Hustle multiplied by 20 the rate of his annual receipts [in in 15 months by refusing customers who contradict his political opinions. This is a curious, controversial, but successful strategy for the start-up whose application allows activists and marketers to text thousands of supporters or potential customers one at a time. Compared to generic blasts and robotic calls, Hustle gets much higher conversion rates because people like to connect with a real human who can answer their follow-up questions.
All business is built around these relationships, so campaigns, nonprofit organizations and businesses must believe in the Hustle mark . That's why CEO Roddy Lindsay tells me, "We do not sell to candidates or Republican committees. What it has allowed us to do is build trust with the Democratic Party and progressive organizations. We do not have to worry about celebrating the success of our customers and offending other customers. "
Investors are in agreement. Driven by Hustle's remarkable growth of more than $ 10 million and 85 million conversations, Insight Partners led a $ 30 million B-series for the startup of Google's GV and Salesforce Ventures.
The turn comes just 10 months after Hustle's $ 8 million B series while he was making only $ 3 million in revenue. Lindsay says that he was impressed by the Insight experience with communication utilities like Cvent and non-profit tools like Ministry Brands. Its executive director Hillary Gosher, who specializes in the growth of sales teams, will join Hustle's board of directors, which is great as Hustle is recruiting like crazy.
Humanizing the Call to Action
Founded late 2014, the Hustle application allows organizers to write MadLibs type text message scripts and import contact lists. Their employees or volunteers send the messages one by one, with the blanks automatically filled in to personalize the calls for action. Recipients can respond directly to the sender with answers to appease their fears until they are ready to give, buy, assist or help. Meanwhile, organizers can track their conversions, optimize scripts and reassign assignments to reach a huge audience with an empathic touch.
The application claims to be 77X faster than making phone calls and 5.5X more engaging than email, which has gained Hustle customers like the LiveNation, NYU concert empire, and the Sierra Club. Customers pay $ 0.30 per contact downloaded into Hustle, with discounts for larger transactions. With total funding of $ 41 million, Ms. Hustle plans to go beyond her major political and non-profit markets and encourage alumni donations for universities, sales and marketing. businesses and participation in events.
Hustle will do it without one of his three co-founders, Perry Rosenstein, who left at the end of 2017. [Disclosure: I know Lindsay from college and once worked on a short-lived Rosenstein called Signal.] Lindsay says that "Rosenstein's real excellence was about the activities and issues of the early stages." Indeed, in my experience, he was more aware of the adequacy of the underlying product markets than the scaling up tasks of a company. "It was Perry's decision, it was a departure we celebrated, and he is still involved as an informal adviser for me and for the company," concluded Lindsay
Hustle has more than 100 other employees at SF, New York and DC to pick up the torch, though. It's only 12 employees early 2017. And it's perhaps one of the most diverse startups. Lindsay says her company has 51% women, 48% people of color and 21% LGBT. This inclusive culture attracts the most diverse talents. "We see this as a key differentiator for us, which allows us to hire incredible people," says Lindsay. "It's something we've taken seriously from day one and the results show. "
Supporter on purpose
What began as a favored tool of the Bernie Sanders campaign has blossomed into a new method of large-scale communication. "We massively humanize the way these organizations communicate," Lindsay said. "Humans really matter, no matter if what matters to you, is that many people come to events, vote or renew a subscription. Having a relationship with another person can cut the noise. It's different from your interactions with bots or email marketing campaigns or things where it's dehumanized. "
Lindsay felt the frustration of weak relationships when, having left Facebook where he worked for six years as one of his first data scientists, he volunteered for the company. Fwd.us immigration reform organization of Mark Zuckerberg. His email just had a conversion rate of 1 percent. He joined former Nevada New Media Director Rosenstein and Technical Director Tyler Brock to solve the problem with Hustle.
Working with Bernie in keeping with the political feelings of the team, but they were soon faced with whether they wanted to feed both sides of the aisle – which would mean delivering conservative campaign messages marginalized that they could not stand. Hustle still has no official policy on lowering Republican money, and a spokesman said they point potential customers to TechCrunch's previous article mentioning the position . Meanwhile, Hustle is expanding its for-profit client base to ensure the GOP does not feel like a loss. Having Salesforce as a strategic investor also creates a bridge to a potential exit option.
Focus on the left works for the moment. More than 25 democratic parties are clients. Hustle sent 2.5 million messages and reached more than 700,000 voters – 1 out of 5 – in the special elections in Alabama, helping Democrat Doug Jones win the Senate seat.
"Let's build this great deal for the Democratic party, let someone else take the Republicans," says Lindsay.A stealthy startup called OpnSesame does exactly that, Lindsay mentions, but he says, "We do not see them as competitive, we see them as potential allies who advocate the power of P2P texting so that everyone is included in our democracy. "Instead, Lindsay sees Hustle's potential to lose its meaning and motivation while he's quickly becoming his biggest threat.]
In the long run, Hustle hopes to propel the good side of history by sticking to the left. Lindsay concludes, "You can really put on your business hat and see that it's a good choice."