CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 11 October 2018

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from LiveRamp, Braze, Kapost, Reltio, OneTrust, Sizmek, Lithium, Spredfast, Catalog, Shopple and Verint.

Braze raises US$80 million in latest funding round

Braze (formerly Appboy) has secured US$80 million in Series E round of funding led by Meritech Capital Partners, a venture capital company with investments in leading technology brands such as Facebook, MuleSoft and Salesforce.

This latest infusion of capital brings Braze to $130 million raised in just over a year, and has more than doubled the company's valuation since raising $850 million from Series D funding in 2017.The martech vendor provides a mobile marketing messaging solution used by more than 500 clients globally including KFC in Australia, Microsoft, Lyft and HBO.

Since the beginning of 2017, Braze claims to have more than tripled its annual recurring revenue, increased monthly email volume by 600 per cent, and opened a Singapore office marking its official entry into the APAC market.

LiveRamp launches IdentityLink Data Store in Australia and Japan

LiveRamp has launched its IdentityLink Data Store offering in the Asia-Pacific region.

Australia and Japan are the first two markets to go live with the new feature, fuelling the company’s regional expansion strategy. Through IdentityLink Data Store, data sellers can manage and monetise their data across more than 100+ platforms globally while maintaining control of how the data is being used.

Buyers can also access over more than 20 in-region and 180 leading data providers globally. The data providers offer a wide range of ethically-sourced and privacy-conscious transactional data as well as in-market, behavioural, geolocation and demographic information. Additionally, marketers will be able to access more than 3500 digital audience segments across a large range of industry verticals, broadening their target audience horizon.

To do this, LiveRamp has partnered with a range of data partners such as Roy Morgan, Experian, Factual, Greater Data and Eight Dragons Digital.

Lithium Technologies and Spredfast complete merger

Lithium Technologies and Spredfast have official closed their merger transaction.

The companies said the combination of Lithium and Spredfast’s expertise and technology creates an ability for brands to connect with the customer wherever they are. With more than 2000 brands spanning 100 countries, Lithium and Spredfast manage over one billion customer connections a day across social media, messaging, and owned digital channels.

“This is the start of a new era for our industry,” said Pete Hess, who will serve as CEO of the combined company. “Our shared North Star has always been, and will continue to be, our customers’ success, and we are overwhelmed by the positive response we’ve had to this news, from our customers and from the market.

"They share our view that combining Spredfast and Lithium will enable their businesses to transform how they engage and build lifelong relationships with their consumers.”

Peer39 by Sizmek aims to advance ad fraud detection 

Advertising verification vendor, Sizmek, has taken the wrappers off an AI-driven fraud detection and filtration solution that identifies bots and other invalid traffic threats. 

Peer39 by Sizmek aims to diminish risk exposure, increase brand protection by further supporting brand integrity, and improve media spend efficiency by limiting dollars wasted on fraudulent activity. 

Additionally, the company is unveiling an enhanced iteration of its post-buy verification dashboard now including video, designed to give users more consolidated, ad server-agnostic advertiser and campaign reporting.  

Sizmek developed its AI-powered fraud detection and filtration capabilities that target Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT), or difficult to detect methods used by bad actors that require advanced analytics, multi-point corroboration or coordination, or significant human intervention.

Custom content creation startup debuts

Content creation startup, Catalog, has made its market debut with US$1.5 million in seed funding.

Catalog automates the production of custom visual content from start to finish with a solution that cost companies US$20 per photo. Customers of Catalog first upload their brand aesthetic, mood and product shot list. From there, Catalog handles the rest.

It does this by doing artificial intelligence-powered scans across Web content for the best creators that meet a brand’s aesthetic, with the system then handling negotiations, usage rights, as well as legal and compliance. Once Catalog receives the product(s), content creators follow the brand guidelines and produce custom visuals.

Catalog’s artificial intelligence also analyses visual data and a company’s brand guidelines to predict what images the company will need next. Catalog then works with its creators to proactively produce these visuals so companies can pick and choose from an evergrowing library of custom content that’s already on-brand.

Kapost launches fresh content operations tools

Also targeting content producers is Kapost, which has launched fresh tools including Content Operations Self-Assessment and Workshop Facilitation Cards.

In addition to Kapost’s platform to support marketing teams, the vendor said it's created its tools for content operations to help teams solve the people and process challenges of content creation and management.

“Technology alone isn’t the answer to marketers’ problems, and content operations is the future of content marketing, which is a grown-up content marketing framework that delivers value across the entire organisation, not just the marketing team,” said Kapost CEO and co-founder, Toby Murdock. “We're committed to providing not just technology but also support for the people and processes which enable marketers to get the right content to their customers at the right time.”

Reltio expands support for Salesforce plus Adobe, Microsoft, SAP Open Data Initiative

Reltio has confirmed its support for both Salesforce Customer 360 and the new Open Data Initiative by Adobe, Microsoft and SAP.

The Open Data Initiative aims to create a single data model for consumer data that is portable between Adobe, Microsoft and SAP's marketing and business technology platforms. Salesforce’s Customer 360, meanwhile, is the latest offering from the cloud giant designed to help companies better identify customers and their past interactions seamlessly across its cloud plartforms.

Reltio said its data management platform is capable of supporting and extending the functionality of both initiatives by continuously unifying and organising data within the enterprise while making it universally accessible for collaboration and consumption. Reltio Cloud also includes critical data regulatory compliance such as Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well integrated analytics and machine learning to power customer experience and personalisation.

OneTrust launches unified Global Readiness and Accountability platform

OneTrust has released the unified OneTrust Global Readiness and Accountability platform. The tool integrates a growing library of privacy laws to show customers a comprehensive view of their privacy program readiness across the world’s various privacy laws and security frameworks.

The platform is designed to give organisations assess to their compliance within a single dynamic framework and automatically benchmark compliance against many global privacy laws all at once.

The OneTrust Global Readiness and Accountability tool includes individual templates, as well as the ability to customise a global readiness assessment for benchmarking against multiple laws and frameworks within a single assessment. Backed by Privacypedia, OneTrust’s new database of global privacy regulations, research, guidance and templates, the OneTrust Global Readiness and Accountability tool is fully customisable.

OneTrust Global Readiness and Accountability tool will be available in Q4, 2018.

Shopple launches new online sales channel

A new Australian online sales offering, Shopple, has debuted, aiming to take customer engagement to the next level.

Shopple is an online sales tool that aims to revolutionise the way businesses communicate with customers. It does this by connecting online customers with in-store sales assistance via live video link, providing more personalised, tailored and authentic digital shopping experience.

Retailers across a range of sectors including fashion, furniture and car sales, homewares and florist have already signed up to this startup including HelloCars, Cerrone Jewellery, Cafeideas and Storm in a D Cup.

Verint enhances Community solution

Customer engagement management platform provider, Verint Systems, has made enhancements to its Community solution, available in the cloud or on-premises.

The Community solution is a component of the vendor's automated Intelligent Self-Service portfolio, which includes Web self-service, knowledge management (KM), intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) and interactive voice response (IVR). Feature upgrades include more simplified theming functionality to more promptly customise the community site interface, along with automated drill-down reporting.

The enhancements are part of Verint’s strategy to help organisations meet growing consumer preferences for more automated self-service interactions.

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