CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 4 August

All the latest marketing and ad technology news this week from Sizmek, Salesforce, Evergage, MaritzCX, Magento, Adgorithms, Teads, LookBookHQ, CommerceWeb and more.

Sizmek snapped up by private equity for US$122m

Sizmek is being acquired by private equity firm, Vector Capital, in a deal worth US$122 million.

The vendor, which provides programmatic advertising management solutions, is being picked up for $3.90 per share in cash, a purchase price that represents a 65 per cent premium on its average trading price in recent months. The deal is expected to close in Q4 of this year.

In a statement, Vector Capital MD, Alex Beregovsky, said the firm planned to invest in the company’s growth, work to strengthen its open ad management platform, launch adjacent product offerings and bolster Sizmek’s coffers so it can make further strategic acquisitions.

Just last year, Sizmek purchased mobile DSP, StrikeAd, in a deal worth US$11.7 million, as well as PointRoll, a multi-screen digital ad tech and services company with technology for customising ads based on inventory, demographics and location, for US$20m.

“We believe this transaction provides Sizmek with the resources and flexibility to execute upon our long-term strategy of becoming the leading independent, global ad management platform,” said Sizmek president and CEO, Neil Nguyen.

Read our full report on the acquisition here.

Salesforce buys Facebook ex-CTO company’s startup

Hard on the heels of its Demandware acquisition in June, Salesforce is acquiring cloud collaboration software maker, Quip.

The purchase price is US$582 million, plus the value of Salesforce's previous investments in the company, according to a regulatory filing. According to one estimate, the total value amounts to roughly $750 million.

Founded in 2012, Quip makes cloud-based software designed to make team collaboration easier through capabilities such as chat-enabled documents and spreadsheets.

"As part of Salesforce, we will be able to expand our service more quickly and reach millions of people all over the world," Bret Taylor, Quip's cofounder and CEO, said in a blog post. "And, we’ll be able to extend the Salesforce Customer Success Platform in powerful new ways with our next-generation productivity capabilities. The possibilities of mixing data, content and communication are amazing."

As part of Salesforce, Quip will continue to serve its existing customers, he added.

Taylor was a co-creator of Google Maps and also worked as CTO at Facebook, where he created the ‘Like’ button. Cofounder, Kevin Gibbs, also hails from Google, where he created Google Suggest. He is now Quip's head of engineering.

The move is “one more indication that Salesforce has 'yuge' plans” for its CRM software platform, said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.

Magento also makes an acquisition

Ecommerce software vendor, Magento, has also been on the acquisitions hunt and picked up US-based advanced analytics startup, RJMetrics, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal comes a year after eBay sold off its enterprise marketing assets, a decision which saw Magento launched as a privately owned company backed by Permira Funds last November.

RJMetrics provides a cloud-based analytics platform for digital commerce business intelligence. Although the vendor had already start offering built- analytics extensions for the Magento platform, the pair will now launch a native solution, called Magento Analytics, enabling merchants to understand and optimise commerce business using data and insights into customers, merchandising and channels.

“Big data and analytics are now table stakes for merchants who want to find new customers, increase order value, and enhance loyalty,” said CEO of Magento Commerce, Mark Lavelle. “The combination of RJMetrics and our global ecosystem of Solution Partners will provide our joint customers, such as Signature Hardware, Draper James and Bucketfeet, and the diverse portfolio of Magento merchants with cutting-edge analytics that keep them ahead of the competition.”

RJMetrics’ other product, an ETL service, is going to spin out as its own company and brand, Stitch.

Adgorithms claims industry first with AI marketing platform

US-based Adgorithms, is claiming an industry first with the latest version of its “self-driven” artificial intelligence marketing and advertising platform, Albert 2.0.

The original release in 2014, which focused on display and mobile ad campaigns, has now been extended to execute across all manner of digital advertising activity across channels and device including autonomous media buying, campaign management, testing and optimisation across paid and owned channels. It also provides insights and recommendations through a visual dashboard on things like creative combinations, calls-to-action, which channels are performing better or worse, or how activity is going against pre-determined KPIs.

The vendor claims its AI marketing technology requires limited upfront input or ongoing management and can process millions of events per hour per client. Current brands using Adgorithms’ platform include Harley Davidson NYC, and Evisu.

“To date, programmatic and marketing automation technologies have handled a lot of that heavy lifting but they rely on continual marketer or technologist input along the way,” said Adgorithms CEO and founder, Or Shani. “Albert is different. Using artificial intelligence, Albert takes this process much further, self-learning and autonomously executing and calibrating campaigns until he’s met marketers’ KPIs. This frees up marketers to focus on higher-value problem solving.”

MaritzCX sets sights on making customer feedback actionable

Customer experience management vendor, MaritzCX, has launched a SaaS solution aimed at helping organisations turn customer feedback into actionable insights that can be used across the business.

