Emma Sold To Investment Group; CEO Smith Steps Down

Email marketing service vendor Emma has been sold to an investor group and its co-founder Clint Smith has stepped down as CEO, according to media reports in its home city of Nashville.

The deal was led by Insight Venture Partners, a firm based in New York. Terms of the sale were not disclosed, but an outside source says that the deal was on “the high end of projections,” and that there were several other prospective buyers, the Tennessean reports.  

Smith has been replaced by Wellford Dillard, formerly chief financial officer.

Emma has long been considered as the “darling of the Nashville tech scene,”  according to the Nashville Business Journal.

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Built on bootstrapping, the company took in outside capital for the first time in 2015 — $5 million from a group led by Nashville Capital Network, the Tennessean adds. Among other services, it offers an automation suite that facilitates personalized emails. 

In 2015, Emma acquired the San Francisco-based software company Boomerang, the Tennesseancontinues. It adds that Insight Venture Partners has "Twitter and Zenefits among its portfolio companies."  

Emma, which employs almost 200 people, also has an office in Portland, Oregon.

The company was started in 2003 to help firms send personalized emails, according to The Tennessean. Smith and co-founder came up with the idea in the Fido coffee shop, it adds.

Smith said in an email to the Nashville Business Journal that the company looks to "continue to play a central role in the now-burgeoning Nashville software and startup community." Smith said he had been thinking about succession when he hired Dillard last year.

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