An Austin startup used this pitch deck to raise $14 million to help real estate agents, plumbers, and other small businesses operators better market themselves online

OutboundEngine CEO Marc Pickren

  • OutboundEngine
    provides digital marketing tools and services for small and
    medium-sized businesses.
  • It helps small companies and operators set up websites,
    maintain their social media presences, and conduct email marketing
  • To date, OutboundEngine has focused on companies in just 12
    industries, but plans to service those in 400 sectors by the end of
    the year.
  • The company used the pitch
    below to raise $14 million to help fund that

  • Click here for more BI Prime stories

OutboundEngine has thrived by focusing on businesses on the
opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of size.

The Austin, Texas-based startup offers digital marketing
services for small and medium-sized businesses, concentrating in
particular on sole practitioners, independent insurance and real
estate agents, and other companies with no or few employees.
OutboundEngine sets up websites for such businesses and operators,
helps them set up and maintain a presence on social media sites,
and assists them with email marketing campaigns.

OutboundEngine has “built a software platform that does all of
the important things for our customers,” said CEO Marc Pickren.
After they’ve signed on and set up the service, he continued,
customers are “just rocking and rolling. They can just relax and
have their marketing done for them.”

Founded in 2012, OutboundEngine tries to make its service as
easy to use as possible for its customers, Pickren said. The
company, which charges between $200 and $500 a month for its
services, writes the marketing content on behalf of its clients and
distributes it for them. Customers can upload their company logos
and photos to the service for use on their websites and marketing,
but OutboundEngine only offers them limited choices to customize
their sites.

That’s intentional, Pickren said. Many of its clients aren’t
technologically savvy, he said. What’s more, small business owners
and sole practitioners often don’t have the time or the bandwidth
to decide the precise color to use on their website or which
specific marketing strategy to pursue, he said.

“They’re not equipped to make decisions regarding those
different marketing tools or different things that are available,”
Pickren said. “The operative word there is ‘equipped.’ It’s not
that they’re not smart enough and they couldn’t figure it out. It’s
just that they’re busy running their business.”

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Pickren is overseeing a massive expansion

The limited amounts of customization OutboundEngine does offer
are items that customers actually use, and that provide value, he
said. That’s important, because many of its clients have been
burned by taking others’ advice on how to marketing their
businesses online, only to see such efforts fail, he said.

“We’re not in the business of constantly adding shiny blinky
things because they’re cool and everybody else is selling them,”
Pickren said. “We’re in the business of doing the things that work
and doing them consistently and reliably every single month.”

OutboundEngine has found a ready audience for its services. It
has some 10,000 customers spread all over the US and it’s now
seeing $24 million in annualized sales, he said.

But Pickren thinks the company has plenty of potential ahead of
it. About 98% of all US businesses have fewer than 20 employees, if
those with no employees at all are included. But for most of its
existence, OutboundEngine, which has some 203 employees, has
concentrated on those in only around a dozen industries, such as
real estate, insurance, and home services.

Pickren, who joined the company last year, is leading the charge
to massively expand its services to new industries. By the end of
the year, the company plans to offer its marketing software for
companies in 400 different categories of business, he said.

Toward that end, OutboundEngine in August raised $14 million in
debt and equity financing. The company, which has raised $50
million total to date, plans to use the new funds in part to do its
own marketing to all the potential customers to which it’s now
opening its service, he said.

Small businesses have “really been underserved as it relates to
digital innovation,” Pickren said. He continued: “They should be
getting more of an opportunity to achieve success on their own
terms and not get left behind.”

Here is the pitch deck OutboundEngine used to raise its
latest found of financing:

SEE ALSO: Here’s
the pitch deck that Silicon Valley startup Arrcus used to raise $30
million to take on Cisco and Arista Networks

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An Austin startup used this pitch deck to raise million to help real estate agents, plumbers, and other small businesses operators better market themselves online