5 Notes from the 10-Year Anniversary of the Pardot Exit #BusinessTips - The Entrepreneurial Way with A.I.


Saturday, October 15, 2022

5 Notes from the 10-Year Anniversary of the Pardot Exit #BusinessTips


Last week marked the 10-year anniversary of the Pardot exit to ExactTarget. Like all great experiences in life, I have fond memories of the team, customers, partners, advisors, and everyone else we worked with along the way. Of course, there were plenty of high highs and low lows as that comes with the territory when building a startup. I’m most proud of partnering with Adam Blitzer to build an incredible business that made our own little mark on the marketing technology community and Atlanta startup community.

Here are 5 random notes reflecting on Pardot in the context of the 10 years since our sale:

  1. The Pardot Name – Incredibly, the Pardot name lived on as part of Salesforce.com all the way until April of this year when it was renamed “Marketing Cloud Account Engagement.” While there is some debate about the quality of the new name selection, for the Pardot brand to live on for 9.5 years is amazing. Most brands in the Salesforce.com portfolio are removed and a generic one created within a couple years, so Pardot had a great run.
  2. pi.pardot.com – The sign-in URL lives on as thousands of sites point back to this address to run mission critical functionality on their own site (e.g. visitor tracking and forms). A little known fact is that we chose pi.pardot.com in the early days because Pardot was the company name and Prospect Insight was the product name. Plus, pi is nice and nerdy. Note to founders: make the company name and product name the same until you’re a massive success and need to introduce other products.
  3. Co-founders Reunited – Early this month Calendly announced Adam Blitzer as the newest board member. I’m excited to work with Adam again after our 10 year hiatus. Fun fact: in the 5.5 years Pardot existed from start to exit, Adam and I never had a board meeting. Our last Calendly board meeting was the first board meeting we participated in. Hah!
  4. Today’s Pardot Revenue – Before Salesforce.com renamed Pardot earlier this year, the business, as a standalone product, was over $500 million in annual recurring revenue. To put that in context, when we sold the company we had less than $14 million in annual recurring revenue. Depending on the growth rate, gross margins, and renewal rate, a company of that size today would be worth billions of dollars.
  5. ExactTarget Friends – Pardot was bought by ExactTarget which was then quickly bought by Salesforce.com. After the ExactTarget leaders left Salesforce.com a couple years later, they started a venture firm called High Alpha. We’ve worked with High Alpha since inception and co-invested in several companies including Salesloft and Terminus

Being a part of the Pardot journey brings me incredible joy. Seeing the team and product continue to thrive a decade later makes it even more special. A big thanks to everyone involved and my sincerest thanks.


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David Cummings, Khareem Sudlow