Email leads to $2.6M VC deal for local email-software firm

Indianapolis-based 250ok Inc., which sells email-analytics software, announced Wednesday that it raised $2.6 million in venture capital—its first round of institutional financing.

Fargo, North Dakota-based Arthur Ventures was the only investor in the deal, and 250ok said it plans to use the money to enhance its product and hire people.

The deal might not have happened if Arthur Ventures hadn't reached out to 250ok with an email in April, not long after the company announced plans to add at least 50 employees by 2021. Before then, 250ok had largely rebuffed interested venture capitalists.

"[Arthur Ventures] sent an email that stood out unlike anything I'd ever seen in the past," 250ok CEO and founder Greg Kraios said. "It seemed like they really understood our business. They liked product-heavy companies that were profitable and didn't need to raise money to survive. And everything came together."

250ok's software helps ensure emails get to inboxes—instead of spam folders—and analyzes engagement. Among other things, it helps corporate marketing departments track data on email open rates, time spent reading, link clicks and forwards. 

The 7-year-old company is headquartered at 9247 N. Meridian St. It has more than 5,000 users, and some of its clients include Adobe, Marketo, SendGrid and SparkPost.

Kraios said the company plans to hire for positions in sales, marketing, engineering and operations. It has 23 employees.

250ok raised about $450,000 in seed capital in its early years, but has mostly grown organically since then. Kraios said the company received a lot of inbound interest from institutional investors over the years and was open to conversations.

But didn't really need the money, for one, and a lot of firms "were just offering capital, and we wanted more than that."

Arthur Ventures partner Patrick Meenan said his firm heard about 250ok through an internal system that monitors potential investment companies around the country. It was such a fit for Arthur—which invests in enterprise-software startups outside Silicon Valley—that Meenan said he reached out to 250ok within five minutes of learning about them.

"The companies we've had the most success partnering with," he said in an email, "are often led by first-time CEOs that are maniacal about the product they are building/problem they are solving and, despite not having a finance bone in their body, are growing revenue 100 percent-plus year over year with a profit. 250ok is a perfect example of this."

Arthur has invested in 25 companies across 17 cities, including Seattle-based Avalara, and Atlanta-based Terminus. 250ok is its first Indiana investment.

The name 250ok comes from "250 OK," a signal that a receiving mail server sends a sending mail server when a command is accepted, Kraios said.

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