Jonathan Herrick, a St. Louis entrepreneur who’s now CEO of Benchmark, has been helping to push the company’s fast-paced growth curve. Since Herrick’s former company Hatchbuck merged with Benchmark Email in September 2019, the newly combined companies made a number of acquisitions to help fuel growth.
In January, the company raised $3 million in debt financing. He says the company opted to go that direction because, as a SaaS company, debt financing made sense because the company was highly profitable, had cash flow and because the business was growing there was no need to give away equity.
“As part of fundraising, from a CEO perspective, it's not when you need funds, it's constantly,” he says. “You're always building relationships and networking with VCs, PE firms and banks that understand the SaaS model.”
Benchmark’s most recent acquisition is Contacts+, which it bought in February. The conversations for that deal started last summer.
“Deals take time,” Herrick says. “And we started building a relationship with them. FullContact was the parent company of Contacts+. We had already had a vendor relationship with them. So we knew of them, they knew of us and so that made for a smoother transaction. We acquired them in January of this year. Contacts+ is a content management app that syncs contacts across all your devices. They serve a ton of industries including wealth management, investment firms, real estate firms, so there's natural synergy with the content management of Contacts+ and the CRM, the email marketing tools we have at benchmark.”
Next on the growth horizon for the company is more acquisitions.
“There's always work to do when you acquire companies, so we're in growth mode right now,” he says. “I'll be looking at acquisitions towards Q4 this year. We have some significant opportunities already in the deal pipeline. But for us right now it's really focusing on our core customer, making sure we're delivering a great experience across all of our products and unifying our company to have more clarity and more focus across all products in all regions.”
Herrick talked more with Neal Furlong, senior wealth advisor at HighTower St. Louis Wealth Advisors, about the company, how it got to where it is and where it’s going at the St. Louis Smart Business Dealmakers Conference. Hit play on the video below to catch the full conversation.