The new ActionCX offering is fully integrated into the vendor’s core platform and uses customer feedback, showcased through dynamic, customised reports and dashboards, to identify areas here organisational improvement can be made. Key features include the ability to track priorities, document plans for improvement, collaborate and measure progress on key organisational KPIs.

“Closing the loop on individual customer problems is great, but it’s only the first step to becoming a customer-focused organization,” said MaritzCX president and CE, Carine Clark. “ActionCX has the potential to make organisations more customer-focused at their core. It’s ability to create insights that can drive organisation-wide change fills a critical gap that has been limiting the effectiveness of CX programs today.”

Teads plans expansion into Asia

European video ad tech player, Teads, has raised US$47 million in debt financing which is plans to spend on expanding into Asia as well as acquisitions.

The company said the funds will be used to acquire ad tech companies that help reinforce its position in the video advertising industry, such as startups. It also wants to expand from its Asian base in Japan to South-East Asia this year, followed by China in 2017. The group has hired former MEC China president, Christian Guinot, to lead its new Singapore hub.

The cash injection is being supplied by BNPP, Bank of China , HSBC and Banque Palatine.

“I am very pleased to see that banks are supporting our strategy to pursue M&A opportunities and strengthen our leading position as the number one video advertising marketplace in the world,” said Teads executive chairman, Pierre Chappaz. “This financing demonstrates the trust they have in Teads’ management capability to keep the right balance between growth and profitability.”

Teads claims to have been profitable for the past four years and has a customer based including Mashable, The Washington Post and Clarin.

Content marketing automation platform gets US$4m cash injection

Canadian content marketing automation vendor, LookBookHq, has received US$4m in a Series A funding round left by Edison Partners.

The funding will be used to propel rapid growth in the US, as well as help support expansion of the vendor’s proprietary solution, Content Science, a recommendation engage that helps brands better relate to prospective buyers through relevant content while they’re actively browsing.

LookBookHq co-founder and CEO, Mark Opauszky, said the company had acquired nearly 100 mid-market and enterprise customers in the last 12 months and seen 2.4 times annual recurring revenue growth.

“While we’ve achieved a lot to date, we have a big vision for the company and we’re very excited to be working with Edison and Hyde Park to realise that vision,” he said. “We believe that their experience with marketing technology portfolio companies such as Terminus, TripleLift, Offerpop and Magnetic will be invaluable in helping us take LookBookHQ to the next level.”

New platform aims to synchronise customer data for marketers

Evergage has announced availability of its Data Hub, which it says is designed to act as a centralised repository of customer data for marketers to tap into for real-time personalisation and analysis.

The hub allows data to be exchanged with third-party systems using custom configurations or one of 25 packaged up integrations for CRM apps, email and marketing automation platforms, and ad networks such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Marketo. Once the hub is integrated with these platforms, marketers can create unified customer profiles and pass field or segment data between systems and use it to target audiences and experiences through their martech stack.

According to Evergage CEO, Karl Wirth, it’s common for marketers to have data in more than a dozen different locations. “We created Evergage Data Hub to put the power of today’s technology and data in the hands of marketers,” he said.

“Now, marketers can capture deep behavioural data and sync with external attribute data for a single view of each customer or account, which improves the value and drives greater benefit for both marketers and their customers.”

CommerceHub spins out as its own publicly listed trading company

Ecommerce services company, CommerceHub, has completed its spin out from Liberty Interactive Corp and started trading a standalone business on the Nasdaq on 25 July.

The company offers a cloud-based fulfilment and marketing solution to help digital sellers with product management, customer delivery and digital promotional activity. Its customer base includes Walmart, Best Buy and QVC.

In a report on VentureBeat, company president and CEO, Frank Poore, said the new-found sense of independence was re-energising the team, but said it is otherwise continuing to execute on its existing growth plans. The vendor’s revenue in 2015 lifted by 33.1 per cent to $87.6 million, according to reports released in April.

PubMatic partners with Proxama on automated beacon marketing

In a sign of growing sophistication in mobile ad approaches, publishing marketing automation software vendor, PubMatic, has struck a partnership with Proxama to help drive programmatic mobile ad buying across its apps.

Under the agreement, PubMatic is providing Proxama with a private marketplace that will enable brands and agencies working with Proxama to see premium mobile ad opportunities, then make a choice on where to invest in order to better target mobile customers. The pair are also working closely to drive PubMatic’s programmatic strategy across its app inventory.

“Proxama has the biggest network of Bluetooth beacons in the UK; however, if the ads being served aren’t relevant to consumers, the value we offer to brands and publishers is reduced considerably,” said John Kennedy, CEO at Proxama. “Therefore, we need a programmatic strategy to help us realise the value of advertising through PMPs. PubMatic was the obvious partner.”

PubMatic country manager for the UK, Paul Gubbins, added location’s importance in mobile buy-side conversations made access to the inventory that Proxama has that can provide the exact physical state of the audience is valuable to agencies and the advertisers they represent.

-With additional reporting by Katherine Noyes.

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