Is content still king? Some argue yes, while others say it all depends. It depends on what goes on in the background, behind the scenes—the processes and systems in place to create engaging, beautiful content.
With the content experience platform market size of $4.91 billion in 2022 and projected growth to $12.4 billion by 2032, companies offering content services must be ambitious and bold, as reported by Future Market Insights. In addition, the rise in the adoption of social networking, video sharing and podcasting plays a vital part in promoting businesses to invest resources in content experience platforms.
Neha Sampat, cofounder and CEO of ContentStack, is a three-time tech founder who elevates how people think about content, culture and systems. The company’s CXP empowers marketers and developers to deliver composable digital experiences. Some of its portfolio companies include Chase, Holiday Inn, Icelandair, Mattel and McDonald’s. In June 2021, Sampat and her team closed a Series B of $57.5 million. Since then, the company has grown to more than 400 employees and has approached over 50 thousand users in more than 70 global markets. Additionally, Contentstack recently released a Forrester Total Economic ImpactTM study highlighting 295% ROI when adopting Contenstack’s technology over a three year period.
Most recently, this past November, the team closed an $80 million Series C funding led by Emily Walsh at Georgian, who also participated in the Series B round. Additionally, Insight Partners co-led the round with participation from Illuminate Ventures. To date, ContentStack has raised a total of $169 million.
“I saw exactly what we hoped to see in the Series B,” Walsh commented during the Zoom interview. “The company has continued to grow, continued to establish leadership, and they’ve been recognized by a number of analysts as a leader in this space. They’ve expanded geographies, grown their executive team, and continued to have just a stellar culture. It’s all of the things that excited me about just seeing a long-term opportunity for a company. It’s just the right product, the right market, the right team, coming together to create something really special.”
During the height of the dot com era, Sampat started a public relations firm in Silicon Valley only to find herself sleeping in her office with a handful of clients after the crash. So she decided to go back to school for her MBA. After an internship with Sun Microsystems, they offered her a full-time position in a product management role.
Within a few years, she pivoted to a couple of different companies. Before starting her next company, she worked at VMWare building out their web channel, helping them sell products online, which at the time was revolutionary. Her channel generated $50 million.
“At that time, everybody used to say, ‘eyeballs to revenue,’” Sampat shared. “It was this new thing. I liked new things because I found them challenging; there were no rules, and you got to figure it out. You don’t really know what you’re doing until you’re doing it. And then you have to build upon that. Because it was something new for the company, I had a lot of things that they had never done before that were new milestones that I was able to accomplish. I remember, in particular, I had the idea to launch a pre-sale of one of our products. There was only one consumer product there. So we launched a pre-sale. We were able to book a million dollars in business before the product was even ready. That was a big deal for the company. It was so early in my career that [it even] elevated me.”
She discovered through working for large enterprises that the employees wanted to work on interesting projects but rarely had the opportunity to do so. So she started strategizing how she could create a company that empowered people and changed the workflow within large corporations.
Sampat went on to found and lead digital transformation consultancy Raw Engineering and digital experience Platform Built.io. In September 2018, the companies were acquired by Software AG.
For the first ten years of running her companies, Sampat bootstrapped the organizations until she saw the opportunity to grow and expand her vision. Throughout the funding process, she met Walsh, who also now sits on the board for ContentStack.
As Sampat continues to evolve in her career and build cultures that enable employees to utilize their creativity, she focuses on the following essential steps:
- Believe in your vision. Not everyone is going to see what you see, and that’s ok. Build out the dream.
- Build out a sounding board. You need people you can trust with different perspectives to help you see all aspects of what you’re creating.
- Don’t let a setback halt your progression. Adjust the challenge and keep moving forward.
“It starts with the mindset,” Sampat concludes. “Then everything else follows. If you believe that you’re good at something and have the imagination to dream big, I jokingly say, ‘Don’t let your dreams be dreams.’ Why should the absence of the right technology or the absence of good processes or even company culture get in the way of you being able to do your best work? So it starts with the mindset; it starts with company culture, to me. Every business I’ve built has been based on the premise of giving people the opportunity to do the best work of their career.”