Increase in Unique Open Rate
Increase in list size during the switch
Increase in CPM by having a strong email program

The Hustle is a media company delivering business, startup, and tech news via a daily email newsletter and startup events. Founded in San Francisco in 2016, The Hustle serves an audience of over 800,000 readers every day.

John Havel is the Co-Founder of The Hustle. John helps their growth, engineering, and creative teams ensure their newsletter is successfully implemented and following best practices.

We built our product on email because we wanted to own our channel. Unlike search-optimized platforms like Google or Facebook where a change in the algorithm can decimate the business, email as a platform is not going anywhere and offers us a relatively cheap, direct, and intimate line to our subscribers.

John Havel Co-Founder


The Hustle is a media company delivering business, startup, and tech news. thehustle.co/


San Francisco, CA


Solutions Used

SendGrid API and SMTP

SendGrid Expert Services


With the rapid growth of The Hustle’s newsletter came more complex email needs. John and his team soon found that their previous email provider, which is targeted at smaller businesses, couldn’t support their needs.

The team needed an email partner that would:

  • Scale with The Hustle, giving them the right-sized solution at a fair price point.
  • Allow The Hustle to own their deliverability with expertise to help along the way. “We have a great, highly engaged email list, but our old provider’s shared IP pool didn’t reflect that and didn’t provide guidance on what to do to improve,” says John.

“We reached the point where we wanted to get more advanced with our email program and have more control over our deliverability, but it wasn’t possible in our old provider,” says John.


The Hustle’s team first heard about SendGrid from their peers. “SendGrid is recommended by many companies that send massive amounts of email, and everyone told us that SendGrid is for growth,” says John.

SendGrid provided them with:

  • Reliable scaling. “We can keep growing with SendGrid. Pricing is fair, and it’s easy to upgrade as we grow. We have no concerns about drops in service,” says John.
  • Straightforward deliverability tools with more control of their sending. “SendGrid just works, and it’s pretty easy to get it to work. Dealing with the technical aspects of email – getting dedicated IP addresses, authentication – was straightforward.”
  • Flexible and well-documented APIs for building what the business needs. “The best thing we’ve gotten with SendGrid is the API integrations which allow us full access to our data. From that, we’ve built models, created dashboards, and gotten a lot of insight we wouldn’t have if we stayed with our previous provider.”

Additionally, John and his team were able to leverage SendGrid’s Implementation and Strategy Services teams who understand the nuances of email deliverability and how to maintain a clean, reputable email program. 

We calculated that if we even got only 1,000 more people to open everyday because of our engagement, it pays for itself and more. It’s a small expense for a potential huge return.

John Havel Co-Founder

SendGrid’s experts provided the team with:

  • An expert review of The Hustle’s current email program and sending practices.
  • Deliverability recommendations based on The Hustle’s business model and email needs. “We now have the knowledge and understanding to build out our current email infrastructure,” says John. “We were blind beforehand.”


By switching to SendGrid and engaging with SendGrid’s experts, The Hustle experienced a 17.6% increase in their unique open rate while increasing their list size by 525%.

The increased and sustained email engagement allowed The Hustle to increase their CPM (cost per thousand impressions) on their advertising by 46%. “Increasing email deliverability and engagement has improved our product as a whole for readers and advertisers which fuels our growth and has direct results on our bottom line. With this additional revenue, we’re hiring more talented people to create content that serves our audience,” says John.

Bottom Line

SendGrid is a perfect fit for The Hustle because it’s:

  • Customizable and well-documented so developers can build what the business needs, with straightforward tools to get started quickly.
  • Delivery-obsessed with deep expertise in email deliverability and delivery tools build into the SendGrid platform.
  • Proven and scalable so The Hustle team can rest assured that their email provider can reliably keep up with the growth of their business.
We came to SendGrid to get a dedicated IP address and better own our deliverability. With SendGrid’s flexible APIs and consultants guiding us on how to set up our email system, we were able to build what we needed for our business. By no stretch of the imagination, SendGrid is our most important vendor. If you’re serious and committed to email, and you want to be in control of your email program, you should go for SendGrid.

John Havel Co-Founder

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