CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 24 August 2017

All the latest martech and adtech news from aprimo, Hyper Anna, NICE, [24]7, HubSpot, Hootsuite, DoubleVerify, Immserv and Sigstr.

Aprimo debuts SaaS DAM

Aprimo has taken the wrappers off the software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of its digital asset management (DAM) solution, ADAM.

The marketing technology vendor acquired the platform in March and has been working to integrate the offering since then. The latest SaaS version promises seamless integration through the Aprimo integration framework, the combination of DAM with the vendor’s flagship and cloud-based marketing resource management offering for better workflow management, and automatic updates.

It also includes Aprimo Product Content Management, new functionality that allows marketers to manage product information and marketing content in one place in order to better streamline content creation and product launches.

“Marketers are awash in oceans of content trying to deliver the right experience across the right channels,” noted Aprimo CEO, John Stammen. “With Aprimo, they now have a single cloud-based solution to manage the entire content lifecycle, plus the ability to seamlessly scale and flex in today’s digital-first world.”

Aussie AI startup secures $16m cash injection

A Sydney-based startup that developed a virtual data scientist to help businesses better access business intelligence and real-time insights using natural language has secured $16 million in funding.

Hyper Anna was established in February 2016 with the launch of 'Anna', a virtual data scientist that uses natural language requests to help users better understand business performance.

The Series A round of funding was led by Sequoia China, and included investments from Airtree Ventures, Westpac Reinventure and IAG Firemark Ventures. Westpac and IAG were two of Hyper Anna’s early customers, and both are using ‘Anna’ to improve business reporting internally.

The capital raised will be invested directly into the expansion of Hyper Anna’s operations to international markets that include Hong Kong, Singapore, China and USA.

Read our full story on Hyper Anna here.

HubSpot joins list of investors in Sigstr

Social and content marketing management vendor, HubSpot, has made its third investment into an external vendor, participating in a US$5 million series A funding round in US upstart, Sigstr.

Sigstr provides an email signature personalisation solution designed to open up employee emails as a new owned marketing channel. Since launching earlier this year, the US-based startup has signed 300 customers and now includes brands such as Act-On, Terminus and Angie’s List as clients. It already claims to have surpassed 500 million signature impressions and has grown its team to 30 staff.

Recent product innovations include an account-based marketing function to allow users to target specific accounts, industries and regions with tailored content via email signatures, as well as Sigstr for Events, specifically aimed at driving event registrations.

The Series A funding round will be used to fuel product innovation and employees in product, sales and marketing, and was led by Hyde Park Venture Partners with participation from Battery Ventures, HubSpot, Grand Ventures and High Alpha Capital.

“Our vision is to unleash the power of your employees and to help marketers leverage employees to market from the inside out,” Sigstr CEO, Bryan Wade, said. “We’re thrilled with our recent product innovations and are eager to continue to expand our product roadmap into areas that transcend the signature.”

NICE aims at one customer experience 

NICE has launched its new customer experience platform, CXone, in the Australian and new Zealand markets.

The cloud-based contact centre platform features omni-channel routing, workforce optimisation features, real-time interaction, desktop and customer journey analytics, quality management and automation and is powered by artificial intelligence. There’s also hundreds of APIs to enable integrate with partners solutions as well as customer extensions aimed at better tying the platform to other solutions supporting the organisation’s customer experience efforts.

“With NICE inContact CXone, organisations can now focus on day-to-day customer experience innovations rather than investing their energy in infrastructure integrations,” said NICE Asia-Pacific president, Darren Rushworth.

“The CXone platform allows them to rapidly and dynamically adapt their customer experience programs, act smarter to deliver a personalised journey across channels and touch points, and respond faster due to the agility of the platform’s cloud infrastructure.”

NICE now claims to support 6 billion interactions delivered in the cloud annually and 200,000 customer service agents across 25,000 organisations.

[24]7 offers up AI-powered virtual agent

Customer experience management vendor, [24]7, is bringing artificial intelligence to real-time interactions with a new Virtual Agent for both speech and digital channels.

