Neha is the CEO of Contentstack. An outspoken advocate for women in leadership, she can often be found appearing on keynote stages or expert panels discussing her experiences as an entrepreneur and the future of headless CMS technology.
Posts by Neha Sampat
Enabling excellence within an organization
I grew up professionally as a marketer in tech. I experienced the frustration of wanting to do so much creatively but often being hampered by my technical ability. That’s one of the things that drove us over 10 years ago to create a product that democratized that ability for marketers. People like me — marketers inside enterprise companies — no longer had to feel stifled. Those with technical abilities could focus on innovation instead of responding to another ticket from marketing. Everyone could do their best work on the wings of speed, flexibility and scalability.But product excellence alone doesn’t cut it anymore. If you don’t believe me, read this quote from Christopher Lochhead and then get some fresh air.“The easiest competitor to crush is the one who thinks the best product wins.” An excellent product is table stakes. One of the clearest ways to set your brand apart is through customer experience. According to Gartner, it drives more loyalty than brand and price combined.In a recent People Changing Enterprises episode, Golfbreaks’ Head of Digital Jon Richards reveals that customer experience is their competitive advantage. When you’re helping golfers’ dreams come true by booking bucket list vacations all around the world, it has to be. One bad experience can be the point of no return.Here are some lessons I’ve learned about excellence from years of building customer-centric companies and helping them surprise and delight their customers every day.People + tech make it happenI run a tech company, but I can’t claim excellence is all about the tech. We’d be nowhere without our tribe.Tech enables people to excel. People have the ideas and build the relationships; tech helps them bring those ideas to life.When the pandemic hit, you can imagine how it wreaked havoc on the Golfbreaks business. But their tech stack allowed them to pivot into customer service mode. They quickly spun off an app focused solely on refunds — which they knew, from listening to their customer service agents, was the only thing top-of-mind for their customers during that time.That sole focus worked; Golfbreaks retained 80% of that business once travel opened up again.John also shared another human-centric example of how tech and people combine to achieve greatness. Travel comes with delays, long lines, crowds, missing drivers and more that can lead to grumpy customers. But tech allows Golfbreaks to stay notified up-to-the-minute and alleviate any grumpiness.So, when they know their customers are arriving much later than expected at their hotels after a long day of travel, they will find a special treat — imagine warm cups of coffee and cookies courtesy of Golfbreaks. Excellence should be enabled and measuredExcellence might seem like a nebulous KPI to track. But here’s how we’ve broken it down at Contentstack when it comes to customer experience:Inspiration: Do we have the right feedback loops to inspire and be inspired by customers and each other? For us, this can look like Customer Advisory Boards where customers and Contentstack come together for moderated discussions, Slack channels where we share wins and customer success stories, or inviting our customers to share their stories in our customer community or at internal company events. Innovation: Do we have enough time and resources to think and build bigger? We build that time into our workflow. For example, we have several special project sprints per year of which 80% are allocated to innovation projects. (The other 20% of sprint time addresses priority customer requests.)Measurement: Customer retention and expansion paint the best picture for us. Even better is when our customers become our champions and choose to share their stories externally — through our podcast, ContentCon customer conference, or even through media.Here’s something I love about excellence: It can be achieved no matter the size of your organization. Levis employs over 15,000 people. Few would deny their greatness. Golfbreaks employs just over 140.Contentstack was just as committed to customer success when we were starting out as we are today as a 400 plus person company. With the right people you can always reach for excellence — and the right tech makes the dream possible.
Thriving in complexity: organization, process, clarity
I’ve worn out the repeat button on this video. It features Duke women’s basketball coach Kara Lawson being straight with her team: “If you have a meaningful pursuit in life, it will never be easy. What happens is you handle hard better.” As Lawson explains, waiting for things to get easier means you're never conquering the next challenge. You’re just waiting for a shift outside of yourself to happen. And that may never happen. The shift has to come from within. In a lot of ways, thriving in complexity is a mindset shift. I've worked hard at that myself by building resilience, learning from rejection and purposefully celebrating big and small wins. But I also know that leaders can help their people and partners thrive in the “hard.” They don’t have to go at it alone. Complexity is a given for growing companies. We see it every day as we scale, innovate and support partners through change. For example, a recent survey we conducted showed less than half of retailers believe they can effectively manage their digital operations over the next 12 months. That’s proof that complexity can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.I agree with what the Icelandair content team — Hallur Þór Halldórsson (digital product manager), Edvardas Paskevicius (content manager), and Óskar Völundarson (UX copywriter) — said on our “People Changing Enterprises” podcast. “We love processes, organization and clarity.”Helping people thrive in complexity requires those three things. I’ll detail them below.Organize teams to give people authorityAt Contentstack, we use the RACI methodology to get clarity on roles and responsibilities. At the onset of big, collaborative projects, the leads outline who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. Everyone signs off on that document so there is no question down the line who has the authority to make decisions. What I love about the methodology is that job titles don’t come into play — a junior person can have more authority than a senior one depending on the specific initiative.One thing Icelandair did to establish authority was create a Content Center of Excellence. Before that, Hallur described it as “a bit chaotic.” He explained: “There were a lot of good people contributing even though they weren’t brought up within content…. We also relied on a lot of third parties that didn’t always see eye to eye.”In other words, lots of complexity.The Center of Excellence moved Icelandair from chaos to organized by building authority. As a unit, they developed expertise and made changes to easily recognize it across the organization. One move they made was to update titles from Content Manager to to UX Writer. “It gave us more leeway into actually working on the copy we got, not just receiving content and making it ‘live.’ We had the authority to say this needs to be better and we can improve it,” shared Hallur.Build processes that simplify complexityWhen you’re swimming in a sea of complexity, the waters can seem rough. Processes can help calm them. If the next step or the point of contact for tasks are clearly defined, people don't have to guess. Guessing leaves room for error.Icelandair largely focused on minimizing the possibility of error. Not in a way that stifled scalability or innovation, but instead in a way that removed doubt. For example, the content team made certain fields mandatory and limited access to specific areas of the CMS so web management didn’t run wild. Using Contentstack also gave them a level of freedom knowing, as Edvardas explained, that “when things break or hiccups come up — like issues with third-party integrations — we know we can always roll it back easily.”We help build structures and processes outside our organization to help customers take on the challenge of moving from legacy CMS systems to composable ones. This includes our Community, where users interact with each other and our experts to share experiences, answer questions and offer inspiration. It also includes being one of the founding members of the MACH Alliance, an industry-wide organization that helps enterprises shift from tech stack to suites to meet — and even anticipate — consumer demand.Clarify desired outcomesWe use #OneTeamOneDream as a rallying cry at Contentstack for a specific reason: It unifies people around a common goal. For us, that goal is to make Contentstack indispensable in helping enterprises tell stories and connect with customers.Explicitly communicating a desired outcome is critical when working with people and teams with different perspectives across the globe. When it works, that difference is a plus; the perspectives help illuminate diverse ideas tied to achieving an outcome. The organization moves from us vs. them mentality to every team for the greater goal. That minimizes complexity.When it doesn’t work and teams keep strictly to their perspectives, they can become blockers to the end goal and complexity spreads.Icelandair’s content team became outcome oriented — shifting to a customer-first content lens — instead of department oriented. As Hallur said, “It became about what the customer needs to hear instead of just what the company wants to stay.”That outcome serves as a lighthouse in the sea of complexity.Coach Lawson said it best: “Hard will not go away.” It’s tough for me to even think back to a day over the last decade as an entrepreneur when I didn’t experience one or several complex challenges. But processes, organization and clarity help. I know Icelandair would say the same.
Creating a culture of empowerment
Most people would say a CEO's primary responsibilities are things like "maximizing profits" and "building operational efficiencies." I believe my job is about rallying, unblocking and getting out of the way. It's simple: We focus on hiring people with skills that make us stronger and more diversified. Why wouldn't we want to unleash those skills and see where it takes us?But a culture of empowerment doesn't just happen, despite everyone's best intentions. Leaders have to enable it with systems and structures. In our latest People Changing Enterprises podcast, Sommsation CEO Danielle Diliberti shared her employee empowerment tips. Here, I also share mine. What I loved most was how she boiled it down to "being a good team member." It really can be that simple.Make the transfer of knowledge a priorityYou will grow nowhere if one person is the designated collector of knowledge. What happens when that person leaves? Their absence leaves a gaping hole, and everyone else starts at zero.As you grow, there is more work, and you have to move quicker within a more complex environment. Any barriers to speed must be removed. Spreading knowledge is one way to remove those barriers. Transferring knowledge gets your organization to the next level.Danielle shared an awesome framework she's used as she's scaled: the 3-3-3 rule.The first three: As a leader, if you want to train someone, you must have done something 3000 or three times. (In a hypergrowth company, new challenges present themselves every day. I get it!)The second three: At this point, you move on to having that person shadow you in that role three times.The final three: Here, the leader shadows the employee to ensure that the full transfer of knowledge loop is closed.As Danielle said, "Passing, the torch really does help everyone. The whole team gets smarter, the business becomes more valuable, and you can move a lot faster. The investment up front will pay dividends in the long run."Build cross-functional connections It's easy for everyone to "stay within their lane." In our location-neutral world, it's become even more of the default. But if you want to build a culture of empowerment, leaders must break down that default bit by bit.Within organizations, empowerment comes from what you know and also who you know. We incentivize cross-functional and cross-geographic connections. We enter anyone at Contentstack who sets up a 30-minute zoom call with somebody in a different department into a gift card raffle. What has made it even more special is that participants started sharing pictures of the conversations on Slack with some fun facts about the other person. It has become an awesome way to build connections. Those connections come in handy. If you've ever wanted an answer at an organization that nobody around you is equipped to give, you understand. If someone unexpected from across your organization has ever called you for your experience and input, you also get it. Connections build confidence in your position and contributions at a company. Confidence is required for real empowerment to break through.Danielle hosts "Summits" at Sommsation, bringing together cross-functional groups in person to align on roadmaps for different areas of the business. We do quarterly, in-person meetings with our executive team ("The Dreamguard") and more.These efforts also make our hybrid and remote cultures more tangible.Create an open-door policySometimes it's nerve-wracking for leaders to "get out of the way." You can be left wondering if things will get done well. You know the way you would do it.But the truth is "getting things done well" and "the way you would do it" are not the same. There is often more than one way to reach an end goal. Believe me, this is coming from someone who bootstrapped one company for 10 years and exited without a banker.Fight the urge to do. Instead, assess everyone's level of skills and confidence and then create an open door policy as they do.Not everything will go off without a hitch. That's okay. Encourage your team to come to you with questions, concerns and potential solutions. Hear them out, and work with them on those solutions. I always start my open door policy conversations with: “This is a place and space with no judgment.”Part of the open door policy is spotting when you may need to step in. In Danielle's previous experience as the CTO at The St. James, she realized the legacy CMS was hampering their agility. Their marketing team relied on developers to make updates to content, which could take weeks. It wasn't sustainable for a business focused on delivering customers personalized, of-the-moment health and wellness experiences. She stepped in to usher in a new MACH-technology era at The St. James. Without that transformation, her other people empowerment strategies wouldn't go far.We say it often: Innovation will come from your people. It's probably more accurate to say: Innovation will come from your people only if they are empowered. Focus on transferring knowledge, building connections and creating an open door policy as a leader, and the skills you hired for will be the skills that take your organization into the future.
