SendGrid (SEND) A Developer-Focused Email Platform

There’s a growing class of “developer-focused” software infrastructure platforms. It all started with Amazon AWS but since then many companies have taken a similar approach to other areas of software. Other examples included Twilio (TWLO)Stripe (Private)Atlassian (TEAM)MuleSoft (MULE), and GitHub (Private).

What distinguishes this type of company? Here’s our list:

  1. They can “call or be called” via APIs. Developers can integrate the service directly into their code.
  2. They run predominantly in the cloud although some support “hybrid” cloud.
  3. Initial customer onboarding is self-service with low initial pricing that scales up with use.
  4. There’s an emphasis on performance, efficiency and the latest technology versus ease-of-use.
  5. Pre-built libraries and integrations for popular development “frameworks” are available.

SendGrid has grown up providing an email service that started out to allow “transactional” emails to be sent as in “your package has been shipped.” Then SendGrid started offering the ability to send more “marketing” oriented emails like “we haven’t seen you in months, here’s a coupon for your next visit.”

This is very different from the more mass-marketing services like MailChimp and Constant Contact (CTCT – acquired by Endurance (NASDAQ: EIGI) for $1B.) MailChimp was the king of sending out newsletters and other mass-marketing emails for years. Since then the space has become more crowded and there are many new options.

The lines have blurred too – SendGrid introduced their own marketing email service and many marketing email services have added 1-to-1 and transactional email capabilities. Online content and marketing platforms often include some level of basic email sending as well. Even hosting providers have added email to their suite of services. (In 2014 GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) acquired Mad Mimi for $45M to fold the service into their hosted offerings.)

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Disclosure: We do not have any vested interest in the shares of this stock at the time of writing and publication. We may however take a position post publication and are not under any obligation to ...

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