Launching a successful business from a merger is no small feat, but that’s exactly what Highplatform.com has accomplished. The innovative customer experience SaaS platform has not only weathered the complexity of a merger but has overcome substantial growth challenges. CEO Marcelo Puglisi navigated these challenges head-on and pivoted the business from co-founding with only 5% equity to owning about 15% of the company today. The company has recently closed a $7m funding round at a $40 million evaluation.
Cracking Mergers and Success
Highplatform.com was borne out of the merger of two Brazilian startups, Direct Talk and another startup for social media customer care. While the cap table was fragmented, with the co-founders only having 20% of the company, Marcelo revealed that they worked tirelessly over the last three years to balance their positions. They even went to the extent of using bonuses from the company to buy out earlier investors. This smart decision now sees the co-founders owning 40% of the company together.
The decision to merge and stay the course despite owning only a fraction of the business was due primarily to Marcelo’s passion for the business and its potential. “I was so excited about the vision and the goal,” shared Marcelo.
Taking Customer Success SaaS Higher
Despite economic challenges, Highplatform.com’s progress is imitable. Marcelo revealed: “We have 17,000 different customers and 1.1 million dollars in MRR.” This corresponds to approximately $13m in ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue) up from $11m a year ago. Highplatform.com achieved this significant milestone by focusing on more than one product. They’ve built an entire platform that aids companies in selling, and customer care, along with several other features. However, this also meant that their growth wasn’t as speedy as they would have liked.
“Mobile Monkey, an automated Messenger chatbot service, busted out of the gates and went from 0 to $1m ARR in less than 12 months,” admitted Marcelo. However, the company’s focus on setting a solid foundation before scaling has paid off. Their customer base has grown by 28% over the past year, and they’re targeting to hit $15m in revenue this year.
The Road Ahead
The technology arena in Brazil has been an exciting journey for Highplatform.com. Their aim for the future is to continue the stellar work they’ve been carrying out. “We are focusing on doing the basics to guarantee that our customers are using the products in a proper way and being a hub of information and data,” shared Marcelo. According to Marcelo, emerging technologies, such as AI and chatbots, are transforming customer expectations and experiences, and Highplatform.com aims to be at the forefront of this transformation.
The company is also planning an aggressive growth strategy for 2023, including leveraging new revenue streams and expanding its product offerings. After raising $7m in its first round of outside funding last year, the company now has a runway of over two years to continue its expansion and secure its position as a leader in the fast-growing customer success SaaS market.
CEO he’s following: Howard Shultz
Favorite book: “Hard Truths” by Larry Kim
Favorite online tool: Google
Balance: around six hours of sleep, married, 1 kid.
What does he wish he had known at 20? ? To stay calm during challenging times.