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From modest to mammoth in months: Optimizely raises $28 million

Things are look­ing bright for web­site opti­miza­tion start­up Opti­mize­ly, which offers easy A/B test­ing for com­pa­nies’ web­sites using a visu­al inter­face (that means no engi­neer­ing or cod­ing). It’s just raised Series A fund­ing of $28 mil­lion – the kind of sum to cause any prod­uct man­ag­er or busi­ness devel­op­ment asso­ciate to hug them­selves in glee..

Mod­est begin­nings, big results

Hav­ing only raised $3.2 mil­lion pre­vi­ous­ly, this rep­re­sents a major step for­ward for the firm.  Not that the mod­est ear­li­er fund­ing has impaired its per­for­mance: Dan Siro­ker, Optimizely’s co-founder and CEO, reveals that it’s already hit an annu­al­ized rev­enue rate of “dou­ble-dig­it mil­lions”. And rev­enue is soar­ing by 400 per cent a year (don’t you just wish you were prod­uct man­ag­er there?).

Not only that but it’s man­aged to sign up a glit­ter­ing list of cus­tomers, not least amongst whom were the Oba­ma and Rom­ney 2012 pres­i­den­tial cam­paigns (in 2008, Siro­ker act­ed as Obama’s direc­tor of ana­lyt­ics). Oth­ers include MTV, The Walt Dis­ney Com­pa­ny, Fox Inter­ac­tive Media and CBS.

Optimizely’s exist­ing investors Inter­West Part­ners, Bat­tery Ven­tures and Google Part­ners par­tic­i­pat­ed in the lat­est fund­ing round, which was led by Bench­mark. Also par­tic­i­pat­ing was Bain Cap­i­tal Ven­tures. Bench­mark part­ner Peter Fen­ton will now sit on Optimizely’s board of direc­tors, becom­ing the first out­sider to do so (the board con­sist­ed pre­vi­ous­ly of Siro­ker and his co-founder Pete Koomen).

The sky’s the limit

Siro­ker says that the cash injec­tion allows the firm to be “real­ly ambi­tious” on sev­er­al fronts. For one thing, it’s expand­ing inter­na­tion­al­ly, hav­ing opened a Euro­pean office in Ams­ter­dam last year and over the next quar­ter aims to launch in 36 oth­er coun­tries, cov­er­ing nine dif­fer­ent lan­guages between them. It has exist­ing cus­tomers in each of the lan­guages targeted.

But that’s not all: Opti­mize­ly will short­ly move into a swish new San Fran­cis­co office – all 56,000 square feet of it. Ambi­tious project man­agers look­ing for pas­tures new might note that that’s going to pro­vide room for a fur­ther 450 employ­ees to add the firm’s exist­ing head­count of 68.

Siroker’s big vision is to expand the com­pa­ny beyond test­ing so that it can offer a plat­form enabling web­sites to per­son­al­ize them­selves for each vis­i­tor. As Siro­ker puts it.

“We’re going to be enabling busi­ness­es to show exact­ly the right thing to the right per­son at the right time.”

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