CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 12 August 21

All the latest martech and adtech news from Dataiku, Bluecore, NICE, FullStory, Verint, Integral Ad Science, Validity, Spamhous and Toluna.

Dataiku secures US$400m

Artificial intelligence (AI) data vendor, Dataiku, has secured US$400 million in Series E funding for its Everyday AI solutions.

The eight-year-old business focuses on democratising data across organisations, and pitches its solutions under the moniker, Everyday AI. It has 450 customers globally including Standard Chartered Bank, GE, Unilever, Rabobank and Merck.

The latest round of funding was led by Tiger Global, with participation from existing investors including Iconiq Growth, CapitalG, FirstMark Capital, Battery Ventures, Snowflake Ventures and Dawn Capital. New investors also join in, including Insight Partners, Eurazeo and Lightrock. The funding brings Dataiku’s valuation to $4.6 billion.

“We’re proud to announce a $400 million Series E funding round that will allow Dataiku to unleash Everyday AI within exponentially more organisations around the world,” said CEO, Florian Douetteau, in a blog post. “Everyday AI is what organisations can achieve when they systemise the use of data and AI with Dataiku. It’s about making the use of data almost pedestrian — AI that is so ingrained and intertwined with the workings of the day-to-day that it’s just part of the business.”

Bluecore scores US$125m investment

Our second big investment winner this week is ecommerce personalisation platform, Bluecore, which secured US$125 million in Series E funding to drive its product offering innovation and global footprint.

The latest investment injection now sees the company gain a $1 billion valuation. Existing investor, Georgian, led the round, with participation from existing investors, FirstMark and Norwest, along with new investor, Silver Lake Waterman. The latest funding brings total investment into Bluecore to $225 million.

Bluecore is an eight-year-old business focused on bringing personalisation into ecommerce across channels. It does this by combining on first-party data sets such as customer identity, shopper behaviour and product catalogues to drive increasingly automated personalised experiences.

According to media reports, Bluecore is expecting to grow its headcount from 300 to 400 by the end of the year and will use the funds to drive product innovation as well as go-to-market capabilities.  

FullStory customer analytics gets US$103m injection

This week’s third US$100m+ investment is into customer analytics vendor, FullStory. The vendor closed its Series D funding round this week, walking away with US$103 million and bringing its total valuation up to $1.8 billion.

The latest investment brings total funding to date to $170 million. Among the investors this time were Salesforce Ventures, Permira and Kleiner Perkins.

FullStory was founded in 2014 and aims to help companies build better experiences across digital and mobile channels by providing analytics and insights for product, customer success, engineering, and marketing teams. The solution stemmed from work done by Georgia Institute of Technology students who teamed up at a DevOps startup that was later acquired by Google, and subsequently became founding members of the Google Atlanta office. Instead of a platform that uses predetermined events and tagging, FullStory’s approach collects, structures and analyses digital experience data and uses machine learning to surface insights into customer behaviours.

“With this additional capital, FullStory is going all-in on creating deeper value for our 3100 plus customers through our digital experience intelligence [DXI] platform,” said FullStory founder and CEO, Scott Voight. “Our first order of business is continuing our rapidly scaling enterprise growth. With additional funding, we can address the needs of larger organisations more quickly - just as we’ve helped industry leaders like Lowe’s, Peloton, Chipotle, FTD and Segment.”

Furthering industry-leading data privacy initiatives is also in Voight’s sights, as well as uncovering further experience improvement signals to build into its platform.

Verint acquires social conversation vendor

Verint has purchased social customer service software vendor, Conversocial, for US$50 million to build out its digital-first customer engagement platform.

The vendor said acquiring Conversocial will enhance Verint’s Customer Engagement Platform with additional social and messaging channels, expanding its conversational artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and ensuring businesses can engage with customers in their channels of choice.

With the Verint Cloud Platform, brands will now be able to use conversational AI to automate personalised communications on the customer’s preferred channel, orchestrate customer journeys across channels, and connect AI-powered knowledge management across all channels. These include connections into Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp. The tools also allow for capturing conversation, interaction and experience data from all channels and applying advanced analytics to balance operating cost and customer experience.

