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Indianapolis’ Sigstr raises $5 million to turn email signatures into ads

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Since Salesforce acquired Indianapolis startup ExactTarget in 2013 for $2.5 billion, the city has become a quickly growing hub for marketing tech businesses. Now there’s another Indianapolis business looking to make a name for itself in the sector: Sigstr, founded in 2015 by former ExactTarget employee Dan Hanrahan.

Sigstr announced on Tuesday that it had raised a $5 million Series A round, led by Chicago-based Hyde Park Angels. Inbound marketing company HubSpot also participated in the round. The investment is HubSpot’s third since it was founded in 2005. Sigstr had previously raised $1.5 million in seed funding.

Sigstr describes itself as a cloud platform for employee email personalization, integrating with both Microsoft Outlook and Gmail. It essentially allows companies to turn employees’ email signatures into a custom ad, which can target specific customer accounts by region or industry, or can be customized by department. A company might use Sigstr’s software to push out one custom email signature that would appear at the end of each member of its sales team’s emails to promote a webinar, while members of the event team might have a signature added to their email that would promote an upcoming conference. Sigstr CEO Bryan Wade, who joined the company in March 2017 says that the company currently has more than 300 customers, including Angie’s List and United Way.

Above: Sigstr CEO Bryan Wade

Image Credit: Courtesy Sigstr

“When we talk to our customers, they talk about the value of being able to pair a strong call to action with the right content,” HubSpot Chief Strategy Officer Brad Coffey, who helps lead the company’s investment strategy, tells VentureBeat. “What I think is remarkable about Sigstr is how they’ve opened up a whole new channel for marketers to be able to bring their message to market.”

Sigstr currently has 33 employees, and Wade says that the company plans to use the investment to create more products, and add more employees to its sales and marketing teams

Wade, a former employee for ExactTarget, became a Salesforce executive after ExactTarget’s acquisition. He says that he’s excited by the increased VC interest in Indianapolis since he first started working for the then-startup in 2005. He points to the creation of HighAlpha, a venture capital studio founded by former ExactTarget co-founder and CEO Scott Dorsey as a particularly positive development.

“I think the venture capital markets are realizing that Indianapolis is a hot spot for software, specifically B2C software,” Wade tells VentureBeat.

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