Kitchener-based video marketing platform Vidyard today announced the closing of an $18 million round of Series B funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners with assists from previously existing investors iNovia Capital, OMERS Ventures, Salesforce Ventures and SoftTech VC.
This new round of funding places the company’s valuation at close to $100 million.
While most companies would regard such news as cause for celebration, Vidyard CEO Michael Litt wrote in a blog post, “Celebration follows the meal and at Vidyard, we’re a very long way from finishing dinner.”
So Litt meets the new round of funding with a seriousness of purpose, pointing out the two things that it signifies: 1) validation and 2) what this funding will enable Vidyard to do now.
“Vidyard has established the leadership position in one of the most exciting and fast-growing enterprise technology markets,” said Kevin Kimsa, Managing Director at OMERS Ventures. “Video has a bright future in enterprise sales and marketing, and Vidyard is the company that will make sure it delivers real business results.”
Vidyard was in at the ground floor of online video as a marketing platform, noticing the advent of Youtube as a signal event while Litt and co-founder Devon Galloway were students in the Systems Design Engineering Program at the University of Waterloo.
Initially calling their company Redwoods Media, the pair changed its name to Vidyard in 2011.
After receiving an initial round of seed funding for $1.65 million in 2011, and then a $6 million Series A round in 2013, Vidyard came to define the relatively new category of what would become known as a video marketing platform.
While Litt outlines in his blog post the importance of the $18 million round for the growth of Vidyard, he also spells out a vision of the future.
“The future of the Internet is television,” he writes before refreshingly adding, “Consumer behaviors consistently predict enterprise trends.”
This goes somewhat against the Jobs-ian ethos of giving the customers something they didn’t realize they wanted. But it is becoming increasingly clear, through the rise of start-up culture and its slow establishment as the new normal, that companies grow best through listening closely to what customers want.
In marketing terms, Litt has described the play button as the most compelling call-to-action on the Internet.
Byron Deeter, on behalf of Bessemer Venture Partners writes, “The use of highly-engaging video content to reach customers is increasingly considered a critical part of marketing strategies, and that’s where Vidyard comes in. They allow for companies to leverage the best of both the creative and quantitative marketing worlds.”
Deeter famously turned the company down at least twice before realizing the importance of video marketing and then finally coming around. The second refusal happened to fall on Michael Litt’s wedding day.
Deeter adds, “I’ve signed up to spend more quality time in Kitchener, Canada and the Waterloo area, because they’re that good.”
He also points up the importance of working with a company that is defining a new marketing category and “yet still knows how to have fun and not take themselves too seriously.”
Bessemer Venture Partners has also invested in Shopify, which may be preparing an IPO soon, which referred the investment firm to Vidyard.
Cisco predicts that by 2018, 70% of all Internet traffic will be video, an eventuality for which Vidyard has been ideally placed for several years.