braze buzz

In the summer of 2017, Braze leadership drew a line in the sand, projecting that Braze would hit $100 million ARR by the end of 2019. Learn more about how Braze made it happen in this exclusive piece by Braze Cofounder and CEO Bill Magnuson.

The end of each calendar year is a time to reflect on challenges and accomplishments, and to look ahead to goals for the coming year. At Braze, we tackle personal resolutions at the end of December, and look back on business at the close of our fiscal year in January.

We can be proud of this year’s achievements, most notably the fact that we hit a significant milestone in company growth by surpassing $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR). In the summer of 2017, we drew a line in the sand, projecting that Braze would hit 100 million ARR by the end of 2019. We’ve now done what we set out to do. That kind of predictability is rare in a young company, and thanks to the dedication of all at Braze to continuous improvement across the organization, we have entered this rarified air.

As revenue grows, so does everything else: Our customers (800+), our partners (Braze Alloys lists more than 100), our customer activity (nearly 30 billion messages sent in the two weeks of Black Friday/Cyber Monday), and our workforce, which is on track to near 500 by the end of January. Our physical footprint is also expanding as we accommodate our growing teams in London, New York, San Francisco, and Singapore, and we are very excited to soon be opening our fifth office, in Chicago.

All this happy news relies on the countless daily decisions and actions that are taken by Braze team members. We task ourselves with staying clear-eyed about our shortfalls, and open to feedback on how we can do better. High-growth business is not for the faint of heart. We believe that the best approach to smoothing the way forward is to lay down strong, scalable foundations for growth.

In thinking about scalable foundations, one of the first things that comes to mind might be the Braze product itself. The beginning of this year’s holiday season definitely put us to the test: We were sustaining 10 million messages per minute at peak times on Black Friday, with close to 3 billion messages sent on that day alone. The investments that we’ve made in improving stability and performance, maintaining flexibility as messaging volume skyrockets, and on building a truly global support team paid off when things heated up on the biggest days of the year for many of our customers.

You might also think about strong financial foundations, where we’ve made tremendous strides this year, after raising $80 million in a Series E last year. We are building our business to be independent and durable in the face of evolving demands as well as closer scrutiny of both private and public markets.

Perhaps most critical for the future success of Braze has been our focus on strong foundations for the company culture. Studies have shown that diverse organizations are more innovative and more successful, and the Braze for ALL diversity and inclusion initiative has touched virtually every area of the company. We have solid partnerships in the community that provide opportunities to others, while also introducing Braze to candidates who might not otherwise have considered us.

And we pay close attention to what everyone at Braze is thinking about our progress. Our People team has grown and we have benefited from new perspectives to help improve employees’ experiences. It’s working: Braze was named to Crain’s New York Business’s Best Places to Work in NYC, and to Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces list for 2019. Most recently, Braze was included in the 2020 Wealthfront Career-Launching Companies list.

The wind is at our backs as we head into a new year. The world is catching up to what we’ve believed all along: Strong connections are forged when brands deliver engaging and relevant experiences to consumers—communicating in a way that feels like a human conversation. The best way to deliver on that promise is with first-party data managed by a modern technology ecosystem. We continue to build the Braze team in virtually every department: Review current open positions to find something that aligns with your skills and career goals. Maybe we’ll be welcoming you aboard in the coming year.

Bill Magnuson

Bill Magnuson is cofounder and CEO at Braze . Bill's love for technology began when he was a child, where he often spent his recesses inside on the computer instead of playing frisbee outside (his other true passion). He previously served as CTO at Braze, overseeing the company's product and engineering divisions.