How Privy built a digital marketing tool for those without tech chops

by Justine Hofherr
July 16, 2018
privy
Photo via Privy

Any startup that has the attention of marketing giant HubSpot is worth a second look. That’s certainly the case with Privy, a Boston-based email list growth platform that helps retail marketers rapidly grow their lists while tracking sales.

Founded in 2011, Privy has raised more than $4 million in funding from investors like Mike Volpe, former CMO of HubSpot, Accomplice and Atlas Ventures, and has grown its clientele from 100 customers in the restaurant and retail space to more than 200,000 marketers in over 180 countries, reaching over 200 million consumers every month.

Pretty impressive. So, what sets the lean, mean marketing company apart from competitors clamoring to make names for themselves in the marketing technology space?

The goal of Privy is to ensure that even small and medium-sized businesses have access to top marketing tools — no IT guru required.

Privy does this by offering an easy-to-use platform complete with a drag-and-drop design tool, a wide variety of display types and smart triggers and targeting rules. To cap it off, Privy follows up on campaigns with conversion-focused reporting, so businesses can easily see whether Privy is working for them or not.

“Converting 2 percent of the people who land on your site is the industry standard, and we’re all about is changing that mindset,” said Ben Jabbawy, CEO of Privy. “That number is not okay. We’re able to enforce and create change for all of the small businesses that use our product without them having to do a lot of work or spend a lot of money.”

Jabbawy said much of Privy’s growth has been tied to the launch of its email list product that debuted in 2015; shortly after, the company expanded rapidly via word of mouth and customer referrals about their product, which Jabbawy said helps marketers “crush their goals.”

“Our platform focuses on self-serve customers,” Jabbawy said, adding that they serve everyone from the Ellen Degeneres show shop down to “a guy or gal in New Zealand who is passionate about their hand-knit sweaters they sell online.”

“We focus on small marketing teams or the entrepreneur themselves,” Jabbawy said.

To appeal to the lone entrepreneur working out of his or her garage, Privy integrates with all commonly used e-commerce platforms, website builders and email service providers, including Mailchimp, Klaviyo and Constant Contact. Once the consumer has plugged Privy into their existing set of solutions, there’s no code required.

In 2018, Privy hopes to grow its customer base — and to do that, the company itself is going to have to expand.

To that end, Jabbawy said they’re hiring rapidly in Boston: They started 2018 with 10 employees, and now they employ around 30 people. Privy is currently hiring in engineering, marketing and customer success.

Jabbawy said he can think of a few reasons off the top of his head why someone might want to join their team.

“We’re still small,” Jabbawy said. “We’re 30 people touching more than 200,000 entrepreneurs in 180 countries. That’s our user base scale. It’s incredibly rare that people can step into a startup that’s still as small as we are, where they can truly have a global impact on everything we do from day one.”

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