Mailchimp sells for $12B in one of the largest bootstrap exi
Mailchimp sells for $12B in one of the largest bootstrap exits ever
The background: Founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut, Mark Armstrong and Dan Kurzius, Mailchimp started as a web design agency called the Rocket Science Group. The Atlanta-based company pivoted until it built the small business email marketing service with which we’re all familiar — all without raising venture capital. Mailchimp grew by listening to customers’ yearning for “look pro and grow” products, adding features like digital ads, a CRM, shoppable landing pages, postcards, websites, and automation tools.
“With Intuit, we’ve found a shared passion for empowering small businesses. By joining forces with Intuit, we’ll take our offerings to the next level, leveraging Intuit’s AI-driven expert platform to deliver even better products and services to small businesses. This is an exciting new chapter for Mailchimp, our 1,200+ dedicated employees, and customers.” —Ben Chestnut, CEO and co-founder of Mailchimp
Why Intuit? Intuit, which makes popular tax and accounting software like TurboTax and QuickBooks, seems like an odd buyer for an email marketing company. Nevertheless, Intuit said Mailchimp will accelerate its goals of becoming the “center of small business growth” and “disrupting the small business mid-market.”
Mailchimp & Quickbooks: Intuit is keen to combine the power of Quickbooks and Mailchimp, which offers it a customer base of about 13 million users globally, 70 billion contacts, 250 partner integrations, and robust AI automation. QuickBooks serves about 7 million small and mid-market businesses around the world.
Adding value: Mailchimp notched $800 million in revenue in 2020, a 20 percent increase year-over-year. About half of that total comes from outside the United States. Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi said that Mailchimp will help small companies with their biggest barriers to growth: getting and retaining customers.
Why it matters: Mailchimp’s exit is the largest ever by a bootstrapped firm in the Internet age, according to Axios. While it’s extremely rare and incredibly difficult, Mailchimp serves as an important example to bootstrappers everywhere that you can build a wildly successful business without venture capital.