We have decided to wind down the Calixa product. This post will walk you through what we discovered and why we made that decision. But first, some quick customer updates and thanks
First, all paying customers can continue using Calixa until the end of year. January 1, 2024 Calixa will officially sunset. We have a team that will maintain the service during this period. Anyone actively using our free plan has until August 1, 2023. After that, we will turn off access to the product.
Thank you to all the customers who partnered with us. You were invaluable for helping us build Calixa.
Second, thanks to all the employees who joined Calixa. We’re proud of both the team and product we built. Thanks for taking a bet on this startup journey.
Lastly, thanks to all our investors who bet and supported us on our journey. Special shout out to Bucky, who first bet on us when all we had was an idea.
What we discovered
Our thesis was that PLG companies needed an updated way to market and sell to their users. Rather than cold outbound, these companies have users and accounts who are warm and ready to buy. We hadn’t seen good GTM tooling that was optimized for this approach… so we wanted to build it.
The missing link was easy ability to leverage product usage data across the customer lifecycle. We felt that Sales and Marketing teams at PLG companies needed better ways to unify and leverage data across their core workflows. With the emergence of the Modern Data Stack, it actually became possible to achieve this.
Our bet was that we could become an app layer across the data. GTM teams could build the workflows and automations that they needed to win. We’d democratize access to data for Sales and Marketing teams so that they were minimally reliant on data and engineering teams.
We discovered that implementing the tooling wasn’t the most challenging thing. It was rearchitecting the go-to-market strategy and aligning teams on a new operating model. What is a PQL? Who owns it? What do we do with them?
Calixa and similar tools in the space do offer a better way to build out this new operating model. It gives companies a new way to uncover deals within their existing user base - much faster than any existing solution. But this advantage did not feel long term sustainable. Existing tools + Reverse ETL is often good enough. We think ultimately companies will consolidate back into the CRM and engagement tools (eg Outreach) as the data warehouse and data activation tools keep getting better.
Why we made the decision
While PLG is awesome, the market for PLG specific tooling is still small in the grand scheme of things. The total universe of PLG companies is not huge, in particular those who have reached scale (eg Twilio, Cloudflare, Monday). In the long term this may change, but we feel it will take a good amount of time. Time we didn’t have. So we explored some pivots to go after non-PLG companies as well but we felt we none made sense..
While we had nearly 2 years of runway, toiling for another 2 years after coming to this conclusion didn’t make sense. It was a tough decision but we believe the right one. It gives us time to wind down customers gracefully, pay severance, and frees up the team members to go explore something that can be much, much bigger.
PLG is still awesome
We have no less enthusiasm for PLG. We still think that when it works, it’s pure magic. It’s the best way to buy software… and an awesome way to sell it.
We also have no less enthusiasm for democratizing data. Trust is built with customers when Sales and Marketing conversations are relevant and tailored. Leveraging product usage data is the only way to achieve this.
Our parting gift to the community is a research report we kicked off three months back. The clear finding is that adopting PQLs and leveraging product data leads to increased GTM revenue efficiency. You can learn more in our Product-Led Sales benchmark report.
Thanks again to all customers, employees, and everyone we met on this journey. It was a great experience and we hope that our paths cross again.
Thomas and Fred