Reston-based tech company receives $80 million equity infusion

September 10, 2013

Clarabridge, a Reston-based technology company that analyzes customer feedback for companies such as Wal-Mart, Marriott, Choice Hotels and PetSmart, has received an $80 million investment, one of the largest equity infusions in the Washington area this year.

The investment, announced Tuesday morning, follows another significant investment a few months ago in a Washington-area technology company: In June, Goldman Sachs invested $100 million in Ballston-based Advanced Predictive Technologies.

It is the fourth fundraiser for Clarabridge, which was launched in 2006 by chief executive Sid Banerjee, one of the founders of MicroStrategy and a familiar presence on the Washington technology scene.

Clarabridge employs about 170 people worldwide, including 140 at its headquarters in Reston. The company has an office in London.

The $80 million came from Summit Partners, General Catalyst Partners and investor/entrepreneur Yuchun Lee.

Tom Jennings of Summit Partners and Larry Bohn of General Catalyst Partners will join the Clarabridge board of directors. Lee will become chairman of the board, and Banerjee will remain chief executive.

Clarabridge specializes in sifting through truckloads of customer feedback that originate online, on paper or in telephone calls. It drills down for nuggets like: “Your best airline passengers don’t like paying for wireless in the frequent flier lounges.” Or, “Your hotel customers think the air conditioners in the rooms are too loud.”

Banerjee said some of the money may go toward funding acquisitions, with Clarabridge “taking a hard look at the best way to grow the company.”

The money will also help the company get its word out to more of its customer base and to increase its sales footprint beyond the East and West coasts, Banerjee said.

“We want to build out more of a national sales organization, so we will be hiring talent across the country and also doubling down on our initial investments in Europe the last couple of years,” he said.

Another focus will be to improve and scale its technology product so it is able to collect and analyze greater amounts of data from more sources, he said.

Banerjee would not comment on whether previous investors, including himself, sold some of their equity to the new investors as part of the deal.

He said he is still an investor in the company. The other original investors, including Boulder Venture, Tysons Corner-based Grotech, Intersouth Partners and Harbert Venture Parners, will remain owners as well.

“I am long on the company,” he said.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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