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Drift reaches unicorn status with investment from Vista Equity Partners

Veronica Brezina

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Drift, a startup co-founded by Tampa-raised entrepreneur Elias Torres and CEO David Cancel, has received a strategic investment that values Drift at over $1 billion. 

Drift is a Boston-based digital marketing company that expanded to Tampa in late 2019. The company announced it will receive an investment from Vista Equity Partners, a leading global investment firm focused exclusively on enterprise software, data and technology-enabled businesses.

Texas-based Vista Equity Partners has helped grow companies like Marketo and Wrike. 

In partnership with Vista, Drift will continue to invest in its customers while expanding its product leadership and scaling globally, according to the company’s Wednesday announcement. Drift and Vista expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of this year. 

“David and I are proud to be one of the only Latino-founded companies to ever achieve over $1 billion valuation – a rare, Latino-founded unicorn,” Torres, CTO and co-founder of Drift, said in the company’s announcement.

“We want to see more of us do the same and we will pave the way for other Latino founders and leaders to achieve success,” Torres said. “Our partnership with Vista marks the start of Drift’s second chapter: Maniacally focusing on building an enduring company that accelerates innovation for customers.”

Today, the company has 445 employees and 50,000 customers.  

Launched in 2015, the company introduced its “Conversational Marketing” product five years ago as a way to help marketers harness the digital experience for lead generation. The company quickly realized that removing the friction between buyers and sellers impacted much more than leads – it accelerated revenue.

This led Drift to expand its focus to deliver a robust platform that includes what it calls “Conversational Sales,” integrating chat, email, video and artificial intelligence to enhance conversations. 

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