a Shopify partnership worth $9B

Welcome to the Category Surfers where we break down go-to-market strategies so you can build the best SaaS growth engine.

 Sponsor my next email to reach 2000+ SaaS founders.

Want your landing page to be in the top 10% of the highest-converting pages on the Internet?

How Klaviyo grew to $9.5B with distribution partnerships

Klaviyo is a marketing automation platform for DTC companies. They consolidated emails, SMS, push, & reviews with one platform and used partnerships to grow to a $9.5B valuation. They raised $770M from Shopify, Accel, and Summit Partners.

Klaviyo’s GTM strategy


Klaviyo started as an email marketing for ecommerce brands. They have positioned themselves as the DTC growth tool with a smart engine to build automation based on customer data.

Think of it as Hubspot for DTC.

Marketing automation


Klaviyo started to grow after the plugged into the biggest trend in 2018 — Shopify. Initially, they did focus on software startups but bigger traction started once they went deep into one vertical (ecommerce). Combining strong positioning within the DTC companies market with a distribution partnership from Shopify they caught two major trends at once.

This is another example of having multiple trends and GTM strategies stacked on top of each other.

DTC positioning


The marketing automation market is only worth $5B and growing 18% annually which would be too small for them to beat as they already surpassed market value ($5B) with valuation ($9.5).

My bet is that they pitched the ecommerce market (worth $16T) which makes them worthy of the $9.5B price tag — especially with the MailChimp acquisition.

Additional resources

You’re a legend — thank you for reading!

  • 🙌Forward or share this post if you’ve enjoyed it

  • 📈Sponsor this newsletter. Get seen by 2000+ SaaS founders, VCs, and marketers (45% open rate, 7% CTR).

  • 🤌Feedback? Ideas? Reply or drop it here.