CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 2 June

All the latest martech and ad technology news from Marketo, Salesforce, Demandware, Spredfast, Nudge, Verto, CoreLogic, Krux, Vibes, Adestra and Fiksu.

Marketo acquired by private investors for US$1.79bn

Marketing automation vendor, Marketo, is being acquired by private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, for US$1.79 billion (AUD$2.47bn).And according to industry analysts, the shift into private equity hands could provide the financial safe haven the vendor needs to realise its enterprise solutions ambitions.

Marketo shareholders will receive $35.25 in cash per share, a sum the company says represents a 64 per cent premium over its closing price earlier in May, before reports emerged that it was exploring strategic alternatives. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and Marketo’s headquarters will remain in San Francisco.

In a statement, Marketo CEO, Phil Fernandez, said the acquisition will allow Marketo to continue to focus on customer success and to remain the independent category leader.

Speculation has been rife in recent weeks following news that Marketo was appointing strategic advisors to the business. Reports on Bloomberg suggested enterprise vendor, SAP, along with software giant, Microsoft, were among the list of potential suitors.

You can read our full report on the sale, including the implications on Marketo’s strategy, here.

Salesforce to acquire Demandware

CRM giant, Salesforce, has signed an agreement to acquire cloud-based commerce software vendor, Demandware, for US$2.8 billion.

Under the deal, which is expected to close by the end of July, Salesforce will acquire Demandware’s outstanding shares for $75 per share in cash. The vendor said the acquisition will extend Salesforce’s CRM leadership and enable it to gain a firm hold in the digital commerce market while adding at least $100 million to its annual revenues.

Salesforce plans to rebrand Demandware’s solution as a new Salesforce Commerce Cloud, combining ecommerce, order management, point-of-sale, store operations and predictive intelligence into its own platform. This will sit alongside its existing Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud and Analytics Cloud.

Demandware extends Salesforce into B2C commerce, complementing B2B technology from CloudCraze, which runs natively on Salesforce.

“Demandware is an amazing company - the global cloud leader in the multi-billion dollar digital commerce market,” said Salesforce chairman and CEO, Marc Benioff. “With Demandware, Salesforce will be well positioned to deliver the future of commerce as part of our Customer Success Platform and create yet another billion dollar cloud.”

Spredfast raises US$50m

Social marketing software provider, Spredfast, has secured US$50m in its latest investment round.

The Series F funding round was led by Riverwood Capital and supported by Austin Ventures, Interwest Partners, OpenView Venture Partners and Lead Edge Capital. The money will be used to expand the vendor’s range of tools, as well as deepen the breadth of its social care, brand marketing and media solutions, as well as improve customer experience and support.

Spredfast’s platform is used to manage, integrate and amplify social content across digital touchpoints in real time, and the vendor claims to manage more than one billion social connections across 84 countries. Customers include 3M, NBA, Target, Pepsi and Airbnb.

The vendor also says it integrates with more than 50 partners including social networks such as Kenshoo, Google Analytics and Actiance.

“To win big and keep up with the changes, brands are asking us for an open and connected platform that gives them the flexibility to integrate with their preferred technologies, build their own marketing stacks, and gain a full view of the customer journey across all digital touchpoints," said Spredfast CEO, Rod Favaron. “To deliver this, we're focused on continuous innovation in the areas where we specialise, and, where we don't, we're connecting with other best-in-class tools.”

Former Eloqua founders launch new business

Former Eloqua founding execs, Steve Woods and Paul Teshima, have raised US$5 million in seed funding to accelerate the development of their new startup’s modern sales platform.

Nudge is aimed at helping B2B sales teams build stronger relationships with their customers and provides visibility into who has the best access to key accounts. The round was led by OMERS Ventures, with participation from existing personal investors including social selling speaker, Jill Rowley, and previous investors in Eloqua, Neal Dempsey and Brad Woloson.

Nudge’s Professional Edition is a free application for integrating email, calendar and social media accounts to create a unified view of a sales person’s network. This is aimed at tracking the strength of relationships as a user interacts across channels. Additionally, the platform gives users timely and contextual updates on prospects, customers and influencers that can help grow their business.

“We saw two experienced founders tackling a challenge that every business faces,” said managing director at OMERS Ventures, Jim Orlando. “Understanding how to leverage your team's professional networks to grow your business presents an enormous opportunity for B2B organisations. We knew that when they solve this at scale for enterprises, the value created for customers will be tremendous.”

Verto’s media measurement platform secures US$16m

Verto Analytics, which provides unified media measurement capabilities across channels, has raised US$16.1m in its latest Series B funding round.

The investment series was led by EQT Ventures, which has also announced a new US$630m fund, making it the largest fund in Europe. Other investors into Verto include existing investors, Conor Venture Partners and Open Ocean Capital, along with new supporter, Vision+ (former Nokia executive Tero Ojanperä) and FII. This brings the company’s total capital raised to date to $23.9m.

Launched in 2013, Verto Analytics provides single-source audience measurement solutions for monitoring the complex behaviour of consumers on every device, app and platform they use throughout the day. Among its services are Verto Content Watch, Verto Device Watch and Verto App Watch, which are all focused on cross-device digital media properties and publishers, digital devices and platforms, and mobile apps.

