Corporate gift services have come into their own during the COVID-19 pandemic by standing as a proxy for other types of relationship building activities – office meetings, lunches and hosting events – that have traditionally been people’s businesses. Part and parcel of. But during the lockdown, social distancing and closing the doors of offices were no longer possible.
Now, sentoso – A popular “end-to-end” gifting platform that provides access to 30,000 products, including corporate swag, regular physical gifts, gift cards and more; And then providing services like logistics, packing, and sending gifts to recipients — is announcing $100 million in funding to capitalize on this turnaround, led by a major new investor.
New backer SoftBank, through its Vision Fund 2, is leading this latest Series C round of funding. Oak HC/FT, Struck Capital, Stage 2 Capital, Kraft Ventures, Signia Venture Partners and Felicis Ventures – all previous investors – are also participating.
The company has been on a strong growth trajectory for years now, but it notably saw an increase in activity as the pandemic kicked off. It now has over 20,000 businesses signed up and using its services, notably for sales and marketing outreach, but also to help boost morale among employees.
“Everyone was stuck at home on their own, saturated with emails,” Sandoso CEO Chris Rudigraup said in an interview. “Having a personal connection to sales prospects, employees, and others meant more.” It has racked up some 3 million gifts sent so far since its launch in 2016.
Sandoso isn’t disclosing its valuation, but RudiGrape indicated that it was up to four times the startup’s Series B valuation from 2020. pitchbook an estimate This to be $160 million, which would bring the current valuation to $640 million. The company has now raised over $150 million.
RudiGrape said Sandoso will use the money to invest in certain sectors. First, hiring more talent: It has 500 employees now and plans to increase that to 30% by the end of this year. And second, international expansion: it is setting up a European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland to complement its head office in San Francisco.
Comcast, Kimpton Hotels, Thomson Reuters, Nasdaq and eBay are among its existing customers – so it’s on top of servicing those customers’ global user bases as well as signing up new gifters. He estimated the large corporate gifting market to be around $100 billion a year, so there’s a lot at play here.
The company was co-founded on a specific need basis by RudiGrape and Braydon Young (who is its chief alliance officer), who was identified by RudiGrape while working as a sales executive. Gift giving is a pretty standard practice in the world of sales and marketing, but he was gaining a lot of traction with potential and current customers by taking a personalized approach to the act.
“I was manually packing the boxes, grabbing the swag, coming in with handwritten notes,” he recalled. “It was inefficient, but it worked great. So I dreamed up an idea: Why not be able to click a button in Salesforce to do this automatically? Sometimes the best company is the one that works for you.” solves its own problem.”
And that’s essentially what Sendoso does. The startup’s platform is integrated with the company’s existing marketing, sales and management software – Salesforce, HubSpot, Salesloft. from them — and then lets users use it to organize and order gifts through these channels, for example as part of larger sales, marketing or human resources strategies. Gifts are extensive, including corporate swag, other physical gifts, gift cards, and more, and there are also integrations you can incorporate into teams of salespeople to share gifts, analyze campaigns, and more.
Meanwhile, the Sendoso platform positions itself as “Amazon.com’s Market Selection and Logistics Precision”. But Sendoso also believes it’s better than someone just using Amazon.com because it ultimately takes a more personal approach to how the gift is presented.
“There are a lot of things that we do uniquely in terms of what we have built into our software, gifting options and logistics center. We really personalize our gifts extensively with handwritten notes, special boxing, and more,” something Amazon can’t do, he said. “We’ve built a lot of unique technology and logistics software that will make it harder for Amazon to compete.” He said that Sandoso has an integration with Amazon, so Sandoso users can order from there, but then the gift is sent to have to repack the Sandoso in a good way before it’s shipped.
At its heart, the startup has created a way of weaving together disparate work practices – some codified into software, and some based on human interaction and heavily influenced by randomness, emotion, and ad-hoc approaches – and put it into a single Built in technology platform. The ability to feel like an otherwise bespoke level of service has helped Sendoso gain traction not only with users, but with investors as well:
“We believe Sendoso provides the most comprehensive end-to-end gifting platform in the market,” said Priya Saiprasad, Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors. “Their platform includes a global marketplace of curated vendors, seamless integration with existing tools, global logistics and in-depth analytics. As a result, Sendoso serves as the backbone of enterprises’ engagement programs with potential customers, existing customers, employees and other key stakeholders. We are excited to lead this Series C round to help Sandoso accelerate his vision.”