CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 27 May 2021

All the latest martech and adtech news from Piano, Verint, Adform, Adgile, Next&Co, Qualified, Lotame, Contentsquare and TeamSupport.

Contentsquare lands US$500m

Digital experience analytics vendor, Contentsquare, has secured a whopping US$500 million in Series E investment to fuel its technology and international growth ambitions.

The latest funding round values Contentsquare at US$2.8 billion. The investment was led by Softbank Vision Fund and also supported by existing investors, Eurazeo, Bpifrance, KKR, Canaan, Highland Europe and funds managed by BlackRock. This latest round comes one year after Contentsquare’s $190m Series D raise, bringing total funding to date to $810m.

The company said the proceeds will go towards continued investment in its core technology as well as support expansion outside of the US and Europe into new markets across Asia. The company claims to have built an annual compound annual recurring revenue growth rate of 121 per cent over the past four years and has 750 customers including BMW, Gucci, Ikea, Microsoft, Rakuten, Sephora, The NorthFace and Verizon.

The Contentsquare platform analyses customer behaviour through trillions of anonymous Web, mobile and app interactions, using this data to create recommendations aimed at increasing user conversion, revenue, engagement and growth. The intention is to integrate customer experience data across content, UX, merchandising and performance. According to the vendor, 10,000 billion customer interactions are analysed daily across sites processing $1.5bn in transactions daily.

“Innovation is in Contentsquare’s DNA and today’s investment is a result of the tremendous hard work of our passionate and ambitious team. Our growth has been accelerated by the world’s shift towards digital, and our technology answers many of the digital transformation challenges brands face today,” said Contentsquare CEO and founder, Jonathan Cherki.

Piano raises US$88m  

Global analytics and customer data management platform, Piano, has raised US$88 million in funding to support its global growth strategy.  

The latest round was led by existing investors, Updata Partners, with support from Rittenhouse Ventures and LinkedIn. It comes after Piano raised $22m in Series B funding in January 2019, then followed it up with the acquisition of Norway-based data management platform, Cxense.

Since then, the company has claimed its revenue has grown by nearly 400 per cent, expanded into the Asia-Pacific region, integrated its customer journey and data management capabilities and also acquired France-based analytics platform AT Internet. The new funds are earmarked for growth across functions and to support development and integration of flagship journey orchestration product, Compose, plus the recent acquisition.

“The past two years have been an extraordinary period of growth for Piano as we’ve added new capabilities to our platform and grown into new markets,” said Piano CE, Trevor Kaufman. “This funding, and the addition of LinkedIn as a strategic investor, will help us continue investing in the best technology and world-class talent, enabling our clients to create compelling, data-driven customer experiences.”

Six-year-old Piano has nearly 1000 customers globally across six continents, largely in the publishing space, including CNBC, The Wall Street Journey, NBC Sports and The Economist.

Aussie company launches new media auditing tool

Australia-based Next&Co has a global patent pending for its proprietary media auditing tool, Prometheus, and is in negotiations with two social media giants to integrate with the platform.  

The company said Prometheus was a direct response to the $3 billion in digital media advertising expenditure wasted each year in digital advertising. The tool has been used by more than 300 companies, from SMEs to large multinationals and ASX-listed companies with multi-million-dollar advertising budgets to test efficiency of digital ad spend across Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bing.  

Next&Co said it’s also negotiating with TikTok and Snapchat to integrate with the platform. It can be used across any digital publisher with an API (application programming interface), including catch-up TV.  

“We have been testing Prometheus for the past 12 months. It has the ability to tell advertisers exactly where and how their ad spend is being wasted on digital platforms and by how much,” Next&Co head of organic search, John Vlasakakis, said. He claimed one financial services client using the platform determined more than $333,000 of its digital spend within one platform was being wasted annually within minutes.  

Key features of Prometheus include inbuilt KPIs such as leads, customer conversions, ROI, reach and they can choose their targets across each metric. The auditing tool then determines the exact wastage of their total annual digital spend in dollars and where that wastage is occurring campaign by campaign and on a creative level.  

