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Okendo Raises $5.3M Series Seed Investment, Led by Index Ventures cover image

Okendo Raises $5.3M Series Seed Investment, Led by Index Ventures

We are thrilled to announce Okendo’s $5.3M Series Seed investment, led by Index Ventures.

The funding follows 18 months of sustained, rapid growth, fuelled by the continued adoption of ecommerce, merchant demand for customer-centric marketing tools and our continued business expansion in the United States.

Okendo’s annual recurring revenue tripled in 2020 and has continued to accelerate throughout 2021. A fact we are particularly proud of is that at the time of this funding Okendo was also effectively profitable, a testament to our incredible team’s resourcefulness and ability to execute.

From our launch on the Shopify app store in late 2018, Okendo is now trusted by 3,500+ of the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer merchants on the Shopify platform, including such mega-brands as SKIMS, Netflix and Crunchyroll.

Reducing dependency on big tech for actionable customer intelligence

The DTC revolution is empowering merchants to reclaim ownership of individual customer relationships from the walled gardens of big-tech platforms like Facebook and Google and commerce marketplaces like Amazon.

Owning the customer relationship means merchants now have incredible opportunities to generate first- and zero-party customer data and then use it to create personalized, differentiated customer experiences that drive business growth.

Unfortunately, the majority of DTC merchants we speak with have not yet been able to mature their customer data generation and management capabilities to realize these opportunities.

Most DTC merchants are suffering from major data sprawl - fragments of customer data are scattered across the various solutions that make up increasingly larger tech stacks.

The sprawl makes it impossible for merchants to build a complete picture of their customers including their identity, demographics, behaviors, preferences and intentions.

Without being able to easily generate, organize and understand their customer data, merchants are then unable to effectively utilize their customer data to fine-tune their marketing programs. They can’t design elegant and intuitive multi-stage customer journeys that span different channels and devices. They can’t craft highly persuasive messaging that is personalized to individual customers.

Data disaggregation also makes it impossible for merchants to assess customer data completeness and subsequently, to develop and implement data collection and enhancement programs to fill data gaps.

Without the ability to effectively organize, understand and utilize their customer data, merchants will forever be stuck with sub-optimal marketing performance.

This is a great shame for it means many merchants are fundamentally failing to capitalize on what should be the defining strength of the DTC business model -- the owned customer relationship.

Simultaneously, a revolution is underway in digital advertising to enhance consumer privacy and increase marketing transparency and that will as a result, dramatically increase the importance of effective customer data management.

Apple’s newly released App Tracking Transparency feature is disrupting advertisers’ ability to track consumer behaviors across apps and websites thus making advertising personalization much harder. Google’s ending of third-party cookie-tracking in Chrome by 2022 will have a similar effect.

Merchants now have an imperative to utilise their own first-party data to power their marketing and advertising programs. Those without effective customer data management and utilisation capabilities will be left behind.

To solve these challenges and enable brands to effectively manage, enhance and leverage their greatest assets - customer data - we are building Okendo.

A new type of marketing platform

Our mission has always been to make it easy for direct-to-consumer brands to leverage their owned customer relationships to drive business growth.

Customer reviews was the perfect starting point -- reviews serve to both drive business growth and function as a rich source of first- and zero-party customer data.

In fact, Okendo powered review programs have collectively generated more than 20 million individual points of structured, zero-party, including identity, demographic, preference, behavioral and psychographic data.

Some of our most advanced merchants, such as DTC pet-product company, Wag, have begun utilizing this customer data to optimize the performance of their marketing activities on other channels such as email and SMS, with great success.

Now, to fully solve the challenges brands face managing and utilising customer data, and to make it possible for every DTC brand to realize the full potential of their owned customer relationships to drive growth, Okendo is evolving into a new type of commerce marketing platform.

Product-centric and customer-obsessed

As the co-founders of Okendo, Matt Garven and I often asked to describe the culture at Okendo. Our answer is always the same - “we are product-centric and customer-obsessed”.

Product-centric means we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard when it comes to building software. It means we believe ‘better product’ is the answer to many questions and challenges - be that how to grow Okendo or better support our customers. It means we want to be known as the company that has the very best product in the market.

Customer-obsessed means we want every single customer experience with Okendo to be positive. It means we want customers to feel confident in Okendo’s ability to deliver their goals and to support them at every step of the journey. It means we want to be known not just as an app provider, but as a trusted partner to their team.

Matt and I believe practising this culture for the last 4 years explains much of Okendo’s traction to date. As we embark on this next stage of our journey, we are recommitting to these principles as the foundational tenets upon which Okendo is being built.

Thank you to all of the amazing merchants and partners who have trusted and supported Okendo to date. Thanks to Index Ventures and Damir Becirovic for backing us on this next stage of our journey and to our day 1 angel investors who believed in us from the beginning. And of course, to the incredible Okendo team for all your hard work - thank you!!

Onwards 🚀

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