San Antonio Startup Sendspark Receives $300,000 Initial Investment

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Courtesy / Sendspark

Bethany Stachenfeld and Brandon Escalante are Sendspark's founders.

A San Antonio startup is trying to break through email clutter to help software companies sell their products – and they’re hoping to do that with short, personalized videos rather than prose.

Sendspark launched in January on the premise that businesses were being overloaded with text-only email sales pitches. Founders Bethany Stachenfeld and Brandon Escalante thought there had to be another way to help companies with their marketing campaigns and sales outreach.

“We’re working mostly with software companies, particularly sales and customer teams, who are reaching out to potential customers or trying to build and strengthen relationships with customers and add a more human element to their traditionally dry email communication,” said Stachenfeld, who serves as Sendspark’s chief operating officer.

On Tuesday, Sendspark announced its first funding round, securing $300,000 in venture funds from local firm Active Capital. Founded by former Rackspace executives Pat Condon and Pat Matthews, the firm focuses on early-stage tech startups in traditionally unglamorous tech markets, including San Antonio. So far, the firm has invested in a handful of local companies as part of its $21.5 million debut fund, a raise it announced earlier in the year.

Venture for America, the nonprofit entrepreneurship program for recent college graduates, also participated in the funding round.

The so-called pre-seed fund – because it occurs at the very onset of a startup’s venture funding cycle with only a handful of investors – will help Sendspark further develop its product, which launched last week, and hire both on the sales and software development side. Sendspark is currently comprised of Stachenfeld and Escalante as the only full-time employees but will post job openings locally in the coming weeks.

Stachenfeld said Sendspark marries the popularity of short-form video on social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat with the business outreach needs of software companies.

“When you look in the consumer space, everyone loves Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok,” she said. “All of these video conferencing [tools] catch your attention. It helps build trust, definitely, and there’s no similar platform for businesses to use to engage their customers in a similar way.”

The startup, which offices with Active Capital on Soledad Street, counts many local tech firms among its early customers, including small-business cybersecurity firm Jungle Disk, Scaleworks portfolio company Chargify, and former Rackspace subsidiary Mailgun. Sendspark has 120 customers.

Sendspark is a browser-based application that allows users to create custom videos in a few minutes. Think Mailchimp, the popular email marketing platform, but for video campaigns.

Sendspark appears to have found a niche, and Stachenfeld said the startup is the only company she’s aware of offering such a product.

“No one’s doing exactly what we’re doing,” she said. “But I do think the video space is going to blow up in the next few years.”

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