CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 19 August 21

All the latest martech and adtech news from Salesforce, Qlik, Mailchimp, Zoho, Fonto, Moloco, Adverity and Senseforth.ai


Moloco secures US$150 million investment

Mobile and ecommerce machine learning player, Moloco, has raised US$150 million in Series C funding to extend the reach of its offering across more industries and use cases.

The latest funding round was led by Tiger Global Management, with investment from a number of existing investors. It bring total investment to $200 million so far and lift Moloco’s market valuation to $1.5 billion. The company claims to have grown more than 100 per cent annually and built a revenue run rate of more than $100 million.

Moloco was founded in 2013 by YouTube machine learning engineer, Ikkjin Ahn, with an aim to make sophisticated machine learning algorithms available as cloud-based services to a wide range of business and industries. An early flagship product, Moloco Cloud, is a demand-side platform (DSP) that allows advertisers programmatically purchase ads across mobile apps. It’s gained a strong hold in the mobile gaming space. The platform services 13 billion ad impressions monthly and reaches nearly 10 billion global devices through 5.58 million apps.

Moloco has also expanded into ecommerce, social media, personal finance and direct-to-consumer commerce. Its next major release, the Retail Media Platform, is in beta and designed to help ecommerce companies leverage first-party data to creative new revenue streams including sponsored ads powered by its product recommendation engine.

“Most machine learning models can deliver accurate predictions for only one industry taxonomy,” Ahn explained. “Our deep learning neural network models and data infrastructure were designed from day one to be flexible enough to ingest any type of commercial data and make exceptionally accurate predictions.” 

The latest financing will be used to accelerate the product and engineering roadmap, while supporting strategic expansion into new geographies and high growth markets. It will also hire for key positions within the organisation. 

Salesforce unveils first Slack integrations

Salesforce has offered up a first glimpse of plans to integrate Slack into its products following its US$27.7 billion acquisition of the collaboration vendor last month.

Salesforce will integrate Slack into the Customer 360 platform in several ways to help connect sales, marketing and service staff more effectively, both internally and cross-company. For example, with Slack-First Customer 360, sales reps will be able to access and update Salesforce records with ‘digital deal rooms’ in Slack.

For customer service teams, integration with Salesforce Service Cloud will enable the creation of Slack channel ‘swarms’ to resolve customer problems quickly. An ‘expert finder’ feature can then automatically identify staff equipped to help with high-priority cases based on availability, capacity, and skills. 

For marketing staffers, there will be access to information from Datorama, Salesforce’s marketing intelligence platform, within Slack. The integration allows marketing staff to receive notifications of changes to marketing materials. With Slack-First Marketing, teams can also get insights and changes about marketing projects they can use to act on quickly.

Salesforce also announced plans to integrate Tableau into Slack, with notifications of changes within the analytics tool, such as a sales pipeline drop, as well as “watchlist digests” to provide a daily update on certain metrics. Slack-First Analytics is set for general availability this fall.

Read our full story here.

Mailchimp reportedly exploring sale

Email marketing vendor, Mailchimp, is reportedly exploring a sale that could see the company valued at more than US$10 billion.

Several media reports this week have indicated the US-based company is considering a range of options for future ownership of the business, including the sale of a minority stake. Increased interest in Mailchimp from private equity firms as well as other tech players has reportedly contributed to the latest thinking. Reports suggest a sale could see Mailchimp’s valuation exceed US$10 billion.

According to sources quoted by Bloomberg, Mailchimp had about $300 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation in 2020. No final decision has been made on pursuing a full or partial sale and Mailchimp could elect to remain independent, the report suggested.

Mailchimp provides an email marketing platform used by a range of SMBs and mid-market companies globally. The vendor this year acquired SMS marketing vendor, Chatitive, to improve its personalisation smarts. Over the last couple of years, it’s also acquired media title, Courier, feedback management platform, BigTeam, and Canadian-based ecommerce company, Lemonstand.