Qualified scores US$51m in funding  

B2B sales and marketing management startup, Qualified, has secured a fresh US$51 million in Series B funding in a round led by Salesforce Ventures.  

The vendor provides a tool for bringing further online and website data sets into the Salesforce CRM ecosystem in order for sales and marketing teams to better qualify and engage with prospects. It was founded out of the Salesforce alumni and has quickly built up an enviable list of B2B customers including Adobe, SurveyMonkey, Talend and VMware. The company also claims to have seen revenue increase by 800 per cent in the last 12 months with a 175 per cent net retention rate.  

The latest funding comes 10 months after Qualified raised $12m in Series A funding led by Norwest Ventures but also with the support of Salesforce Ventures. The company said it will use the new capital to fuel further innovation of its platform in order to work across more nuances and customisations B2B clients have made to their selling process in Salesforce.    

Verint debuts latest AI tools  

Verint has taken the wrappers off three new solutions powered by its DaVinci AI and analytics platform combining machine learning, natural language processing, intent and sentiment models and an analytics engine.  

Real-Time Agent Assist involves AI-based analysis of customer interactions and agent desktop activities in real-time to detect moments of truth such as customer complaints, escalations, compliance risks and positive / negative sentiment then provides alerts and guidance to staff. The new Contextual Knowledge offering, meanwhile surfaces insights automatically and in real time to agents and managers in order to improve customer responses.

Verint has also launched its Intelligent Virtual Assistant for Agent Assist, providing AI-powered continuous support during calls and chats aimed at improving handling times, response accuracy and compliance.  

Adform, Smart joins Lotame supporter ranks  

Adform and Smart have become the latest players to throw their support Lotame’s Panorama ID and will integrate their offerings with the people-based identity solution.

Adform has merged its advertising management programmatic workflow with the Lotame Panorama ID, in order to extend cookie-less targeting with greater scale and enrichment capabilities. Ad monetisation platform, Smart, has also extended use of Panorama ID for its premium publisher clients using its Adserver or SSP (supply-side platform). Smart said its aim is to fully support ID alternatives and to allow publishers to benefit from improved user recognition and monetisation of programmatic transactions.  

The latest hook-ups come as the deadline for the death of the cookie looms ever closer. Other players backing Lotame’s ID solution include Magnite, Advance Local, Eyeota and Sovrn.  

Adgile brings TV attribution platform to Australia

TV advertising performance management company, Adgile, has officially brought its long-term effects attribution product to the Australian market.  

The tool is being delivered through the company’s cloud-based performance management platform, Catalyst and is a complement to existing short-term effects attribution capability. It allows user to ingest relevant data sets and conduct experiments and A/B testing via machine learning across different periods of time and across planning variables such as creative, context, programming, channel, regions and demographics.  

 “Digital metrics of course have a valuable role to play, but they will not help brands optimise their TV advertising to address key longer-term performance questions that consider consumer attitude, behaviour, awareness, intent and sales – whether online or offline,” Adgile global head of product, Isaac Stefaniw, said. “Bringing accountability to advertising holistically required a unique solution that could go beyond short-term performance and reflect the bigger picture and power that we all know TV can deliver.”  

TeamSupport snaps up chat software

B2B customer support software player, TeamSupport, has acquired SnapEngage, an enterprise chat software for customer support and customer success teams, for an undisclosed sum.

The company’s aim is to provide a best-in-class suite of omnichannel chat, automation, helpdesk and client experience products for better customer interactions that drive customer retention and growth. The two companies will combine into one under the TeamSupport brand, although SnapEngage will continue to operate from existing offices.

The SnapEngage chat offerings will be fully integrated into the TeamSupport suite of products, as well as continue to be sold separately. SnapEngage is used in 87 countries and gives TeamSupport global chat capabilities across its full suite including two new offerings, TeamInsights and TeamSuccess.

“Bringing SnapEngage into the TeamSupport family allows us to continue changing the narrative that customer support is a cost centre, to one where it is an untapped opportunity to accelerate revenue,” said TeamSupport CEO, Pete Khanna. “The combined offering strengthens our vision of empowering customer support and success organisations to deliver exceptional service and increased value to their customers well after the initial sale.”

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