of founder Jeff Lawson, who beforehand served as 1 of the initial item managers at Amazon Net Products and services. The corporation later relocated to San Francisco.

Though the acquisition ranks amongst the more considerable in Seattle’s startup scene, it’s absolutely not Twilio’s most significant acquisition. The enterprise has flexed its muscle mass in new a long time with the buys of e mail API system SendGrid for $3 billion in 2019 and consumer data system Phase for $3.2 billion previous year.

Twilio’s quick advancement and growth into the communications area has been richly rewarded on Wall Avenue. The business now features a sector value of $51 billion, and the stock has climbed 62% in the past calendar year.”

The enterprise reported revenue of $590 million for the 1st quarter of 2021, and non-GAAP revenue of $17.3 million, up from $6.1 million. The corporation has additional than 235,000 active client accounts as of March 31, up from 190,000 a year back.

The Zipwhip crew in an undated picture shared by trader Voyager Cash.

Zipwhip elevated $51.5 million in a January 2019 Sequence D spherical led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing group, along with existing investors such as OpenView, M12, and Voyager Funds. The organization was valued at $261.5 million after that financing, according to PitchBook, and full funding in Zipwhip was $92.5 million.

Lauer explained at the time that he believed texting software package could grow to be as greatly-made use of as electronic mail software program — it’s possible even additional so.

Earlier: Right until there is telepathy, Zipwhip CEO John Lauer says texting is the king of communications

“You’ve possibly specified up on your electronic mail inbox. I have 20,000 unread e-mails,” Lauer stated. “But in my texting inbox, I have zero unread texts. That’s mainly because texting is a superior precedence medium e-mail is a small precedence medium. If you seriously want to get ahold of your customer, texting is the medium to do it with.”

In an emailed e-newsletter about the acquisition on Monday, Voyager Money shared some historical past of its dealings with 1 of its portfolio organizations. Voyager was originally released to the Zipwhip option and Lauer in 2009, when the CEO hosted a conference in his household workplace and members sat on bean bag chairs in his basement.

Voyager’s Invoice McAleer and Randall Lucas “both noticed that [Lauer] was on to some thing massive,” the newsletter mentioned. The firm returned and led Zipwhip’s Sequence B spherical with a $3. million investment decision in September 2016 and McAleer joined the startup’s board.

Zipwhip CEO John Lauer, left, and Tom Engstrom, senior supervisor of IT Operations and Services, around 1 of the golfing holes in an workplace hallway. (GeekWire File Picture / Kurt Schlosser)

According to Zipwhip’s Condition of Texting 2021, the organization stated far more companies adopted texting as a way to connect with buyers all through the pandemic.

“Twilio, a long-time companion of ours, has found the immense value we have designed and the probable for even bigger enlargement of our providing,” Lauer mentioned in a blog site submit about the offer. “By buying Zipwhip and joining our groups jointly, we’ll be able to execute our shared plans of altering the way enterprises and buyers connect.”

A College of Michigan graduate, Lauer uncovered entrepreneurial achievement early in his job, starting up in 1997 as a 21-12 months-aged CEO at Rootlevel, a net application development firm that developed GM.com and Ford.com. He moved on to turn out to be CEO of Simplewire, one particular of the cell industry’s initial textual content messaging aggregators, in 2002.

Zipwhip employs about 275 persons and moved into a new headquarters place in the Elliott Bay Business office Park in 2019.

Zipwhip will turn out to be component of Twilio’s Messaging Company Unit, and the boards of directors of each firms have every single authorized the transaction. The deal is envisioned to shut by the conclude of 2021.