CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 13 February 2020

All the latest martech and adtech news this week from Snowflake, Adobe, Clipchamp, Amazon Web Services, Adobe, Outfit, Optimove and Retina

Adobe Experience Platform launches in Australia and New Zealand

Adobe has launched Adobe Experience Platform built on Microsoft Azure’s data centre infrastructure in Australia.

The move will allow Australia and New Zealand businesses to access Adobe Experience Platform, its real-time, enterprise-grade platform for customer experience management (CXM). Local businesses can also take advantage of the various services and applications it supports, such as real-time customer data platform (CDP) and Adobe Experience Manager as a Cloud Service. 

The vendor said the Microsoft Azure Australia-based data centre will enable Australia and New Zealand businesses to have access to Adobe’s latest innovations faster and more efficiently. It also allows brands to keep critical customer information, including personally identifiable information, on-shore and will help compliance with some privacy and data sovereignty legislation. 

Alongside this, Adobe noted it had significantly invested in headcount and a physical presence locally over the past three years, and had seen double-digital digital growth during that time. .

"The investment in this new data centre forms part of a larger commitment Adobe is making in the region,” Adobe managing director A/NZ, Suzanne Steele, said. “Australia and New Zealand businesses are innovative and forward-thinking. They understand that to drive more business value, they need to deliver personalised experiences at scale, and are willing to invest to achieve this.

"Since the launch of Adobe Experience Cloud almost three years ago, we’ve seen a majority of our local banks, telcos, airlines and other major brands adopt Adobe as their gold standard for marketing technology. We expect this to continue, and therefore are investing – both in terms of local support and technical innovation.”

Adobe launches new function for Spark platform

In other Adobe news, the vendor has launched a new function on its Spark platform which enables users to add and manage multiple brands, each with its own distinct brand assets, without ever leaving the Spark editor.

Adobe Spark’s branding features include the ability to upload brand assets and apply fonts, colours and logos to any project or format in a single tap. Spark’s new multiple brand feature combines Spark’s branding capabilities, such as style matching across projects and formats, with the ability to organise projects for separate brands or campaigns.

Snowflake announce Salesforce partnership and US$479 million Series G

Cloud data platform, Snowflake, has announced US$479 million in additional growth funding co-led by new investors, Dragoneer Investment Group and Salesforce Ventures.

Other participants in the hefty funding round include existing investors, Altimeter Capital, ICONIQ Capital, Madrona Venture Group, Redpoint Ventures, Sequoia and Sutter Hill Ventures. This funding round raises Snowflake’s post-money valuation to over US$12.4 billion and comes as the company also announced a new strategic partnership with Salesforce. Details of the partnership with Salesforce will be announced at Snowflake’s annual user conference in June.

Clipchamp raises US$13.2 million

Global video creation platform, Clipchamp, has also been on the fundraising wagon, raising US$13.2 million in a Series A funding round. The funding was led by Tola Capital with participation from TEN13 and existing investors.

Clipchamp launched five years ago, with its video editor, Create, providing content creators with all the tools needed to produce beautiful and impactful video content, without relying on expensive equipment, complicated software or any previous video production experience.

Originally founded in Australia, Clipchamp also announced the company has reincorporated in the United States, with its headquarters remaining in Brisbane, Australia.

Amazon Polly launch new Brand Voice tool

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched a new feature from Amazon Polly’s team of artificial intelligence (AI) research scientists and linguists called ‘Brand Voice’.

The neural text-to-speech (NTTS) voice capability has been built to represent a brand’s persona and allow brand differentiation by incorporating a unique vocal identity into products and services. As part of this, Amazon Polly has been working with National Australia Bank (NAB) to create one of the first unique brand voices globally, using the same deep learning technology that powers the voice of Alexa. Also trialling the new technology locally is Village Entertainment.

Amazon Polly uses NTTS technology and generative AI techniques to create better-quality voices and apply or match speaking styles of a chosen persona. This enables voices to acquire intonation patterns from natural speech data and reproduce utterances in a similar style or tone. It also enables the creation of custom voices with a persona or speaking style to match a certain company and brand identity.

Outfit’s greenlights global expansion plans

Homegrown brand management firm and budding software player, Outfit, has secured $19.5 million in investment funding from B2B software investor, Five Elms Capital.

Outfit provides a collaborative marketing production platform which allows organisations to manage and control corporate branding across multiple campaign channels, departments and locations.

The platform leverages APIs and automated workflows, with an understanding of the complexities of brand management and brand compliance, to develop strategic brand management processes that save time and costs. Five Elms Capital said its investment decision was based on Outfit’s ability to capitalise on a fast-growing global market with a smart, modern solution to replace outdated and expensive marketing platforms.

Optimove acquires Axonite

Real-time event streaming platform, Axonite, has been acquired by Optimove, for an undisclsoed sum.

Optimove said the acquisition completes its new data infrastructure, Optidata, which provides clients with access to a real-time customer data platform (CDP). Axonite’s platform simplifies the process of building, deploying, and running real-time, event-driven business applications, based on any kind of data stream. With the combined offering of Optimove and Axonite, the platform provides a two-way continuous synchronisation between Optimove and any other system or database in an organisation.

Additionally, it allows for a live state to be created for each customer, including behavior and activity, while using Optimove’s self-optimising algorithms for real-time customer-led journeys. And Optimove’s customer insight and segmentation capabilities can trigger specific campaigns to customers based on external events such as favourite products re-stocked or changes in odds or jackpot status.

Retina gets US$5 million to weed out bad customers

Customer data science player, Retina, has raised US$5 million for its offering aimed at predicting lifetime value and customer behaviour.

The US-based company's latest funding round was led by existing vendor, Crosscut Ventures, and will help the group support its high-growth ambitions. The company is targeting any organisations looking to improve their repeat customer effectiveness.

To do this, Retina has built a platform that uses first-party data to predict future spending at or before the first transaction of a customer. This is in contrast to standard technology, which it claimed typically requires at least three customer transactions to forecast long-term behaviour, which could take six months to a year to determine.

"Retina determines which customers will spend more as soon as they make their first purchase, not six months from now. Our customers are saving millions of dollars in online advertising, while also increasing sales," Retina co-founder and CEO Michael Greenberg, said. "This funding allows us to expand our services and bring our insights to even more brands in 2020.”

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