Mailchimp is an American marketing automation platform and email marketing service. The platform is the trading name of its operator, Rocket Science Group, an American company founded in 2001 by Ben Chestnut and Mark Armstrong, with Dan Kurzius joining at a later date. "Mailchimp, named after their most popular e-card character, launched in 2001 and remained a side project for several years, earning a few thousand dollars a month." Mailchimp began as a paid service and added a freemium option in 2009. Within a year, its user base had grown from 85,000 to 450,000. By June 2014, it was sending over 10 billion emails per month on behalf of its users. In 2017, the company was gaining 14,000 new customers every day. The company has remained owned by its co-founders and has not accepted venture capital funds.