If you’ve never heard of a company called Validity before, you may not be alone…but that won’t be true for long.  Validity is one of the most exciting new companies in the CRM and marketing technology industries, and we are proud to announce today that Validity has acquired Return Path, the company that George Bilbrey, Jack Sinclair and I started back in 1999.  This is an exciting day for Return Path!

Over almost 20 years, we’ve built Return Path into one of the largest and (I think) most respected companies in the email industry.  We’ve had a culture of innovation that has led to some groundbreaking products for our customers and partners to help make email marketing work better for consumers as well as marketers, and to help keep inboxes safe and clean for mailbox providers and security companies.  

Return Path is unusual in many respects.  One of those is longevity. Not many Internet companies founded in 1999 are still private, backed and led by the same team the whole time, and generally in the same business they started in.  Another is our values-driven “People First” culture. From Day 1, we’ve believed that if we attract, retain, develop and invest in the best people, we will make our customers successful with great products and service, and that if we do right by our customers, we will do right by our shareholders in the long term.  Most employees who walked through our doors had a great experience, and learned and grew as individuals and professionals. Even for those who didn’t, I hope they realize that we tried our best to make this an amazing employee experience. Finally, I’m proud that our company gave birth to a non-profit affiliate Path Forward a few years back.  Path Forward helps caregivers get back to work after a career break and helps companies improve their gender diversity and hiring biases and has already been a game changer for dozens of companies and hundreds of women.

Today, Return Path serves almost 4,000 customers in almost every country on the globe, with $100 million in revenue. We are profitable and excited about the next leg of our brands’ and our products’ lives in the care of Validity, an incredibly exciting new company with a vision to help tens of thousands of companies across the globe improve their data quality and also help them use data to improve business results.  That vision, inspired by Validity CEO, Mark Briggs, is a wonderful fit for Return Path’s products and services and people. As Mark notes in his blog post today about this deal, the combination of Return Path and Validity will provide CMOs and CROs with an irresistible bundle of related solutions.  The deep customer and solution connection to Validity’s BriteVerify list validation solution that we have been reselling for many years (before Validity acquired BriteVerify) is an early proof point of the success of this combination.  And the expansion of Validity’s solutions into Return Path’s global footprint will accelerate the growth of the combined company.

If you’re a Return Path customer or partner, you’ll receive more specific outreach from us shortly.

I’ll close this post by paraphrasing a great African proverb, which is:  If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We at Return Path are excited about taking the next leg of our journey with Validity and going far together for the benefit of our employees, customers, and the email industry!


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