How to have difficult conversations with your CFO
I've heard CFOs described as executives who are "exceptional at finding the smartest way to say no." While there may be some truth to that, CFOs are also motivated by the smartest reasons to say yes.When that clicked for me earlier in my career, my approach to CFO conversations shifted. It wasn't about drowning them in data or trying to convince them my idea was the one; it was about painting a picture.That picture should tell a simple story: where the organization is now and where it could be if we make a change. As Chief Digital Officer of Dawn Foods Bob Howland said in a recent episode of the People Changing Enterprises podcast: "Everyone wants to be part of success. Everyone wants to be part of the future."Given the economic environment, many of us are having more conversations with finance than we're used to. So, I thought I'd share some of my strategies for fruitful CFO conversations here.Face Issues Early and Head-OnDawn Foods' Bob Howland calls this: "Be the bringer of bad news." Howland joined Dawn Foods in 2019 to propel the 100-year-old baking ingredients company into its next 100 years. Before Howland, orders were only taken by hand. His "bad news" was that their future wasn't bright if they didn't become an agile organization. Digital transformation hit the baking industry, too.And he told the CFO that within his first few days on the job. Talk about early. But he also came up with a solution: to release a beta ecommerce site in six weeks built on composable architectures and get some results. That eventually became a full-blown solution in 22 weeks.As Bob said, "If something is broken, tell the people that should know right away. Then figure out what's the action and who should take it?""Broken" to a CFO typically boils down to one of two things: something is costing us (or will cost us) a lot of money with no return in the long run or competition is eating our lunch. Know what the problem is going in and get rid of the noise around it to focus your conversation with the CFO. Noise can be anything from emotion, to office politics, to vanity issues that don't get you closer to the heart of the problem.Find a Common LanguageThere's a reason I'm CEO and David Overmyer is Contentstack's CFO: Finance is not my area of expertise. But, here's the thing. We share a passion, which is scaling high-performing organizations in sustainable and purpose-filled ways. So, when we talk about allocating money, the underlying question isn't how much it will cost, but where will that spend take us?We focus on a few key metrics for business-as-usual meetings. Those include ARR, CAC, gross margins, and customer retention. When new opportunities arise, we agree on the overriding KPIs together and then dig deeper.Come up with a common language upfront. Don't risk derailing a meeting with jargon. Once questions like "what does that mean" start springing up, you've lost your way.Let me challenge you with one additional perspective on common language: It doesn't have to be about words or numbers. Values can take the lead.When March 2020 hit, a lot of companies responded with layoffs. Since David and I agreed when we first started working together that taking care of our people was our highest priority, we came up with creative solutions — executive pay cuts, investing in training and development — to pandemic problems. For us, brains and heart matter.Find (or Make) an AdvocateIf you're as lucky as I was with David, you may make an ally out of your CFO. I would go so far as calling him a mentor. But for most people, that's out of reach. In the podcast, Howland shared the golden question that opened the door toward marketing/finance partnership and transformation: "Who is the most trusted person on your team?"Howland turned that person into an e-commerce expert and an advocate. It took time and education. Mostly, it took enablement — sharing information and allowing him to come to his conclusions. Author Bernard Desmidt called this mindset "win with" vs. "win over" in CFO Magazine this year.Allowing this slow journey to unfold builds trust, which improves the relationship and, ultimately, the organization in the long run.I was lucky early in my career to participate in Crucial Conversations training. A lot of that training is reflected in this piece. In Crucial Conversations, opinions tend to differ, and the stakes and emotions are high. Conversations with finance are often like this.But if handled properly, these conversations can create breakthroughs that unlock the potential of people and organizations.
Contentstack Makes “MACH Speed” a Reality with New Acquisition
I am excited to announce a significant addition to Contentstack that not only represents a massive investment into our partner and customer success, but also celebrates a full-circle achievement that truly challenges the status quo.We are adding more than 50 world-class CMS and integration experts from the CMS division of Raw Engineering, a digital solutions company I co-founded in 2007. This acquisition includes experts who were part of the original team that pioneered headless CMS (and who knew they were on to something big). Fast forward to today, we’re bringing this additional expertise to the Contentstack community in the form of Enablement Services. This allows us to not only instantly scale our Catalyst partner program and Care Without Compromise™, but it also makes a microservices, API-first, cloud-native SaaS, and headless (MACH) approach more achievable for every organization. Expertise and guidance are essential for accelerating the shift from monolithic suites to agile technology stacks. Contentstack’s new Enablement Services will provide access to CMS and MACH subject matter experts who will contribute technical know-how and tooling to make the journey to MACH faster than ever. The team will accelerate product innovation across the Contentstack ecosystem by contributing blueprints, integrations, developer resources, and ecosystem enablement services. Now enterprises can more easily realize their innovation potential and achieve their digital transformation goals. Together, the Contentstack tribe, our customers, and our catalysts will challenge the industry to never settle for the status quo.