Marketing analytics vendor secures US$120 million

Also bringing in the big investment dollars this week is Austrian-based marketing intelligence platform, Adverity, which has secured US$120 million in Series D funding.

The latest round was led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, with existing investor, Sapphire Ventures, participation. The latest investment will be used to evolve Adverity’s predictive technology stack for marketers. It’s the third investment round in three years and comes 16 months after Adverity’s US$30 million Series C. In total, funding exceeds more than $165 million.

Adverity operates offices across Vienna, London and New York and has seen 120 per cent client uplift in the last 12 months. Customers include IKEA, Red Bull, Unilever, MediaCom and Vodafone. The company also boasts of a compound annual growth rate of 105 per cent over the past four years and a global team that has increased by 300 per cent since 2019.

The vendor’s approach is to integrate disparate data sources and deliver goal-orientated insights and predictive analytics out of the box for marketers. Among new features are ROI Advisor, allowing marketers to track performance without the need for third-party cookies.

The latest cash injection will support further product innovation aimed at providing forward-looking insights and detailed recommendations for the next best marketing steps, in addition to clear oversight of ROI.

Qlik acquires to bolster data pipeline capabilities

Qlik has acquired NodeGraph, a customisable metadata management solution, to expand its analytics data pipeline capabilities. Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

The NodeGraph deal is part of what Qlik calls its vision of ‘active intelligence’, providing real-time, up-to-date and trusted data that provides business value across the data and analytics supply chain. Qlik highlighted NodeGraph’s field-level lineage on specific data elements as well as ability to show where important metrics and KPIs come from, driving the notion of ‘explainable BI’ across multiple versions of the truth.

Qlik plans to integrate NodeGraph into its SaaS solution in the second half of 2021, with commercial monetisation beginning in Q4 2021. The platform connects across a range of cloud platforms and analytics sources.

Fonto rolls its data offering into Australia

Consumer data business, Fonto, has officially launched in the Australian market following $5 million in capital raising and the launch of two new B2C brands.

Fonto’s pitch is to seamlessly integrate transactional data with consumer research to create a unified data ecosystem for marketers. Using wholly owned data assets that are updated daily, Fonto analyses more than $20bn of de-identified transactions, directly connected to research responses, organised and curated into a single source data ecosystem.

The company said it’s already working with several clients in the media, energy, fast food and grocery spaces, and has struck partnerships in the research and consultancy sectors.

“Our technology allows us to create a far more accurate and insightful picture of what Australians are thinking, feeling and doing, removing many of the frustrations that have surrounded traditional market research,” Fonto CEO, Ben Dixon, claimed. “Working either directly with corporate clients or alongside partners in the research, analytics and consulting arenas we are bringing a unique solution to a range of business problems.”

Zoho debuts design studio for CRM

Zoho has taken the wrappers off Canvas, a new design studio to support CRM personalisation.

The company said Canvas for Zoho CRM allows users to create their own CRM interfaces tailored to the needs of their employees, as well as simplify CRM implementations, without having to write code. Capabilities include a rag-and-drop editor, template gallery, industry relevant view creation, self-service portals, role-based assignment views and formatting options.

Canvas will be launched across all editions of Zoho CRM as a value-add and is expected to eventually be rolled out across Zoho’s full suite off products in coming years.

Conversational AI player scores US$14m investment

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) is yet again in this week’s martech roundup, with news vendor, Senseforth.ai, has scored US$14 million in investment.

The US-based company received the investment from Fractal, a global provider of AI and analytics solutions. Senseforth.ai said the funding will help it to scale and expand its footprint across Fractal’s clients globally as well as bolster its conversational AI offerings. Senseforth.ai’s zero-code platform, A.ware, automates experiences across digital touchpoints.

“This strategic investment creates a new growth blueprint for Senseforth.ai,” said Senseforth.ai CEO and co-founder, Shridhar Marri. “We can now scale talent, accelerate growth, make more investments in R&D, and create incredible value for our clients.”

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