Recently SendGrid passed a major milestone, surpassing 1 trillion emails sent since we launched in 2009. I think people typically try to quantify that large a number as something like “if we printed out all those emails, they would reach X miles into space,” but honestly if we started trying to print them, our InfoSec team, not to mention our environmentally conscious employees, would throw a fit and put a stop to it.

But, if the DMA is correct in their estimate that email has $38 of return for every dollar spent, sending 1 trillion wanted emails has provided a lot of value to our customers. And that’s something we’re proud of.

Celebrating milestones

The history of milestones has been really fun here at SendGrid. Since we have grown at such an amazing rate since we launched, we went through a period where it felt like every week hit a new record. My fellow co-founder, Isaac, had told our Turkish reseller that he would come out and visit him if we hit 100 million emails in a single month; we hit that 2 months after we launched. (Sinan is still waiting for that visit Isaac).

In the olden days, we would celebrate at our weekly all-hands meeting whenever a new record was set, but that got old after awhile. We pretty much knew that the record was going to be broken on Thursday (or whatever day of the week was our busiest; it has changed over time). Records kind of became more of an “oh, did we do that?” kind of deal. I recall one Friday when we deployed a new version of almost every service in the backend and then the next day realized it had been our busiest day so far. We really wouldn’t have even noticed the 1 trillion email mark if we weren’t looking for it, since we focus much more on daily volume as it relates to capacity planning.

Here’s a look at our volume milestones over the past 7+ years. It’s exciting to see that we’ve reached 1 trillion emails and the year isn’t even a quarter done yet!

How we got here

While being a techy type, my thoughts on how we got here tend to be on the technology side and all the systems in place to handle our volume. But, the real reason we made this milestone is because of our customers.

This one trillion email achievement is really more of an example of how much we are trusted to meet the needs of hundreds of thousands of businesses. As we’ve grown bigger, and onboarded larger customers, the demands on our system have increased significantly.

On Black Friday, we had a few customers sending over 200M emails that day! And recently, we had a customer send out 250M emails in one day with no real notice, and without being much noticed. Many people consider email to be a boring topic, and it is exciting to us to help make it feel that way.

Breaking records as a new normal

Something I’m fond of here is seeing records become the new norm. It was just last year that we crossed over to sending 1 billion emails a day, and some weekend this year will be our last sub 1 billion email day. Black Friday was a pretty big deal with 1.6 billion emails, but we are creeping up on that being an average weekday.

1 trillion is a pretty big number, but at our current trajectory, that will be our yearly volume in just a couple more years! It’s pretty crazy to think that in a short time something that took us almost 8 years to accomplish will be an average year, but even after that, things go up.

I figure if we aren’t breaking records, we’re broken, and so while it is fun to look back and see where we’ve been, it’s nice to know that we’ll go even further next week.

Tim Jenkins
Tim is a Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at SendGrid.