At a company with the name of “Bronto,” evolution might be considered a dangerous word.

As in evolving out of existence like the corporate mascot.

Not so at Durham-based Bronto.

The continuing evolution of Bronto from email marketing to a cloud-based marketing platform is sparking growth with the privately held company looking to add nearly 25 percent to its headcount this year.

It’s also mulling taking on outside investors for the first time.

That fact alone should send up the antennas of Triangle-area investors. Bronto is one name that comes up consistently when venture capitalists and angel investors discuss places where they would like to invest.

So far, Bronto has just said “no.”

But after another quarterly update on continued growth from Bronto, The Skinny reached out to co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Joe Colopy to discuss what’s happening.

His response is packed with news – from a downplaying of scuttlebutt about the company possibly going public and continued plans for more hiring. 

“We are excited with how 2012 played out. Over the last few years, we have migrated from being an email marketing company to a cloud-based marketing platform for retailers and other companies. Given that, we develop and sell a platform for them to automate their marketing to drive revenue through their email, mobile, and social campaigns. The marketing automation space is a hot space since Oracle bought Eloqua and Exact Target bought Pardot — both at great valuations. They do marketing automation on the B2B side. We do something simliar but for e-commerce related companies — i.e., there is a shopping cart involved.

“As for your questions, we have definitely grown in terms of people. As of today (Jan 7), we have 150 full-time employees. We are mainly based in Durham (American Tobacco Campus) with 139 folks there. 4 are in London and the reminder are scattered across the US. We see continuing our growth streak in 2013 with 40 new hires — mainly in the areas of sales and engineering.

“Smartphones and tablets are influencing our business. With these devices, people are more connected than ever before so their usage of email, SMS and social networks has gone up. Given that, It has made it even more important for our customers to have a solid platform like ours to sort through how to communicate with their customers whenever and where-ever they are.

“We are still profitable and growing at a nice clip. We closed 2012 with a little over $22 million in revenue, up from $17 million the year before. As you know, we have never raised outside capital so we are happy with that performance given that we have done it entirely organically. We always ask ourselves if it makes sense to raise outside capital. So far, we’ve been fortunate that we haven’t needed to. However, in 2013, we’ll look at this question more seriously to see if it makes sense to add a little more fuel to the fire. An IPO is a possibility but we won’t be in shooting range of that until we are generating more than $50 million in revenue and I see that at least three years away. Until then, we are laser focused on providing a great service for our customers and hiring more great Brontos.

“Overall good things are brewing at Bronto.”

Indeed. hear that Bronto roaring?