The deal is worth US$50 million and is subject to certain closing adjustments. It’s expected to close in Verint’s third quarter. Conversocial’s client base includes Google, Sephora, British Airways and Hertz.

Integral Ad Science purchases Publica for US$220m

Digital media management vendor, Integral Ad Science (IAS), has acquired Publica for US$220 million in a cash and stock deal.  

Publica offers a connected TV (CTV) advertising platform that works with broadcasters, TV manufacturers and OTT apps to manage CTV inventory through unified auctions, ad pod management, audience management and server-side ad insertion. The US-based company services 3 billion ads monthly. These will now be included into IAS’s CTV offerings.

IAS said the acquisition accelerates its CTV strategy to help publishers better monetise their video programming across CTV devices, while building new tools to provide advertisers with much-needed transparency into the quality of this inventory. This includes expanding IAS’s CTV verification solution for global invalid traffic (IVT) and viewability across programmatic and direct buying on all apps and providers.

IAS plans to introduce a brand safety and suitability solution for CTV advertisers and publishers in the coming months, bolstered by Publica’s existing platform and CTV content data.

NICE debuts SmartAssist

Also bolstering its conversational AI capabilities this week is NICE, which launched a new CXone SmartAssist powered by the Amelia conversation AI solution for customer service.

The vendor said combining advanced the analytics capabilities, data and knowledge of its Enlighten AI platform with Amelia’s conversational AI technology will help organisations build and deploy smarter, more effective intelligent self-service tools that are flexible and scalable. The solution also allows users to design their own virtual assistants for specific use cases using an interactive interface.

Amelia was launched in 2014, then supported in 2018 with new enterprise automation tools to help companies optimise back-end operations.

“Consumers are increasingly engaging in digital conversations and prefer brands that provide 24/7 support in the way they prefer, and they have quickly come to expect an effortless experience in their moment of need,” said NICE CXone CEO, Paul Jarman. “AI-powered technologies enable these customer-controlled experiences through the rapid delivery of personalised services and end-to-end care. The out-of-the-box machine learning-imbued intelligence powered by Amelia will help organisations digitally transform through automation and cognitive technology to lower costs, improve productivity and grow their business.”

Validity and Spamhaus team up on email marketing safety outreach

Data quality and email marketing solutions provider, Validity, has struck a partnership with Spamhaus aimed at making email a safer and more secure environment.

Spamhaus provides IP and domain reputation data and connects to 3 billion mailboxes globally. Validity has a range of products around CRM data management, email address verification, inbox deliberability and grid CRM applications. The two companies have been working together for some time but said the new partnership formalises work around encouraging better email practices while striving to stop malicious, unethical activity.

Validity said it integrates the leading blocklists into its platform courtesy of Spamhaus. The ongoing partnership will bring together more data exchanges that help each partner better educate senders and fight malicious mail. For example, in Q2 2021 Spamhaus worked with the FBI to help remediate compromised email accounts following the Emotet botnet takedown. Since then, over 60 per cent of those accounts have been secured.

“This partnership is fundamental to Validity’s mission to empower today’s marketers to practice ethical, fair marketing and build meaningful customer relationships grounded in trust,” said Calidity SVP, global head of email solution, Greg Kimball. “Together we can assist partners in clarifying illegitimate and legitimate mail before it even reaches a consumer’s inbox. It truly takes an Internet community to keep consumers safe.”

Toluna templates messaging solutions

Toluna has added templated solutions for needs identification, ideation and claims testing methodologies to its consumer insights platform.

The new methodologies form part of the Toluna Start Platform, a real-time consumer insights platform which is also now available under a subscription model. The latest identification, ideation and claims testing templates sit alongside product development insights and are aimed at helping clients bring data into the product research development process.

“With Toluna Start, brands to involve the consumer in the product innovation cycle from the beginning and ultimately generate stronger commercial success,” Toluna vice-president, product management, Delia Sibrac, said. “Users can now accelerate the time it takes to create and field surveys that deliver high quality, accurate insights. Crucially, our Live Discussion feature can be wrapped around all these solutions to provide integrated qualitative and quantitative insight.” 

 

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