Backstroke: AI-Based Messaging Company Raises $2 Million In Seed Funding

By Amit Chowdhry • Jun 27, 2024

Backstroke announced the launch of its generative AI messaging platform that is set to transform email, SMS, mobile push, and customer marketing for B2C brands. With a $2 million seed round co-led by venture firms High Alpha and Ground Game Ventures, and with participation from Allos Ventures. Backstroke features new technology with seasoned experience, presenting a major opportunity in the marketing tech landscape.

Backstroke utilizes a comprehensive dataset from over 10,000 brands, tracking and tagging millions of messages and their performance in over 200 different ways.

This data analysis, which has taken nearly three years to acquire, powers Backstroke’s AI to generate marketing content that drives up to 64% more revenue per send than human copywriters. And early customers include ecommerce brands like Pearl iZUMi, Nathan Sports, Lyssé and The Porch Swing Company.

The company is headed by CEO and Founder R. J. Talyor and Lead Data Scientist and Founder Allyson Talyor, Ph.D., a husband and wife duo. Before starting Backstroke, R. J. Talyor was one of the first 50 employees at email marketing trailblazer ExactTarget, where he oversaw messaging product teams through the company’s $2.5 billion acquisition by Salesforce in 2012. R. J. later founded Pattern89, a creative AI platform that was acquired by Shutterstock in 2021.


“We’ve seen the movie before with ExactTarget, and now we’re ready to rewrite the script with generative AI. Legacy marketing tech is behind — it’s too complex and not built for mass personalization. The industry incumbents are ‘Frankensteining’ gen AI features into their platforms. Backstroke is native to these new AI technologies which gives our customers a significant advantage.”

  • R. J. Talyor, Backstroke CEO and Founder

“Generative AI presents a huge opportunity in the email marketing and messaging space. The company’s speed to market and quick customer traction demonstrate that a platform like Backstroke is inevitable. Someone is going to win, and we think our long history in the space, combined with a world-class founding team, gives us a significant advantage.”

  • High Alpha Founding Partner Eric Tobias

“The bottleneck to truly personalized CRM marketing has always been human limitations on content production. Partnering with Backstroke is a huge step forward in automation, allowing us to deliver more delightful, personalized experiences to our customers.”

  • Doug Bertram, Director of E-Commerce at Pearl iZUMi and one of Backstroke’s first customers