Digital advertising technology company Netsertive, which recently secured $10 million in new financing, is projecting it can boost its annual revenue by 60 percent to 65 percent in each of the next three years.
That's the conservative projection.
Co-founder and CEO Brendan Morrissey believes the privately held company could boost its revenue even more by raising more funding to fuel its growth in the first half of next year. He said the company would be looking to raise about $20 million, although no decision has been made on whether to go ahead with the plan.
"We're just starting to invest in marketing," Morrissey said. "Our brand is getting stronger in the marketplace. ... I think we can accelerate our growth rate when we are ready to do that."
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Morrissey's confidence is buoyed by the knowledge that the $19.5 million in revenue that the company generated last year barely made a dent in its target market.
"It's a ridiculously big market," he said, noting that market research firm Borrell Associates estimates that major brands allocate $22 billion in "cooperative marketing funding" to local retailers each year. That spending is key to Netsertive's "brand-to-local" strategy that helps major brands, in conjunction with their local retailers, market their wares to consumers online.
To be sure, entrepreneurs are notorious for setting unreasonable expectations. But Netsertive has compiled an enviable growth record.
It ranked No. 482 in Inc. magazine's latest list of the nation's fastest-growing private companies, going from $1.8 million in revenue in 2010 to approaching $20 million last year. Today the company's client roster includes more than 1,000 local retailers plus about three dozen household brands such as Chrysler, Electrolux, Frigidaire, La-Z-Boy, Samsung and Serta.
The company's workforce, meanwhile, has risen from 53 employees two years ago to 150 today, including about 110 at its Morrisville headquarters. Morrissey said the company may have in the vicinity of 225 employees by the end of 2015 but added: "We haven't baked our 2015 plan yet."
Netsertive focuses on a handful of consumer industries - including automotive, furniture and appliances - that have a relatively long sales cycle.
"It's not the kind of thing you are going to pick up on your way home from work tonight," Morrissey said. He said the products are items that people do research on and have extensive discussions about before purchasing.
Netsertive's technology identifies consumers shopping for such products and exposes them to a series of ads that initially focus on brand awareness and eventually point to a specific retailer. It also enables local retailers to insert marketing content developed by the brands into their websites and online ads.
Two years ago Electrolux, which has its North American headquarters in Charlotte, chose Netsertive's technology after it went searching for a turnkey system that its dealers could use, said Laura Woodford, senior trademarking manager.
The problem, said Woodford, is that digital marketing is foreign territory for many of its dealers.
"They have been using print, they have been using radio, they have been using TV, but they are unfamiliar with digital," she said.
With Netsertive's technology, "it's pretty easy for them," she said. "They sign up for the program ... and Netsertive handles it for them."
Nationwide Marketing Group, a Winston-Salem company that provides services to its 3,500 retailer members, tapped Netsertive earlier this year for a new digital marketing effort.
"The program has been a huge success," said Frank Sandtner, Nationwide Marketing's senior vice president of member services.