How Zapier Became A $5 Billion Company Through Unconventional Means

San Francisco company, Zapier was founded in 2011 but has been profitable since 2014, and recently announced its valuation sits at $5 billion. To achieve this substantial growth in a short amount of time, the company has taken a different path to profitability than most other Silicon Valley companies.

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A no-code automation company, Zapier’s software connects different types of applications to automate personal computing tasks. The company handles the technological heavy lifting needed to ensure that different applications can talk to each other to automatically perform tasks. For example, a user can set up Zapier so that whenever an email arrives with an attachment, the file will be automatically saved to Dropbox.

Today, the company has more than 300 app partners and connects to more than 3,000 apps. It has also forged relationships with software giants such as Salesforce and Google. Despite raising only $1.4 million in venture funding, Zapier is now valued at $5 billion dollars. So how did a company manage to get to unicorn status without relying on venture capitalists to fund them to the top? Zapier CEO, Wade Foster likes to do things a little differently.

One of those differentiators is Zapier’s commitment to customer support, which is quite unusual for a company of its size. A team of about 100 employees well-versed in a range of productivity apps work closely with its smaller customers to make sure everything runs correctly.

According to Foster, most customers pay $19.99 or $49 per month, though the software can be used for free and ranges up to $599 for its premium service. It’s a world of difference from software licenses that can run into the millions for large businesses.

“For us, we've always looked at financing events, whether they're primary, secondary or public markets, as a tool in the tool belt. It's something that you can reach for as a person who runs a business that can help you when you need it,” Foster told Forbes. “I think that's a much healthier approach to things than sort of getting on a hamster wheel that is difficult to get off.”

To add to its success, the company just announced its acquisition of Makerpad, a no-code education service and community. The deal is Zapier’s first acquisition, and Makerpad will operate as a stand-alone entity from its new parent company.

With these moves, its unconventional approach to funding, and its dedication to customer service, Zapier’s automation software is bound to become a go-to for many businesses.