Marketing Automation Startup Signpost Plans Major Denver Expansion
Signpost, a venture-backed startup that creates marketing automation software for small- and medium-sized businesses, has hung up its shingle and a help wanted sign at a new location in Denver.
The company, which has raised $15 million from Google Ventures and other investors, recently relocated its Denver office to a new, 8,500-square-foot office near downtown and has plans for a major expansion, co-founder and CEO Stuart Wall said.
Late last year, Signpost raised an oversubscribed $10 million Series B roundfrom investors OpenView Venture Partners, Spark Capital, Scout Ventures, and investor Jack Herrick. The money is being used to add staff, including engineers, sales and marketing associates, and customer service specialists.
It’s a big expansion in Signpost’s headcount, which is already near 90, and while the company is headquartered in New York City with an office in Austin, most of the new employees will be based in Denver.
“Relative to all the markets we’re in, we’re most excited about Denver. It’s key to our future,” Wall said. “Denver is really going to be where our growth comes from going forward.”
The company set up a Denver office in 2013 that by the end of the year had 25 to 30 Denver employees. Wall said he expects that number to grow to about 100 by the end of 2014.
Signpost and Wall are outsiders to Colorado and chose Denver from six cities. Wall, a Harvard MBA and former Bain & Company consultant, did his homework before broaching new territory.
“We think there’s a great talent pool…and an amazing lifestyle especially compared to New York,” Wall said, citing a much lower cost of living.
But there is another big factor that could make life easier for Signpost as it grows.
“The employees we’ve seen have also been pretty dedicated relative to New York and San Francisco, where there’s a culture of job hopping between different startups,” Wall said.
He thinks the talent pool, lower cost of living and doing business, and greater sense of employee loyalty will serve Denver well.
“Regardless of Signpost, I think Denver is going to grow as a tech hub because of those factors,” he said.
While Signpost’s new office and hiring are a nice local story, the company’s ambitions are much larger.
“There are a lot of front-office tasks that if you are a small business owner are really important to your business, but also way too complicated to do yourself,” Wall said.
That includes managing profiles across social media sites, collecting customer information, and marketing to existing customers, he said.
“We think those are basically prerequisites for doing business, but pretty hard to do if you’re not an online marketing expert,” Wall said. “We want to make software that makes it really easy for small business owners.”
Signpost’s software is based in the cloud, and it’s not the only marketing automation software out there. Marketo and Oracle Eloqua are among the major players in the field. Wall said he wants to beat competitors on price—it’s $150 per month—and ease of use for small business owners.
“We think a lot of the software out there is pretty high friction,” Wall said. “We think about making it super-intuitive and automated…and making the technology invisible.”
Signpost seems to be attracting more attention. In January, Forbes named it to its list of “America’s most promising companies.” Signpost reported revenue of $3 million last year and claims it has more than 10,000 signups with a 97 percent retention rate.