The vendor claims the AI-powered Virtual Agent (AIVA) allows enterprises to build once and deploy across any self-service channel, including Web, IVR, messaging platforms and SMS. This is designed to allow brands to better anticipate and act on consumer intent in order to improve personalisation in interactions.  

It does this by using a single language and intent model across channels to ensure interactions are being drawn from the same business and application logic and has back-end integration capability with other enterprise platforms such as CRM and billing. The new offering also uses predictive modelling based on 1.6 billion customer interactions and the vendor’s expertise to customer intent specific to each industry.

“We’ve designed AIVA to perform as well as a company’s best human agent,” said [24]7 CMO, Scott Horn. “With [24]7 AIVA, businesses can predict what customers are looking to do, and deliver the best resolution. Consumers can begin a conversation through self-service, and complete the transaction with a live chat agent who has context of the previous conversation.

“The ability to use channels interchangeably, pick up where they left off, and never have to start over, results in a superior customer experience.”

DoubleVerify the latest player to be picked up by private equity

Third-party ad verification player, DoubleVerify, has become the latest vendor to be picked up by private equity for what’s expected to be a US$200 million price tag.

Providence Equity Partners has reportedly purchased a majority stake in the company, with The Wall Street Journal sources pegging the value of the deal at about US$200 million, and the company’s total value at more than $300m.

According to a report on AdExchanger, DoubleVerify has revenues of about $70 million and has raised $46.5m to date to fund its growth ambitions. The most cash injection was via a VC funding round led by Institutional Venture Partners and JMI Equity in 2011. The company was founded in 2008.

The deal means Integral Ad Science is the last independent ad verification company in the market. Competitor, Moat, was acquired by Oracle in April.

In the AdExchanger report, DoubleVerify CEO, Wayne Gattinella, said third-party measurement is very much here to stay, and said he will stay on following closure of the deal.

Read the full report here.

Virtual reality startup scores US$10.5m

Another company to benefit from a cash injection this week is Immersv, an interactive programmatic advertising platform for mobile 360-degree and virtual reality (VR) content.

The Series A founding round was led by Rogers Venture Partners and gained the support of a number of strategic investors including Foundation Capital, Initial Capital, East ventures, HTC Vive and The Venture Reality Fund. The US$10.8 million will be used to accelerate product development as well as expand inventory through publisher as well as supply-side platform integrations and grow the company’s global footprint.

Immersv combines interactive 360 advertising with a programmatic real-time bidding platform. The company has recently signed programmatic deals with 15 Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) and SSPs including Tremor Video, YuMe, Bidswitch, ironSource, Supership and United in Japan. Major brands that have used the platform to execute campaigns include Nissan, Hawaii Tourism Bureau and Mountain Dew.

“While the mobile video market continues to grow, we believe interactive advertising experiences will displace the current video advertising market in the next few years providing better results for advertisers, higher yield for publishers, and a significantly better experience for consumers,” said Immersv CEO, Mihir Shah.

Hootsuite collaborates with Adobe

Social media management platform, Hootsuite, has struck a partnership to integrate its platform with adobe’s Creative Cloud and Adobe Stock.

The collaboration will allow customers to access, edit, distribute and measure the impact of social content direct from Hootsuite, helping provide rigour and efficiency around content production. Specifically, Hootsuite customers will be able to edit and optimise images for social using Adobe Creative SDK, as well as discover and licence content from the Adobe Stock library of more than 90 million high-quality creative assets.

"Integrating Adobe Stock into Hootsuite's platform will provide marketers with the ability to easily extend the reach of their content into social media,” said Adobe Stock VP, Claude Alexandre. “High quality and authentic imagery is critical for engaging and communicating with customers, and this partnership will enable brands to be more visually impactful with their digital and content marketing initiatives.”

Hootsuite SVP of strategy and corporate development, Matt Switzer, said the deal marketers the ability to create and distribute high quality content faster.

“Adobe leads the creative market, and we are thrilled to work together to offer our customers capabilities that will enable them to get more value from their content,” he added.  

Adobe Stock is available both as a standalone service and as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud.

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