“B” Stands for “Believe” – and $57.5 Million!
Today marks another milestone at Contentstack! We announced our $57.5 million series B financing, bringing our total capital raised to $89 million!Putting The Capital To Work In the 21 months since we raised our series A financing, we have seen unprecedented demand for a better way to manage content. Helping customers realize their visions during the pandemic has brought the Contentstack tribe a great deal of joy in an otherwise tumultuous time. We anticipate a few key areas of added investment, including:International expansion - The EMEA market is the clear leader for international growth for this space, and Contentstack will continue to invest in growing its team and customer base in Europe and the UK. Increased market adoption in LATAM and APAC calls for new investments in these regions to meet this growing demand.Catalyst Ecosystem - Contentstack’s partnership program (the Catalysts) has grown into a thriving ecosystem of technology, digital agencies, and system integration partners worldwide. Continuing to invest in those relationships and related joint go-to-market activity will support mutual growth.Innovation & R&D - With over 200 feature releases and enhancements delivered last year, our innovation engine is already firing on all cylinders. The additional firepower (both capital and technology) Georgian brings to the table allows us to supercharge and accelerate a number of exciting projects that have been incubating in the Contentstack Labs. More on that soon... Who’s On The Boat? I often liken my entrepreneurial journey to a sailboat voyage. Who you have on the boat is extremely important as they are the players that help you weather a storm, navigate rough waters, and have your back along the way. And when it’s smooth sailing, everyone gets to have a little fun together! In addition to the Contentstack tribe, investors play an important role on this journey, and I’m super proud of who’s on the boat with us!Insight Partners - Lead investor Insight Partners has been much more than an investor. They’ve become a true member of the Contentstack tribe with Teddie Wardi serving as an invaluable sounding board and thought partner as we weathered the storm together through 2020. Insight has directly supported our growth by leveraging its network and programs. Additionally, Insight showed how to move beyond lip service and into action to demonstrate our combined commitment to values. As an example, with Insight’s support, select portfolio CEOs united to deliver the “Insight ScaleUp Pledge,” delivering commitments to move the needle on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in our companies. We are thrilled to continue working with Insight into our next phase of growth.Georgian Partners - We are excited to welcome Georgian and Emily Walsh to the Contentstack tribe. Georgian brings unique A.I. product expertise to the table, which will help accelerate A.I. as a superpower for Contentstack’s enterprise customers. Georgian’s social impact commitment was icing on the cake. Their Higher Purpose report includes several examples of how the firm gives back to the community and plays a role in moving the needle in STEM education.Participation from all Existing Investors - Rounding it out, existing investors Cindy Padnos from Illuminate Ventures and Linnea Roberts from GingerBread Capital participated in the series B to recommit to our next stage of growth.Moving the Needle - In a world in which less than 3% of all VC capital goes to female-led startups and less than 5% of all investors are women, I’m proud to have the conviction and support of three female investors in Contentstack. What’s Different from Series A?When we raised our series A, the market for an API-first content management solution was still emerging. Since then, there have been new entrants, a significant growth in market adoption, and an incredible amount of momentum to signify that “headless” or “API-first” content management is the future. As a category, we have turned the corner from less educating to much more order taking.Growth - Since the series A, we saw over 150% growth of our customer base and more than doubled the number of Fortune 1000 companies using Contentstack.The Forrester Wave™ - We have seen the shift of digital content beyond the web for years. In February 2021, Contentstack was named a Strong Performer in the Forrester Wave for Agile CMS as a brand new entrant. Further, Contentstack excelled with the strongest channel support in this evaluation.MACH Alliance - As one of the four founding companies of the MACH Alliance, Contentstack is leading one of the largest technology shifts in decades. This new MACH (Microservices, APIs, Cloud, Headless) architecture provides companies a better alternative to the decades-old software suites. Even our fiercest competitors are joining (or wanting to join) the MACH Alliance because we all believe that the time for monolithic suites has passed. Digital Acceleration and Enterprise ScaleWhat no one could have anticipated in the last 18 months is the impact of a pandemic on the business. COVID-19 was the digital accelerant of the decade, according to a recent study from Twilio, as it expedited companies’ digital communications strategy by an average of six years. We are now amidst a $30B market opportunity over the next four years, which nearly tripled since 2019. Trends in e-commerce growth and the breadth of digital omnichannel use cases are key drivers.60X Scale - Contentstack is used as the core content hub for most customers. As a result, the amount of digital content powered by Contentstack grew a staggering 60X over the same time period before the series A. Individual customers now serve billions of API calls a day and petabytes of content to their audiences every month. In contrast, other headless CMS players serve SMB sites with much less traffic and platform scale. Contentstack delivers in a single day what most others do in a month.Growth Drivers - Although retail had a tough year in 2020, every national market saw double-digit ecommerce growth. This — coupled with the focus on more personalized digital experiences — is driving brands to consider new MACH-based solutions ranging from A.I. and personalization tools to more modern e-commerce and content management platforms.Project Venus - At Contentstack we believe that when business users and developers work together effectively, they achieve superior results for their organization. That’s why we give both the same attention, and it’s also why we completely reimagined the CMS experience for both – ensuring that Contentstack is appealing and intuitive for technical and non-technical content collaborators alike. We really do believe no one should have to read a manual to bring content experiences to life. We couldn’t have done it without you. Certainly this is a huge milestone for the company and for me as a founder and entrepreneur. I am filled with a sense of joy for how far we’ve come and with a greater sense of responsibility for where we are going next. I’m so excited for the next stage of this journey, and I have so much appreciation for all of the players that helped us get here.The Contentstack Tribe - At Contentstack, we are more than just colleagues; we are a tribe. The dedication across the entire organization is what keeps me going. This tribe encompasses a #OneTeamOneDream spirit like no other. Thank you for your hard work and for inspiring me to do better every day.Customers - Support pours in from customers like Chico’s, HP, Icelandair, Mattel, McDonald’s, Riot Games, and SAP. Customers who are changing the digital game push us to innovate and scale as their strategic partners. Thank you for your trust.Catalysts - Together, this ecosystem of partners is changing the digital game for good. Thank you to our catalyst community for challenging us to deliver the best solution in this space while sharing our Care without Compromise™ approach to supporting customers.Investors - And finally, thank you to our investors at Insight Partners, Georgian Partners, Illuminate Ventures and GingerBread Capital who believe in this team to break through and win this space. With series B fundraising complete, I am excited for what lies ahead. As we like to say at Contentstack…Chalo, let’s go!!
