CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 17 August 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Appboy, Geronimo, Mobile Embrace, Tableau, ClearGraph, Meltwater, Optimizely, Seismic and Videology.

Appboy raises US$50 million

Appboy says it has the big CRM and marketing cloud giants in its sights after securing US$50 million in its latest Series D funding round.

The company offers a mobile-led customer interactions management platform designed to help brands personalise engagement with consumers in real time and across channels. Its retail-heavy list of clients includes Domino’s, Airbnb, Lyft, iHeart Radio, Seven West Media, and Urban Outfitters.

The new funding will be used to accelerate the product roadmap and better take on existing marketing cloud and CRM competitors globally. Appboy claims to have seen a 12X increase in annual recurring revenue, and a 7X increase in total message volume year-on-year.

“Appboy now sends tens of billions of messages per month, and maintains profiles for nearly a billion monthly active users spanning more than 400 clients in 35 countries across six continents," said its CEO and co-founder, Bill Magnuson. “This significant infusion of capital marks our next phase of growth, allowing us to execute on our product vision while we continue leading the charge to replace the incumbent marketing clouds.  

“By combining the expertise of our people and the sophistication of our platform, brands can satisfy the ever-changing demands of their customers by delivering real-time, cross-channel experiences that build long-term value for brands.”  

In addition to ICONIQ leading the round, Series C lead, Battery Ventures, and all prior major investors participated.  

It’s Geronimo for Tapit Media

Mobile customer experience company, Geronimo, has acquired Tapit Media in order to get its hands on the latter’s near field communications (NFC) technology solutions and smarts.

Geronimo is a two-year old company focused on mobile marketing strategy, technology, data, creative and media. Its clients include Pfizer, Westfield, SBS, nib and Commonwealth Bank.

The company said the Tapit acquisition further consolidates its position as a leading innovator in mobile marketing industry and enhances the capabilities of its mobile customer experience (MCX) platform. Geronimo plans to integrate Tapit’s proprietary technology, data and IP into its own technology stack and has also retained Tapit founder, Jamie Conyngham, as CEO of the newly acquired business.  

Tapit, which was established in 2011, has focused on the contactless communications sector, working with global brands such as Google, Microsoft, Unilever, P&G and Nestle to deploy, manage and analyse mobile infrastructure such as NFC tags and QR codes.  

“Geronimo is all about improving a customer’s experience with a brand using mobile. Tapit’s platform helps us connect the physical world with the digital world and we believe the platform will allow people use their phones to transact with companies in the future,” Geronimo CEO, Matt Hunt, said.  

“If you sit in any chief marketing officer’s role in Australia, I think it’s difficult to argue there is any more pressing issue than focussing on the customer and improving the way you connect with them. That’s why investing in NFC technology and why mobile innovation is so key for our clients and for the team at Geronimo.”

Mobile Embrace acquires C2B Solutions for $6.5 million

ASX-listed carrier billing m-commerce player, Mobile Embrace, has acquired performance marketing company, C2B Solutions, in a deal worth $6.5 million.

C2B’s focus is on customer acquisition by generating high-volume, permissioned consumer leads on online and mobile devices and helping to convert those via outbound call centres. The company is forecast to generate an EBITDA of $2.5m for FY2018 and is expected to be earnings positive immediately.

The deal is based on an upfront cash payment of $2.5m, followed by up to $4m over the next two years subject to achieving targeted earnings. C2B’s co-founders, Ben Carrington and Michael Fort-Williams, have agreed to stay on with the acquired business.

Mobile Embrace CEO and MD, Neil Wiles, said C2B is an innovative and proven company and will bolster his company’s digital performance marketing strategy and open up new growth opportunities. He noted the pair had been partnering over the last 18 months via MBE’s The Performance Factory agency.

“The acquisition of C2B also enables MBE to provide more performance marketing products to accurately satisfy the customer conversion demands of SMEs and major brand businesses across the greatest number of industry verticals,” he claimed. “The value and importance of this is growing, with businesses globally being in an environment where identifying reliable ROI for every digital marketing dollar spent is of increasing challenge and priority.”

Meltwater purchases data discovery platform

Media intelligence and analytics consulting group, Meltwater, has also joined the list of acquirers this week, picking up Cosmify, an artificial intelligence-based knowledge discovery platform, for an undisclosed sum.

