When One Door Closes, Another One Opens (aka Welcome to be Acquired by Optimizely)
It’s been an absolute privilege and the ride of a lifetime for me personally. Asif, Iraj and I started this company in our living rooms 14 years ago — clearly we were an overnight success that just took a while to mature!
We started the company – initially called NewsCred, without knowing much about content or marketing. Somehow we ended up creating (and ultimately leading) the content marketing platform category. Sometimes a bit of naivety and irrational optimism can go a long way!
But from the early days, the team we built had a few traits that have ended up serving us well for the past decade: we were insanely curious, relentlessly resourceful, and listened a ton to customers. We pivoted our business multiple times, but we just never, ever, ever gave up. That perseverance and tenacity are hallmarks of a NewsCred/Welcome employee anywhere in the world: from Dhaka to London to Boulder to New York. Speaking of Dhaka, I believe this is the biggest exit for any company started in Bangladesh.
As many of you know, in 2020, we divested our content services business. It was a great outcome, and it allowed us to focus on our software. Soon after, we rebranded to Welcome, and thought we would be heads down on our mission to build software that would unleash the potential of marketing teams. We were insanely passionate about building great products, but we were also driven by our desire to free up marketers time from “work about work.” We wanted marketers to love marketing again, freed up from antiquated tools, and set free to deliver incredible marketing content, campaigns and customer experiences.
We never thought we’d be acquired a year later. But Alex, Optimizely’s CEO, and Justin, the CPO, are equally tenacious and refused to take no for an answer! After spending time with the whole team, understanding their product strategy, and seeing the size of their amazing customer base, I realized that this was an opportunity to accelerate towards our mission. So we worked out the deal, and that brings us to today.
Here’s why we couldn’t be more excited:
- We’re combining 2 category-leading companies with a singular mission. Together, we’ll transform how marketing and marketers work. We’re now on a rocket ship to accelerate towards our long term mission of unleashing the potential of marketing teams and build the system of record for marketing.
- Welcome will be retained as a standalone business unit. I’ll stay on as the GM and run sales, CS, product and engineering for the marketing orchestration business. We’ll continue to execute against our current roadmap, support our current customer base, and invest in key areas to extend our leadership in CMP, MRM, & DAM.
- Welcome is the perfect complement to the Optimizely product suite. Welcome will serve as the upstream campaign planning and content production engine, and bolt on to Optimizely’s category-leading publishing, commerce, and experimentation products. Together, we’ll help marketing teams produce better, more effective customer experiences – all from a single, fully-integrated solution (by the way, Optimizely is number one in every analyst report for every category in which we play; Welcome brings that total to 7)!
- Optimizely is a perfect home. Their people are awesome – funny, down to earth, humble and we share common values and principles. They also built an incredible business – hundreds of millions of ARR and insanely profitable. Not many unicorns can come close to their level of financial performance!
There are too many people to thank individually and I’ll find a better forum to do that vs. a public blog post. But I do want to just give a big shout out to all our investors for believing in us. We were three nerdy Bangladesh kids who were total outsiders, and somehow you were all crazy enough to give us $100M+ over the years. I’m glad (and relieved!) we were able to get a good return for all of you! Particularly Amish, Rajeev, Chris, Doug, Liron, Alan and Brad – we became friends over the years and I will be forever grateful.
To the wonderful NewsCred/Welcome team past and present. I always say that my only goal in life is to build a company where one day all of you will one day look back and say “That was the best company that I ever worked for.” Regardless of all the wins, losses, crazy achievements or stupid mistakes that I made – please know that I gave this company everything. And seeing all of you give back has made my life complete. I am in awe of all you – fiercely intelligent, humble, tenacious, caring and fun. Working for you has been the privilege of a lifetime.
And finally, to my wonderful wife, two kids, family and friends. I know you never thought we’d ever sell this thing. But look – we did it! Thank you for all the love and support over the years.
The future is as bright as ever. And we can’t wait to show you what we have in store for our second act.