Contentstack Named a Strong Performer in Agile CMS
It’s a proud day here at Contentstack. Being named a Strong Performer in The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021 is the culmination of years of work and dedication from a team that was determined that there is a better way. Our better way is paved with a set of universal truths that I'd like to take you through.We are API-first Pioneers Years ago, before we were Contentstack, large organizations would hire our consulting company, Raw Engineering, to implement content management systems like Tridion, Sitecore, and Drupal in order to launch new web experiences. We felt the pain our clients felt trying to use these monolith technology suites to build new experiences for new channels. The world had changed but the technology options had not. In September 2011, our robotics client was attempting to use a traditional CMS to deliver content to its gaming robots and the cloud. Contentstack’s Founder and CTO Nishant Patel had had enough.“It was time to move on from the architecture of the 90s,” said Nishant, “which was still the default when our team built the first version of Contentstack. Long before the industry coined today’s buzzword, it was clear to our team that the move to a cloud-based, API-first architecture was as superior as it was inevitable. What was viewed as a leap of faith a decade ago has since become the mainstream approach for technology leaders.” Nishant sent around a message to his team at Raw Engineering with the mandate “We need to build a simpler CMS.” We had our Contentstack “Hello World” in October 2011, and our first customers in production by January 2012. This was the birth of API-first CMS. Next Your CMS’ is a Mindset Shift In 2018, Contentstack spun out of Raw Engineering to continue the dedicated journey of delivering a way to “Next Your CMS.” Given we had a proven product, enterprise customers and revenue, we were able to stay laser-focused on growth and execution before raising our $31.5M Series A from Insight Partners in late 2019. We built Contentstack to address the challenges innovative brands were facing nearly a decade ago. And those challenges have amplified into significant problems that every organization faces today. We knew at that time, there needs to be a better way. And as the market evolved, we did, too. The common thread for companies leading in digital is more than a shift to modern technology adoption; it’s a shift in mindset. This starts with understanding the players. It’s no longer acceptable for Marketers or IT to make technology decisions in siloes. Instead, all practitioners – from content creators to developers – have a seat at the table. The magic starts to happen when these players come together and realize that technology limits are no longer their barrier. The barrier lies only in their ability to think differently or dream bigger. “We don’t think of ourselves as a sales team as much as we think of ourselves as a partner in shifting this mindset. While getting to know prospects, we take the time to share what we believe is a better way to deliver on digital initiatives. By partnering with our prospects and customers in this mindset transformation, we’re not only a part of their journey, but we have an emotional stake in sharing their goals and seeing them succeed.” - G Vuckovic “EVP, Enterprise Global Sales at ContentstackBest Omnichannel Support Today, we get the opportunity to work with incredible brands like American Eagle Outfitters, Chase, Chico’s, EXPRESS, Icelandair, The Miami HEAT, Modcloth, Mitsubishi Electric, Morningstar, Promod, RetailmeNot, Sephora, Shell, 8x8, 1-800-Flowers, and many more. Brands turn to Contentstack to build digital experiences when they’ve hit limits on innovation from legacy vendors. Powering websites and mobile apps that drive billions of dollars in revenue is just the tip of the iceberg. Contentstack can enhance every digital experience for tens of millions of online gamers, elevates the in-store experiences for the world’s leading retail brands, and is the foundation for everything from digital conferences to sports events. Contentstack delivers on the true promise of delivering digital experiences to the right audience — at the right time — on any channel.“Contentstack excels with the strongest channel support in this evaluation. It offers superior support in decoupled delivery from its headless roots and experience management capabilities to deliver content to omnichannel endpoints.” - [The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021]Stacks Not Suites With single-vendor technology platforms, organizations run the risk of locking themselves into a closed set of capabilities, dependent on the vendor for infrequent and bulky releases. Contentstack was born into the notion that the better way to architect solutions is by compiling the best-of-breed solutions. Rising to be at the forefront of this shift requires a different approach to working, backed by a software ecosystem that provides a flexible, truly open and future-proof architecture. That’s why we co-founded the MACH Alliance – to help companies take advantage of the most innovative and flexible enterprise technologies and break the release cycle. The Alliance’s mission is to future-proof enterprise technology and to propel current and future digital experiences with open and connected enterprise tech. Collectively The MACH Alliance represents the next generation of technology and business.“CMS in the enterprises used to mean making all sorts of binary choices – capability vs usability, speed vs stability, more power to marketing vs more power to IT. Contentstack’s founding belief was that there has to be a better way. Amidst the industry’s shift to Agile CMS and the strong momentum behind MACH, it is clear that the better way has become a reality. For enterprise brands this means they can now have it all – a truly best-in-class “content stack” that is superior in every way compared to the single-vendor CMS suite of yesteryear.” - Matthew Baier, Co-Founder and COO at Contentstack Contentstack also launched its Catalyst program in 2020 dramatically increasing the ecosystem of technology partners, system integrators and digital agencies to help brands deliver on their most innovative digital initiatives. We also kicked off a comprehensive certification and credentialing program. Our Catalysts quickly embraced the ability to grow their corporate resume with their staff earning multifaceted credentials.