Current customers include industry giants Microsoft, EA, Cisco and Yahoo, multi-screen video advertising company, YuMe, and one of the largest social media companies in the world, amongst others.

Verto said it will leverage the new funds to scale its services globally within the digital media, mobile app and gaming, adtech and Internet sectors and expand its global operations. The company already operates in New York, San Francisco, London and Espoo in Finland.

CoreLogic offers up its data to the market

Property data insights firm, CoreLogic, is putting its data insights up for sale, allowing third-party clients to access its online property data in order to create data-driven marketing solutions.

In a statement, the company said attributes collected within its data stores, such as occupancy, ownership, tenure, house sizes and location, can now be used by marketers to better segment audiences and develop a better knowledge around a buyer’s behavioural triggers and patterns.

“Property data provides valuable insights into household composition, wealth and alerts to life events,” said its executive head of product and services, Greg Dickason. “For starters, we’ve found switching correlations between banks, telcos, insurance and energy providers as well as which households are most likely to purchase products and services from financial planners, domestic whitegoods and overseas holidays.

“CoreLogic, in consultation with our partnership network, can support organisations in executing multi-channel, integrated campaigns including mailing, telemarketing, email and social media for both prospective and existing customers.”

The news comes after the recent launch of CoreLogic’s partner program, which allows businesses to leverage CoreLogic data and analytics in campaign targeting. Data access is provided in real time using APIs.

Krux unveils data-science-as-a-service

Data management provider (DMP), Krux, has taken the wrappers off its data-science-as-a-service offering, which it claims will help developers, service providers and data analysts to better harness machine learning and data from its cloud.

The new solution, which was unveiled during the vendor’s annual data summit in the US, provides clients with the technological infrastructure and data science tools needed to derive insights, coordinate execution of analytic models and algorithms from multiple sources, and build new services powered by people data.

Two major offerings are being launched. The first is Krux Data Feed, which provides a set of open interfaces and transport protocols for people data. It includes programmatic APIs for discovery and management of data, gateway services that can be used to activate new data-driven offerings, and access to normalised people data in privacy-safe formats.

The second offering, Krux Cognitive, is the technology framework that allows customers and partners to coordinate data science projects in a distributed way. Capabilities include access to Krux’s proprietary algorithms and models, as well as the ability to build your own.

“We noticed that many of our customers are using data from Krux to build private sandboxes to power more proprietary, more specialized data analyses, which isn't a terribly elegant or efficient process,” said Krux CEO and co-founder, Tom Chavez. “For Krux, DSaaS is about opening up our platform so we can unleash the power of people data and machine learning for all of our partners and customers.”

Vibes gets new stakeholder

Mobile solutions vendor, Syniverse, has handed over US$45m to acquire a minority stake in mobile messaging app, Vibes.

As part of the investment, Vibes brings Syniverse a mobile marketing platform that enhances the Marketing Cloud, and will also support integration of its platform into the latter’s customer offering with sales and got-to-market training support.

Syniverse supports more than 1500 mobile service providers, enterprises and ISPs globally, all sectors of the market that increasingly need mobile solutions, said Syniverse president and CEO, Stephen C Gray.

“Vibes has helped some of the most successful brands, including Chipotle, Home Depot and Gap, unlock additional revenue through targeted mobile marketing campaigns. Together, we are uniquely positioned to help brands around the globe reach more consumers in ways that precisely track the return on their mobile marketing spend and accelerate the shift from lower-ROI email campaigns,” he said.

“Our strategic collaboration will improve our product and presence in the enterprise markets as well as propel white-label opportunities and support for mobile network operators.”

Adestra adds email editing feature

Marketing technology vendor, Adestra, had added a new email editing feature to its MessageFocus platform.

The company said the editing tool addresses the issue of time-consuming email creation by automating mobile optimisation of the process using modular design templates.

“Our email editor takes the pain out of quickly and efficiently creating campaigns with the right message at the right time, error free and allowing designers to give marketers stunning layouts and functional tools to work with,” Adestra head of digital design, Rob Pellow, said. “That's why we're using the strapline: 'Leave beautiful design to designers and skilled execution to marketers'.”

Mobile app ad tech startup gets acquired

Boston-based mobile adtech startup, Fiksu, has been acquired by Noosphere and will become part of the ClickDealer marketing agency.

Having previously looked at an IPO in 2014, the five-year-old Fiksu business has experienced as tough 18 months, laying off one-tenth of its staff as a result. The company has 1300 customers and app publishers as clients and is considered an early mover in the mobile adtech space.

The brand is expected to be retained, but financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“As experts in transforming high-potential companies into definitive market leaders - with a diverse set of advertising technology businesses in their portfolio - Noosphere not only saw an incredible opportunity in Fiksu but also noted the remarkable synergy of our teams,” Fiksu said in a statement. “After all, mobile advertising is surging - per eMarketer, mobile represents 63 per cent of total digital ad spending in the US this year, at an expected $43bn.”

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