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Email may not be the most exciting part of the internet economy, but it's one of the most important. After all, while areas like social media capture a lot of attention, email continues to be one of the most effective ways to reach consumers online.
Sending email reliably, of course, can be tricky and while big companies that rely heavily on email, such as major online retailers, can justify large investments in email delivery. But what about smaller players?
SendGrid, which provides cloud-based email infrastructure, wants to help.
Today, the company announced that it has raised $21m in a Series B round of funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. It also announced a relationship with Microsoft's Azure platform, which it hopes will expand its 37,000-strong customer base. Those customers send more than 2.6bn emails a month.
Like other cloud-based infrastructure and platform providers, SendGrid's main appeal is that it does a lot of the heavy lifting. For as little as $9.95/month, a business can send up to 40,000 emails without having to worry about setting up deliverability features, like SPF and DKIM records, or having an email server that can efficiently handle large batches of emails at once. Emails can be sent via SMTP or, for developers, through an API.
While SendGrid and email delivery competitors like Postmark may not be the sexiest upstarts in the cloud computing space, they do demonstrate the way the cloud is changing the internet, making life easier for business owners and developers in the process.