“We partner strategically with like-minded companies representing modern and MACH-based architectures via our Contentstack Catalysts program. Over the last year. we have built alliances across complementary technology categories – including commerce, document asset management, marketing automation, personalization, analytics – and now partner with leading digital agencies and integrators all across the globe.” - Peter Fogelsanger, Head of Partnerships at ContentstackCare Without Compromise™ Contentstack understands the challenges of implementing new software. While we partner with prospects in the sales cycle, we stand by our commitment to customers to ensure a successful deployment and continue to partner with customers as their delivery of digital experiences evolves. This approach has resulted in best-in-class customer satisfaction and ratings.“Customer references liked the headless capabilities that allow them to deliver content to multiple channels, with one customer reference saying, “It’s been very easy to work with as a developer and very easy for our business users to use.” Contentstack is a good fit for tech-smart retail and financial services companies looking for a modern, headless-first CMS.” - [The Forrester Wave™: Agile Content Management Systems (CMSes), Q1 2021] Greg Luciano leads customer relations globally for Contentstack and we jokingly call him Mr. 100 because he strives to keep 100% of our customers happy and retained. He recently reported on “How We Achieved 99.999% Customer Retention During the Pandemic.” Greg and his team nurture Contentstack customer relationships by establishing deep-rooted trust through his integrity, dedication, and empathy – and by always putting the customer first.“With our professional services and cloud integration background, we’ve been intimately involved with the challenges customers face when deploying and connecting new digital experiences. Having been developers, content editors and implementers ourselves, we are able to help customers get ahead of their challenges and ensure that they are successful using Contentstack. Further, we proactively monitor customer environments through our unique ‘mission control’ capabilities to predict any roadblocks customers may encounter before they become an issue. This has led to a 97% NPS score setting the bar for customer care without compromise.” - Greg Luciano, Sr. Director of Global Customer SuccessThank YouTHANK YOU to our customers for trusting us with your mission-critical digital initiatives and channels.THANK YOU to our partners who are moving the industry forward via our Catalysts program and the MACH AllianceTHANK YOU to my Contentstack tribe for making our original dream a reality. #OneTeamOneDream is our company’s rallying cry and it’s never felt more appropriate.THANK YOU to Forrester for recognizing and memorializing this extraordinary moment. The CMS industry has a long, rich history, yet really the journey is only just beginning. On a personal level and, on behalf of all of Contentstack, this is an incredible milestone we will certainly never forget. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that the best is yet to come.
Driving Continuous Evolution with a Shared Product Mindset
Successful strategic partnerships begin with a shared mindset, which is why Contentstack and 3Pillar Global have joined forces to accelerate digital product development growth for technology and service providers. True digital leaders know products are never done, and a shared product mindset is the key to moving faster in today’s digital economy. Shared Values Shared values lie at the core of any successful digital transformation. Without a unified strategy, most teams won’t get far. 3Pillar and Contentstack share a customer-centric vision focused on solving the tough problems businesses face today. To solve those problems, the entire organization - from the C-suite to the engineering team - must understand the end goal. Who are we building for? What do our customers need? What business outcomes are we working to achieve? Thinking Differently About Software Development In order to move ahead in today’s digital economy, businesses must think differently about the way software products are created. Teams who adopt a product mindset know that great products are never done; they continue to evolve as customer needs change. Successful digital products must be chosen by customers and they continue to provide value for the business. Without these three key components, most digital products will fail. The Future of Digital Product Development Successful product innovation also requires a strategic understanding of customer needs. End users want their data and content to be aggregated, personalized, and dynamic. The days of long-term roadmaps are long gone; products must now be able to launch quickly, with room for improvements and updates along the way. Cutting-edge innovators must take risks and step outside of their current technology comfort zones to provide the quickest solutions to customers’ most challenging problems. This starts with a shared strategic mindset. True digital transformation requires more than a basic understanding of current trends and cutting-edge technology. Organizations must develop a strategic vision with a product mindset that drives every member of the team. Leaders must guide and empower teams to make smart decisions and build with the end-user in mind. Having the right technology is only one step in the transformation process. Is your team building with the right mindset? About 3Pillar: 3Pillar Global builds innovative, revenue-generating software products, enabling businesses to quickly turn ideas into value. 3Pillar balances business-minded thinking with engineering expertise in disruptive technologies such as mobile, cloud, and big data to develop products that meet real business needs. To date, 3Pillar’s products have driven over $1 billion in revenue for industry leaders like CARFAX, PBS, and numerous others.
