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February 01, 2023

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1 big thing: Marketing, but make it compliant

Constellation cofounders Nauman Hafiz, Diana Lee and Matt Woodruff

Constellation cofounders Nauman Hafiz, Diana Lee and Matt Woodruff. Photo: Adrian Bayona

Constellation, a New York-based marketing tech company, has secured $15 million from Newlight Partners, the company tells Kerry exclusively.

Why it matters: The firm stands out for its focus on highly regulated industries, and it plans to use the funding to double headcount to 300 and explore acquisitions.

What they're saying: "They have this leadership position in auto. They're growing a leadership position in pharma," says Adam Stulberger of Newlight Partners. "We could see some add-on acquisitions to further bolster the products and services that Constellation is able to offer to these customers."

Catch up quick: CEO Diana Lee quit her job in 2016 and used $22,000 of her own savings to launch a digital marketing agency.

  • After inking a licensing deal for its software, the business refocused toward its marketing tech, which offers a compliance section for specific sectors. Lee raised a friends-and-family round of a "few million" in 2019 to match the company's first multimillion-dollar contract, she says.
  • Her cofounders are Nauman Hafiz, formerly of R/GA, as chief technology officer and Matt Woodruff, formerly of Havas and Ogilvy, as chief product officer.

Details: Newlight Partners' team has 20 years of experience investing in ad tech and marketing tech, Stulberger says.

  • Constellation's clients have included Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi, Volkswagen Group and Jaguar Land Rover.
  • The company's revenue grew 70% from 2021 to 2022, Lee says.
  • Constellation recently hired former Pfizer and ConcertAI executive Melissa Gunn as senior vice president of customer success and strategic partnerships and former Takumi executive Derek Wiggins as senior vice president of business development.

What's next: Lee says her team wants to add clients in legal and insurance.

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