CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 29 June 2017

All the latest news from RadiumOne, AdLedger, Hootsuite, Celtra, Synthio, ReachLocal, Outbrain and MessageGears.

RadiumOne is snapped up for US$22m

Global digital adtech company, RhythmOne, has acquired the assets of data-driven marketing platform, RadiumOne, in a deal worth approximately US$22 million.

Founded in 2004 in the UK and now headquartered in San Francisco, RhythmOne’s recent acquisition is pitched as fortifying the vendor's unified programmatic offering, which will now incorporate curated, high-quality audiences from publishers across devices and formats on the supply side, integrated with greater media buying capability to enable advertisers to maximise campaign effectiveness. RhythmOne is paying US$5.5 million upfront in cash for RadiumOne’s assets, with a further US$16.5 million to be paid in shares at a future date. The company has reportedly assumed about US$4m in net liabilities.

“One of the biggest challenges facing advertisers today is how to leverage the rich data they get from customers throughout the buying cycle,” RhythmOne’s CRO, Richard Nunn, said. “RadiumOne’s powerful data-driven marketing platform combined with RhythmOne’s massive, high-quality supply footprint will truly enable brands to develop and activate segmentation and targeting strategies based on unique consumer insights.”

For our full report on the acquisition, read more here.

New consortium looks to blockchain for ad supply improvements

A new consortium has launched to investigate the use of blockchain in driving new transparency and data security across the digital advertising supply chain.

AdLedger is backed by blockchain adtech startup, MadHive, along with IBM, Integral Ad Science and Tegna’s OTT ad subsidiary, Premion. Its ambition is to bring together advertising industry players to collaborate on how blockchain could be employed as a technology to transform the advertising industry, and create a programmatic supply chain where intermediaries and stakeholders that contribute data to a campaign are transparent to buyers and sellers.

“The network will aim to remove layers of inefficiency in technology stacks to address the issue of the disappearing ad dollar, introduce cross-network identity management and attribution reporting, and establish a protocol around a decentralised peer-to-peer data sharing solution,” the group stated. “Based on existing industry standards, AdLedger will also determine rules and standards for the protocol that would apply to audience segments, regulatory compliance, data uploads, encryption via keys, and a universal language for smart contracts.”

According to a report on AdExchanger, the working group specifically plans to take on issues such as technical standards, regulatory concerns and the language of ‘smart contracts’, one of the key capabilities within blockchain. It’s also working on open source code for what it calls ‘the blind trust’, or a method to upload and transact first-party data.

You can read the full AdExchanger report on AdLedger’s plans here.

Hootsuite aims to amplify sales

Social media management vendor, Hootsuite, has extended its platform to sales, launching a new mobile-first solution to help sales teams with lead management across social channels.

Amplify for Selling aims to help sales teams be more successful on social by generating leads and fostering relationships. Key features of the mobile application include integration with CRM, allowing teams to directly import contacts into Amplify for Selling to follow on Twitter, as well as social signal functionality, allowing them to reach out in real time.

The tool also allows sales people to share and curate content across multiple social channels in real time, as well as view and report on how leads engaged with content by use, social network and category.    

“Sales reps are constantly under pressure to find and develop qualified leads in order to meet quota. Hootsuite’s Amplify for Selling solution empowers reps to leverage social to nurture and build rewarding relationships that can turn into closed deals, faster,” said global industry principal at Hootsuite, Koka Sexton.

Creative management platform gets US$15m backing from Unilever, WPP

Celtra, a US-based creative management platform provider, is looking to extend its global reach after securing US$15 million in its latest fundraising round.

Led by Unilever Ventures and WPP, both of which use Celtra’s platform across their organisations and partner networks globally, the latest cash injection will be used to help take the cloud-based creative operating system to a wider market.

Celtra was established in 2011 and now has about 400 clients globally in the digital media and advertising industry. The vendor claims to have pioneered HTML5 authoring with integrated creative serving for mobile advertising, and is an agnostic solution allowing users to better distribute video, display and native ad products.

“Creative is the conduit for the marketer's message. It should always be on point and carefully refined," said Celtra founder and CEO, Miha Mikek. “Celtra's platform helps transform brands, agencies, creative producers and other partners into highly performant, data-driven, effective digital storytellers.”

Unilever was among the first global advertisers that recognised the potential of the approach.

“Creative is an increasingly complex challenge for large advertisers and one that is constantly changing due to rapid evolution of media consumption. People deserve advertising that feels native to each medium and delivers emotional value. Celtra helps us deliver that at global scale,” said Unilever CMO, Keith Weed.

Synthio secures US$10.5m for B2B suite  

B2B customer data platform provider, Synthio, has secured US$10.5 million to extend the capabilities of its offering.

The latest financing round in the US-based company (formerly known as Social123) was led by Fulcrum Equity Partners, with participation from current investors such as Vocap Investment Partners, Ellis Capital, Spinnaker VC Direct and Stanley Partners. It brings total funding to date to US$18.5m.

Synthio founder and CEO, Aaron Biddar, said the new funding would allow the company to continue investing in its ability to synthesise first- and third-party data into better quality contact, firmagraphic, and technographic profiles. These are vital to both account-based marketing strategies, as well as marketing automation platforms, he said.

“Our contact-centric approach to customer data is unique in the market and is an indispensable solution designed to address the major pain points hampering marketers' productivity and performance,” he said.

In addition to platform and product investment, Synthio also plans to grow its marketing, sales and customer success teams.  The company focuses on mid-sized and enterprise customers worldwide through a subscription-based model, and claims to have more than 200 active clients. 

ReachLocal launches geofencing marketing solution

Australian marketing services company, ReachLocal, has launched a new location-based mobile marketing solution that uses geofencing technology to better address consumers.

The company claims ReachDisplay GeoFence is the industry’s first ‘packaged’ geofencing solution, combining location-based mobile marketing with the ability to track conversions in order to better gauge return on investment.

The technology uses location-based targeting to enable a business to pinpoint and target customers where and when products and services are more relevant to them. This could be either when they’re close to a store or showroom, or during a promotional event. Once a business sets up the geofence perimeter for its campaign, consumers are targeted based on the GPS signals of their smartphones.

In addition, the offering allows brands to track offline store visits or physical consumer behaviour off the back of mobile ads, while also tracking impressions, clicks, calls and online form fills from ads.

“This location-based mobile technology enables a business to define a specific, geographic area for displaying its ads on mobile applications, and then target customers in close proximity to their business which can lead to an increase of in-store visitors. It also puts a company in front of consumers where they are spending the majority of their time - on their smartphones,” said ReachLocal Australia MD, Justin O’Sullivan.

Outbrain to lay off 4% of workforce

Israeli content discovery player, Outbrain, is laying off 4 per cent of its total workforce as part of a restructure of its business operations.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, company is refocusing efforts on automated media trade, instead of tools for assisting site editors. Outbrain currently has about 500 employees globally and was founded in 2006.

A company spokesperson said that with the sector growing and changing so rapidly, it was time to sharpen its focus and invest resources in key areas of activity that are generating growth.

For more information, visit the Wall Street Journal report here.

MessageGears raises US$2.75m in new financing

Another martech vendor aiming to have more cash in its coffers is email marketing provider, MessageGears. The company is in the process of raising US$2.75 million in its latest Series B financing round, according to media reports, led by existing investors, Covalent Interests and Hallett Capital.

The company is expected to use the additional funding to hire 100 new employees, according to an Atlanta Business Daily report. MessageGears raised $2.3 million 12 months ago.

According to the company, its email services are now sending more than 1 billion email marketing messages per month, with customers including Expedia, and Runkeeper.

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