Chattanooga’s Textla is on a mission to democratize the text message marketing space

Textla team photo

If the last text you received came from your favorite brand, you aren’t alone.

SMS or text messaging has become a ubiquitous part of the marketing world. Today, businesses use SMS for important marketing initiatives, 1:1 outreach, and customer service messaging. It’s effective, with 97 percent of recipients reading a text within fifteen minutes, according to Insider Intelligence. And click through rates are astronomically higher than email.

But there is another big reason, says entrepreneur Luke Brickman.

“There’s a massive generational shift going on in the work workspace with Millennials now in executive positions and boomers aging out. When you take into account Gen Z in the workforce, SMS is the primary communication tool. So you’re starting to see engagement through SMS grow year over year. This tees up this perfect market opportunity.”

Brickman saw the importance and growth of SMS marketing as a young sales representative at Twilio, the enterprise software giant and industry leader in the messaging space. But it was during his time at Twilio that he realized two major problems with the industry.

First, texting is costly. Most small-to-medium sized or mom-and-pop shops simply cannot afford it and the engineering staff required to get an API running. Often, these businesses have to go through middlemen resellers, who are notoriously expensive. Second, it is hard to find a solution that allows users to do all the things they really want to do with text messaging in one space.

That’s why Brickman saw an opportunity to do things differently with the launch of Textla. The Chattanooga-based no-code startup is designed to help small businesses get up and running with texting campaigns and messaging initiatives quicker and cheaper than other options out on the market.


Textla's startup logoTextla is SMS at cost. The startup is able to do it by intentionally building with tighter margins in mind and with building out proprietary technologies, Brickman told Hypepotamus.

“Our core belief is that the value of SMS should be decoupled from the value of software. So it should be as ubiquitous as email,” he added. “We’re allowing these small businesses to literally send 10 times as many messages for the cost of what they were doing. And the results have been phenomenal.”

Textla customers include gyms, doctors offices, ecommerce stores, insurance companies, local service businesses, and “literally everyone else under the sun who needs to engage with the customers via SMS,” Brickman added.

Now with venture capital money in its pocket, the early-stage team is ready to take on the legacy players in the text messaging marketing space.


Brickman, Textla’s CEO and co-founder, graduated high school during the pandemic. Remote college didn’t sound all that appealing or productive, so he decided to forge his own path in the tech world. In 2021, he landed a sales role at the enterprise software giant Twilio and was the youngest hire for the company at the ripe age of 19. He and his team started building and bootstrapping Textla in 2022, but ultimately jumping into the venture full-time last summer after landing outside capital.

Its $2 million pre-seed round closed in August of 2023 from Southeast investors like Brickyard, the Chattanooga-based “insulator” and investment firm. Brickman said Brickyard (say that one ten times fast!) approached him after Textla went through the Mercury Raise program with the popular startup bank Mercury. After seeing the Brickyard’s “gritty, grindy environment” in action, Brickman made the decision to move the team to Chattanooga last year.

Now Textla’s Head of Customer SuccessVP of Growth, and its CTO are all in Chattanooga with Brickman.

screenshot of Textla's platform
screenshot of Textla’s platform



Now, if you’re thinking text messaging software company in Chattanooga…haven’t I heard that one before? You’d be right. The bootstrapped darling Text Request is a rival for the early-stage startup. But Brickman believes that Textla’s lower pricing model and streamlined platform can win over more customers.

For Brickman, 2024 is all about “democratizing” the price of SMS, bringing a reliable and simple platform to more SMBs, and ultimately building out the professional services side of the business. This will help Textla’s customers put out the best messaging and content while embracing the future of conversational AI.

Featured photo: provided by Textla