How Grammarly, a self funded startup, grew to $1.3B

Have you ever heard of Grammarly?
In 2017 they achieved $1.3B valuation. (unicorn!)

Do you know what the best part is?
They have achieved this with $0 investments (100% self funded).

Here’s their inspiring growth story:

In 2002, 2 guys from Ukraine – Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn created a paid plagiarism-checking software called MyDropbox.
They were selling their solution from day 1 to universities to help them solve their specific, narrow, academic problem.

By 2008, they expanded to 800 universities.

In 2008, they decided to go beyond their niche. Launched their paid spell-checking simple WYSIWYG editor, Grammarly (you could copy and paste text into it).
They were upselling to their current customers – universities.
And asked customers for feedback to improve the product.

2010: Achieved 300,000 students as registered users and 250+ universities as customers.

2012: $10 million in revenue a year.

2013: Decided to change their approach – rather than bringing users to Grammarly, they wanted to bring Grammarly to everywhere people write.
Launched plugins for Microsoft Word and Outlook.

Unlike Microsoft Word’s spell checker, which only scanned for obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, Grammarly handled everything — from contextual spelling to style.

Result: achieved 2,326% revenue growth from 2009, with over 3 million registered users.

2015: Launched their free browser extension for Google Chrome and Safari. The company switched to a freemium consumer model.

2016: Launched their free browser extension for Firefox.

2017: Grammarly’s free Chrome extension alone has over 8M active users.

In 2017 Grammarly took $110M in funding for the first time at a $1.3B valuation.