In a statement, the company said Cosmify’s machine learning technology for analysing corporate data sets will help with better data management across multiple sources for business decision making. Cosmify was founded in 2014 by Eugene Ciurana, and chairman, Bart Swanson, who launched their first machine learning company, Summly, with 16-year old founder and Oxford student, Nick D’Aloisio. That business was sold to Yahoo! for US$30 million in 2013.

The deal is Meltwater’s fifth acquisition in less than nine months and is part of a bigger ambition to build the largest AI-driven data repository globally. Other purchases include Canada-based media monitoring and analytics firm, Infomart, Hong Kong-based social big data solution, Klarity, and Oxford University spinout, Wrapidity, another AI upstart.

“The best business decisions are based on forward-looking data. Today external data on the open internet is one of the most important sources for forward-looking information,” Meltwater founder and CEO, Jorn Lyseggen, said. “Cosmify’s advanced discovery, clustering, and classification capabilities will enhance Meltwater’s ability to connect the dots between a wide range of data types from internal and external data and ultimately help business leaders make more informed decisions.” 

Ciurana said the company’s unsupervised learning system extracts knowledge from internal and external, unstructured data sources such as PDFs, free-text, spreadsheets, media files, presentations, cloud drives, calendars, or chat systems.

Tableau buys its way to new smart discovery capabilities

Data visualisation vendor, Tableau, was another vendor buying its way to new functionality, acquiring Palo Alto startup, ClearGraph, to improve smart data discovery.

ClearGraph uses natural language query technology to enable more efficient data analysis. Tableau said it plans to integrate the capabilities into its core product offerings to make it easier for users to ask questions and search for insights.

“Natural language queries will make it easier for more people to interact with Tableau, whether you’re an executive who needs an answer quickly, or on a mobile phone and want an answer from your data on the move,” said Tableau chief product officer, Francois Ajenstat. “We’re excited about this acquisition as the ClearGraph team shares our mission and is aligned with out innovation perspectives on conversational analytics.”

While financial details have not been disclosed, ClearGraph did raise US$1.53 million from Accel Partners prior to being acquired.

Optimizely brings experimentation platform to Australia

Test-and-learn platform provider, Optimizely, has opened a dedicated office in Australia, its fifth office outside its US HQ.

The decision to launch locally comes off the back of strong growth in the region, with the company experiencing 257 per cent year-on-year growth in product usage, servicing more than 28 million experiences a month. Existing Australian customers include Atlassian, Optus, AGL Energy, Chemist Warehouse, Fox Sports, and Kogan.

Since being founded in 2010, Optimizely has raised US$146m to date to fund its growth plans.

Read our full report on the launch, along with Optimizely’s founder’s views on the state of the CMO, here.

Seismic lands in Australia

Marketing and sales enablement vendor, Seismic, has opened in Sydney and appointed a local team to drive growth across Australia and New Zealand.

The US-based vendor offers a platform for automating content management, personalisation and sales delivery in order to improve the efficiency and productivity of sales teams. Seismic claims to have chalked up 103 per cent year-on-year growth during Q2, and counts HP, Experian and Deutsche Bank among its clients.

Seismic’s new A/NZ managing director, Andy Pattinson, will take charge of leading the local expansion, and is expected to grow headcount to double-digits by the end of 2017.  

“It is so exciting to take a true value proposition to Australian and New Zealand CMOs, to enable marketing and sales teams to increase sales content ROI and sales productivity,” he commented.  “As A/NZ enterprises begin to adopt sales enablement solutions as part of their core sales and marketing initiatives, I’m proud to have the opportunity to introduce and grow the Seismic team, presence, and customer base in A/NZ.”

In a statement, the company said 2016 was the fifth consecutive year the business grew by triple digits, with more than 350 enterprise customers now on its books.

Videology secures US$80 million credit facility

Videology has confirmed an US$80 million credit facility from lending and payment services provider, FastPay and Tennenbaum Capital, aimed at more aggressively advancing its video advertising platform.

In a report on AdExchanger, videology CEO, Scott Ferber, said the group had raised $121m to date in capital financing, but felt it didn’t make sense to go through another round of VC and opted for the credit facility instead. Having access to new funds will give the company more liquidity to expand its TV offering globally.

The vendor offers cross-screen software for managing, measuring and optimising digital video and TV advertising. The company has struck data, publisher and industry partnerships to support its technology with audience insights from across the digital and TV ecosystem, and capabilities such as predictive demo targeting.

You can read the full AdExchanger report here.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

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