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ABQ marketing firm raises $3 million in venture funds

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A fresh $3 million round of venture funding could help Albuquerque-based Boomtime extend its online marketing and branding services to a lot more small businesses nationwide.

The company, which previously raised $3.5 million from the Verge Fund and angel investors, custom builds and manages websites to help small and medium-sized businesses market themselves at an affordable price.

Its clientele has grown to 3,000 customers following an overhaul in business strategy that helped increase the impact of Boomtime’s web-based marketing tools. Now, with fresh funds for expansion, the company aims to broaden its reach.

“We’ll expand our network and scale up our sales and fulfillment capabilities for customers,” said CEO Mark Canon.

Verge led the new Series B round, joined by Saba Investments in El Paso and angels in Texas and New Mexico, said executive board chair and company co-founder Bill Bice.

The company has reinvented itself since launching in 2005. It started out helping restaurants and spas with online promotions such as gift certificates. It later segued into a concentrated focus on the spa-based health and beauty market.

In 2014, it merged with Smug Cloud, a company that Canon started to provide greater labor efficiency to reduce costs for online marketing and promotion. Boomtime combined its web-based marketing platform with Smug Cloud’s labor-efficient focus to create automated systems that now allow businesses to run customized software with little direct human intervention.

“Normally, a business will buy software and then hire people to run it for them,” Bice said. “This is a marketing tool that does all that for them.”

The software collects data from all online transactions and learns from that to pursue marketing leads, including referrals from current clients for potential customers.

Boomtime has a network of 200 independent web developers and copywriters who use the automated system to extract information about a customer’s strengths to design customized websites and promotional strategies, Canon said.

“Larger businesses will often spend from $60,000 to $100,000 a year for a website and people to run it,” Canon said. “This is a do-it-yourself, automated sales platform that typically costs about $1,000 per month.”

The company generally targets businesses in the $1 million to $10 million revenue range. It currently employs 45 people in Albuquerque, three in El Paso, and 15 back-office developers in the Philippines and Serbia.

“Our marketing automation strategy has really fueled our growth,” Bice said. “Now, we’ve raised more money to really scale everything up to the next level.”

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