The former CEO of Apple just raised a big funding round at a ~$1 billion valuation for his new company

John Sculley
Zeta co-founder and former Apple CEO John Sculley. Michael Seto/Business Insider

Zeta Interactive, the big data and analytics company co-founded by former Apple CEO John Sculley, announced Wednesday it has raised a $US125 million investment funding round.

Business Insider understands this now values Zeta Interactive at ~$US1 billion, although the company would not confirm its valuation when asked.

Zeta competes with the likes of Oracle, Salesforce, IBM, and Adobe. It lets companies input their customer data into its marketing cloud, which uses machine learning to figure out the attributes of their audiences (such as age, income, location, and interests,) and also segments their best customers based on its own proprietary. Zeta then analyses that data to send out targeted marketing messages via email, and help marketers create wider marketing plans.

Where Zeta differs from its competitors is that it focuses on using this data for customer acquisition — targeting potential new customers who have opted in to marketing messages — whereas its marketing cloud rivals largely focus on the retention of existing customers.

Speaking to Business Insider, Zeta Interactive CEO and co-founder David A. Steinberg, said the company has grown 72% year on year, and that it is on track to generate $US200 million in revenue by the end of 2015. He said Zeta has been both gross and net profitable for “three years in a row.”

David steinberg
Zeta Interactive CEO David A. Steinberg. Zeta Interactive

Steinberg said Zeta plans to use its funding to invest further in its platform and to acquire technology that will accelerate growth, and that it is particularly focusing on companies in the machine learning, analytics, and email service provider space.

In a statement, Sculley, who was also the former CEO of Pepsi, said: “This investment will help us attract and retain world-class talent, enhance our award-winning technology platform and sharpen our offerings for our Fortune 500 and middle-market clients. This funding is a testament to the great job David and his team have done to date, as well as an indication that even bigger things are still to come.”

Zeta’s latest financing round was led by Blackstone and GSO Capital Partners.

It last raised funding back in 2012 — when the company was called XL Marketing — a $US70 million round led by GCP Capital Partners.

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