Our Series A and the Future of Contentstack
Today, Contentstack announced a $31.5M Series A led by Insight Ventures, marking an incredibly significant milestone for the company and our entire team. Two years ago, we recognized a seismic shift in how companies were managing content and digital experiences. To realize the full potential of this for the company and our customers, we made the decision to spin Contentstack out of my prior company, Built.io. Seven quarters in, I couldn’t be prouder of the product and the team. I’ve been fortunate to build a leadership team that embodies trust, respect and collaboration unlike any other company or team I’ve experienced. As a result, the #OneTeamOneDream culture permeates throughout the organization. It enables people to challenge themselves in a supportive environment to do the best work of their career, while simultaneously delivering an exceptional experience to our customers. We received the official news of the funding round closing while the 2018 Winner’s Circle team (aka Honeybadgers Club!) was celebrating together in Los Gaviotas, Mexico. It was an incredible moment to be able to share with the team that worked so hard to help us achieve this milestone! The funding comes during an incredible year for Contentstack, with sales for the first half of 2019 having grown more than 4X compared to the same period in 2018. By addressing growing market demand for modern content infrastructure, Contentstack has quickly slid into the leadership position for Content Experiences and has received the highest Customers’ Choice ratings in the entire content management category, as documented publicly on Gartner’s Peer Insights portal. Unfiltered and direct from customers, this recognition is a powerful testament to Contentstack’s commitment to customer success and continued innovation. There’s also a very detailed full report on how Contentstack is different from the many other CMS platforms out there – again, as judged by customers. While we were going through the fundraising process, we had incredible support from countless customers willing to speak with investors, partners and press about their positive experience with Contentstack. For every customer who took time out of their busy schedules to support us in this milestone, I send you my deepest appreciation. During this process, one our our most active customers told investors that Contentstack has the ability to dwarf the strategic importance of Slack and JIRA throughout their organization. It is not lost on me that such conviction has to be earned and I know that our entire team will continue to work tirelessly to be deserving of your trust each and every day. I’m also proud to state that this sizable early stage funding round helps improve, even if slightly, the statistics related to funding companies with women founders. While there is still more work to be done, this is a shout out to our amazing funding partners at Insight for moving the needle. Also, a special thank you to our seed investors Cindy Padnos from Illuminate Ventures and Linnea Roberts from Gingerbread Capital who believed in our vision from day one and are continuing their support by participating in this latest round of funding. Partnering with Insight was a deliberate move for many reasons. As a Silicon Valley company expanding to new markets, we were especially attracted to their global reach and strength in European markets. Insight’s knowledge across the marketing stack, previous experience in the content management space, and center of excellence model in supporting portfolio companies are all attractive traits. Further, we are looking forward to working closely with Teddie Wardi, who has joined Contentstack’s Board of Managers. “We believe that Contentstack is poised to revolutionize how companies engage their customers. Organizations can now turn their ideas into content, and content into revenue faster than ever. The seasoned team, the company’s growth trajectory and best-in-class technology is a rare trifecta for a Series A investment. Scores of prestigious global brands are entrusting Contentstack with their digital experiences and we are excited to add further fuel to this rocketship.” - Teddie Wardi, Managing Director @ Insight Partners With support from Insight, we will deliver the most powerful omnichannel digital experiences to global brands who want to inspire and delight their customers. For integrators and implementers and agencies looking for new revenue opportunities: This is it, this is the big shift in digital content that has been building up for decades. Let’s build the future together. If you are looking for new revenue opportunities, new ideas and real innovation, we look forward to hearing from you. And to our most tuned-in competitors, let the games begin!
Built.io Joins Software AG
Today, we are proud and excited to share some BIG NEWS: As you might have seen from the press announcement, our sister company Built.io and its award winning integration platform Built.io Flow have a new home! Software AG, the global software powerhouse headquartered in Germany, has just acquired Built.io – you can read the official announcement on the Built.io blog. IMPORTANT: All Contentstack customers and partners can expect business as usual. Contentstack remains your digital content hub and digital content experience engine with the ability to use Built.io Flow to power integrations – now under the new Software AG banner. Contentstack has already been flourishing as an independent company since the beginning of the year. Our leadership and the entire Contentstack team – myself included – remain committed to making Contentstack the world’s leading digital content hub. We will continue to power the most amazing, content-driven, digital experiences. If you’ve been a fan of Built.io and are wondering what our “next big thing” is going to be… Contentstack is it! :-) Meanwhile, please join me in congratulating the entire Built.io team for this amazing news and Software AG for what history will confirm to be one of its smartest, most impactful acquisitions!! Thanks, Neha Sampat CEO of Contentstack Co-Founder and former CEO at Built.io
The Digital Fan Experience Platform: A Slam Dunk For SportsTech
