Reflections on Ada's Journey to $1.2B

Today marks an incredible milestone for Ada, Leaders Fund, and Canadian tech. Ada has raised $130M led by Spark Capital, reaching a $1.2B valuation and solidifying their position as an industry leader in CX automation.

First off, congratulations to Mike, David, and the entire Ada team on your relentless focus on customer success, and the growth and recognition you’ve realized as a result.

As pioneers in developing the customer experience (CX) market, you recognized in 2017 that the move to online commerce and conversations would accelerate, and that customers would need an intuitive way to harness the power of AI to serve their customers better. You are providing the market with the solution it needs exactly in the period they need it most.

While headlines like these often have the appearance of overnight successes, we also wanted to pause, and reflect on the courage and relentless determination it took to get here.

Ada started as a totally different business named Volley. When they realized that wasn’t going to work, they started dabbling into the customer support use case.

Then in May of 2016 we received this email:

They had decided that their previous venture Volley officially hadn’t worked, but were excited about this new idea around automating customer support inquiries.

One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to admit that things aren't working and make a change. Sending this email took courage, and was the beginning of a far larger story.

While it was unfortunate Volley didn't work out, for Leaders Fund this was actually good news. We invest in B2B SaaS companies in the early stages and with our collective go to market experience help them scale rapidly to reach $100M+ in ARR. Volley was a consumer business, and their new direction meant we could invest and partner with them in building Ada.

Since then the company has grown rapidly, broadening the capabilities of the product with the launch of Ada Engage for marketing and Ada CX for sales, but also the vision for what this company can be. They've signed world leading customers like Zoom, Facebook, Coinbase, Shopify and Square who are all only at the beginning of their automation journey, automating customer support, marketing and sales experiences at scale.

We feel obligated to mention how significant this is for Toronto and Canadian tech. Mike and David are committed to building this ecosystem up. They want to build a $100Bn+ business here in Canada, create many tens of thousands of jobs and continue defining what it means to be a globally successful Canadian company.

We are grateful to have had the opportunity to play a part in supporting them as they build Ada, and know that while this is definitely a great milestone, it is also just the beginning.

Published on
May 7, 2021
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