Simplifying the simplification of email delivery for SendGrid

Entrepreneur snapshot: A true entrepreneurial success story, Isaac Saldana was born in the United States, but went back to Mexico with his parents when he was young. At the age of 14, he came back to the United States to focus on education and eventually went to the University of California, Riverside where he met his future SendGrid co-founders, Tim Jenkins and Jose Lopez. With the goal of eliminating email headaches for their fellow developers, the three founders headed to Boulder, CO to be part of TechStars, a program that provides seed funding for over 75 top venture capital firms and angel investors who are vested in the success of a startup, as well as mentorship from hundreds of the best entrepreneurs in the world.

SendGrid is a cloud-based email service that solves the challenge of email deliverability by delivering emails on behalf of companies. SendGrid helps companies focus on their core business by eliminating the cost and complexity that accompanies owning and maintaining an in-house email infrastructure. Since graduating from TechStars in 2009, Isaac, Tim and Jose moved to Anaheim, CA, hired an outside CEO, Jim Franklin, and have seen SendGrid grow to 150 employees across offices in Anaheim, Boulder, Denver and Romania. With over a decade of thought-leadership backed by a stellar record of delivering email, SendGrid is climbing to new heights.

Need: Today, almost every application that’s built has some component that requires email; whether you’re sending verification email and updates, or communicating with users, it’s often done via email. SendGrid sends eight billion emails a month for its customers and needed to build email capacity into every application that would scale and work. That’s a time consuming, but necessary part of development. The company built an email component that developers can insert into their app via an open API, so they don’t have to worry about email. 

In order to support this rapid growth, SendGrid needed to update and scale its cloud infrastructure with new technology to continue sending billions of emails per month on behalf of 130,000 customers and counting, including Pinterest, Foursquare, Spotify and

Solution: The SendGrid team looked to Dell to create a flexible, single server configuration that the company could reuse across multiple parts of infrastructure. Dell provided financing to SendGrid through Dell Innovators Credit Fund, a $100M credit financing program for VC and Angel-backed startups to provide financial and scalable technology resources in order to encourage innovation, bolster speed-to-market and job creation. The financing allowed for new hardware and Dell’s services group helped SendGrid pre-build customers’ cabinets, saving SendGrid significant build time. SendGrid implemented Dell’s PowerEdge Rack Servers and PowerEdge C Servers and utilizes Dell Remote Access Controller (DRAC).

SendGrid has seen tremendous improvement after implementing Dell’s servers. For static workloads, the company is seeing a seven-month ROI relative to other cloud options that were considered. Additionally, Dell’s equipment has cut SendGrid’s server needs by over 50 percent for certain parts of infrastructure—where SendGrid used to need two or three servers for a given amount of workload, the company now only needs one Dell server. As far as power efficiency, SendGrid’s team has seen roughly a 2x improvement. Aside from this strong ROI, Dell executed extremely quickly on delivering the requested technology (within 30 days) that allowed SendGrid to complete its infrastructure upgrade faster than expected.

"Dell has helped SendGrid dramatically reduce costs while adding capacity. By working with Dell, we have been able to execute at the rapid pace needed to keep up with our growth at SendGrid,” said Jim Franklin, CEO, SendGrid. 

Lessons learned: With the amount of email a company like SendGrid sends on a daily basis, the growth rate of this data can present challenges. Organizations need to adopt the right practices and tools to ensure that they can scale their business.

Fortunately, Dell specializes in partnering with mid-sized companies that are growing rapidly and need to scale quickly. Dell is able to offer flexible IT solutions that allow their customers to eliminate any technology challenges they may be facing, and re-prioritize their business development needs.

By choosing a hardware partner with a trusted track record that embraced similar values, SendGrid was able to let go of any business burdens and trust that they would be able to focus on the tech they knew best, while their hardware partner took care of the rest.

Jim Franklin


About the Author: Ingrid Vanderveldt