Yesterday, we formally announced our first solution at the intersection of “physical” and “digital” worlds: the Digital Fan Experience Platform. This solution comprises Built.io’s three award-winning products and an ecosystem of partner offerings, specifically designed for the sports and entertainment vertical. With sports teams embracing the opportunity to connect and engage with fans and delight ticket holders with exciting, bespoke experiences, the Digital Fan Experience Platform offers teams and sports franchises the ability to create innovative digital experiences that keeps fans coming back for more. What Is the Digital Fan Experience? The Digital Fan Experience Platform offers highly customizable building blocks that allow sports brands to blend physical and digital aspects of both games and venue to deliver impactful, tailored sports experiences. This new offering from Built.io provides a complete software platform that embraces and extends the physical infrastructure of any arena or stadium, turning it into a smart, connected space bursting with personalized, realtime, futuristic interactions that help make every fan feel like a VIP. The platform itself features industrial-grade, cutting edge technology to create and scale applications across mobile, web and IoT. It incorporates digital innovation such as bots and A.I., AR and VR, as well as sensors, beacons and drones to allow sports brands to continuously evolve their desired fan experiences. It also makes it easy to aggregate and deliver compelling content to the right device at the right time: laptops, mobile phones, smartwatches, VR headsets, in-arena jumbotrons and more. How Does It Work? Under the hood, the Digital Fan Experience Platform is supported by Built.io’s three core products, Built.io Flow, an iPaaS, Built.io Contentstack, a headless CMS, and Built.io Backend, an mBaaS. Connect Everything: The solution helps teams digitize and connect venues for an unforgettable ‘stadium-as-a-service’ that essentially functions as a ‘Giant Tesla’. Technologists can put together their dream stack by connecting any combination of microservices, sensors and beacons to support a VIP fan experience, help drive deep analytical insights, and enable teams to test out, incorporate, and continuously iterate components without disrupting the fan experience. Deliver Content: Built.io’s headless CMS enables teams to embrace new screen formats and deliver content anywhere – from mobile devices, to smart watches, to jumbotrons and beyond. Build Apps: Built.io’s mBaaS is lightweight and features an industry-first pluggable architecture that supports any microservice of your choice to help craft a beautiful, compelling, robust app. Earning Fan Engagement Through Unique Value A key underlying principle for the Digital Fan Experience Platform is that the experience should deliver enough unique value to earn an opt-in from every fan. In order for me to share my profile and preferences with my favorite sports team, I would want to know that they are using that information to deliver something of value, tailored to my personality and behavior. With this ownness lying with the sports team, there is pressure to be more interesting and innovative. That’s where the platform delivers unique value. Our Partner Network Built.io has extensive partnerships with leading sports technology providers, including Cartogram, Experience, Gimbal, Handbid, SessionM, Urban Airship, Vitec, and Parking Panda, a SpotHero company, as well as award-winning agencies, such as BeyondCurious and M&C Saatchi LA, that specialize in concepting and building custom fan experiences, apps and digital solutions for winning sports brands. Our partners spawn innovation, support big ideas, and help curate the best experience for everyone involved. We look forward to helping you build your VIP fan experience. Contact us with your idea; we’d be happy to build a POC with our team of experts in the Innovation Lab and help you compete (and win!) with your future fan experience. Join the Sports & Entertainment Accelerator If you're ready for next steps, sign up for our joint accelerator with BeyondCurious. We combine the Digital Fan Experience Platform and BeyondCurious' proven CatalystGo methodology in a first-of-its-kind six week program that will help you create a better fan experience. Learn more here. Hurry, space is limited! We only accept 5 teams.
Miami Heat Selects Contentstack to Deliver Digital Fan Experience
It’s no secret that we have been making waves in the sports industry for the Contentstack digital transformation platform. Built.io (Contentstack's parent company) powers the Sacramento Kings + Golden 1 Center App, bringing the world's smartest arena to life! We are proud that the Sacramento Kings were recently named the "Most Innovative Company in Sports" by Fast Company and the "most tech savvy team of 2016" by SportTechie. The Miami HEAT Selects Contentstack We are extremely excited that the Miami HEAT chose Contentstack and its extensible digital fan experience platform as the underlying technology to power the new fan experience for the HEAT. With Contentstack, sports franchises and venues can transcend the physical and digital boundaries to engage fans in unprecedented and highly innovative ways. We can't wait to unveil some of this innovation alongside the Miami HEAT later this year. The Miami HEAT's end goal is to boost engagement regardless of whether fans are at arena, watching from home or checking in on a mobile device. Together, We will help them achieve this by making it easy to try new technology, services, and products on-demand while they test and iterate what will work best for them via Built.io's flagship iPaaS product, Built.io Flow. The team will also benefit from Contentstack's headless CMS as they’ll be able to point content to any device via our API-first approach. Lastly they’ll enjoy full control of their tech stack via best of breed microservices they need to be successful in their database through Built.io's mBaaS with a pluggable architecture, Bult.io Backend. We are proud to contribute the technology foundation for this solution and provide the Miami HEAT with a proven and extensible digital fan experience platform. With Contentstack, sports franchises and venues can transcend the physical and digital boundaries to engage fans in unprecedented and highly innovative ways. – Neha Sampat, CEO of Contentstack. For more news on this topic, see TechRepublic and SportTechie articles.
Mobile and API-First CMS for Enterprises
Enterprise content management is a crowded space. Hundreds of vendors, all trying to outshine each other by cramming more and more functionality into already-bloated software packages. The result? Today’s enterprise content management is broken and content management solutions are cumbersome and hopelessly complex.Today, we are excited to introduce Contentstack, the mobile-first enterprise CMS.Content isn’t just distributed via static web pages anymore. Web apps, mobile sites, and mobile apps are all becoming equally important channels. It is a growing challenge for enterprises to manage content and keep it consistent across all of them.Anthony Zambataro, Senior Director, Brand and Creative Marketing at RMS comments on multi-channel content management, using Contentstack., “There are hundreds of CMS products, but for us it comes down to what’s the fastest and easiest for us to use. Both of these are strong features of Contentstack and that’s why we love the product so much. It’s what sets them apart from all other CMS providers and allows us to seamlessly manage content across both the web and mobile.”Even simple content updates require the involvement of IT, and can take hours, sometimes even days. And rebranding a site can easily take months. What business can wait that long?See how easy it is to update content using Contentstack:Contentstack is built on top of a mobile-first platform, which means mobile support comes built in, instead of bolted on. And it allows even non-technical users to publish content in seconds, instead of days – provided they have the authority to do so, of course.