CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 3 February 2022

All the latest martech, adtech and customer technology news from Citrix, Tibco, Cyara, Alida, SugarCRM, Jebbit, Brightcove, Pattern, Amplifi.io, Gushup and Knowlarity


Citrix, Tibco to merge under private ownership

Citrix has been acquired by two private equity firms in an all-cash deal worth US$16.5 billion. The move will see the workplace infrastructure management vendor merged with enterprise data management vendor, Tibco.

Citrix is being acquired by Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation under a deal that sees its shareholders receiving $104 in cash per share. It’s a 30 per cent premium over the company’s five-year trading price to 7 December 2021. The two equity firms are also assuming all debt.

Returning to private hands was described as a move that will help Citrix accelerate its SaaS transformation, increase investment and expand its platform for secure hybrid work. Vista and Evergreen also intend to combine Citrix with Tibco Software one of Vista’s portfolio companies focused on enterprise data management.

Vista and Evergreen said the combination brings together Citrix’s secure digital workspace and application delivery suite with Tibco’s real-time intelligent data and analytics capabilities would empower customers and users with secure application and information access and insights to accelerate digital transformation and navigate the hybrid workplace. Combined, the companies serve 400,000 customers with 100 million users in 100 countries.

“Over the past three decades, Citrix has established itself as the clear leader in secure hybrid work. By combining with Tibco, we will expand this platform and the outcomes our customers achieve,” said Citrix Board of Directors chair and interim CEO and president, Bob Calderoni. “Together with Tibco, we will be able to operate with greater scale and provide a larger customer base with a broader range of solutions to accelerate their digital transformations and enable them to deliver the future of hybrid work.

“As a private company, we will have increased financial and strategic flexibility to invest in high-growth opportunities, such as DaaS, and accelerate our ongoing cloud transition.”

The deal is expected to close mid-year, subject to customary closing conditions.

Cyara secures $485 million investment

Australian-based Cyara has secured $485 million in investment from K1 Investment Management to accelerate growth and expand its contact testing marketing solutions.

Cyara was co-founded in Melbourne in 2006 by CEO, Alok Kulkarni, CTO, Luan Tran and executive director, Bonny Malik, and provides solutions for building and maintaining CX systems using automated testing and monitoring. Its flagship offering is the SaaS-based Automated CX Assurance Platform, which has more than 250 global brands clients.

The investment will be used to accelerate product innovation, expand CX assurance into new emerging digital channels, fund strategic acquisitions of complementary technologies and fuel geographic expansion.  

Jebbit raises US$70m

Also securing investment this week is Jebbit, which provides what it’s called a zero-party data platform.

The latest US$70 million investment comes from Vista Equity Partners and is earmarked for helping scale product development, marketing and sales.

Jebbit has a no-code platform which can be used to build interactive product and personality quizzes, lookbooks, trivia, lead generation forms and other engagement tools to gather zero-party and first-party data. These are being pitched to a wide range of industries including consumer packaged goods, retail and commerce, travel and hospitality and financial services.

As well as expanding internal capability, the investment from Vista will allow Jebbit to expand sales channels to additional referral partners. To date, Jebbit has struck 100 partnerships and integrations with the SAP Store, Shopify, Klaviyo, Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Qualtrics.

The news came as Jebbit announced it doubled both its revenue and team over the past year and saw new business increase 300 per cent.

Alida’s latest experience management release

Alida has taken the wrappers off its Winter 2022 Product release, bringing new capabilities in customer experience (CX), employee experience (EX), product experience (PX) and brand experience (BX).

Among the new enhancements are online reviews visibility and centralised management with Alida Social; plus dynamic targeting with Alida Touchpoint using microsurvey activities to different audience segments based on specific attributes. There is also new AI-driven text analytics and dashboard tools, allows users to process open-ended and unstructured data through the Alida analytics engine, plus organisational hierarchy reporting and integrated sample management.

New capabilities have additionally been introduced into Member Hubs, such as the ability to customise the messaging in the cookie pop-up to reflect brand and privacy guidelines, as well as customised notices in the Alida mobile app.

The vendor said conducting qualitative research using Video In-Depth-Interviews (IDI) is also on its way through expansion of its integrated video solution.  

SugarCRM introduces CRM playbook

SugarCRM has created new integrated ‘playbook’ functionality to support guided selling and advanced CRM process automation using its platform.

The no-code toolset aims to help business users design, visualise and automate sales, service and marketing processes. Playbooks and templates can be created for sales plays, sales methodologies, guided selling, service processes, lead nurturing and more, with results, repeatable processes and workflows all built into the toolkit. There are also embedded analytics capabilities to monitor progress and outcomes in real-time.

The functionality is the result of SugarCRM’s acquisition of AddOptify, a provider of guided selling solutions for SugarCRM customers worldwide. AddOptify had been providing the customer journey PluginTM for SugarCRM since 2016 and has been used by more than 100,000 B2B sales professionals globally over the past five years.

“This empowers sales, marketing and customer success teams to boost buyer engagement, drive greater customer trust and satisfaction, improve win rates and increase revenues. It also reflects Sugar’s commitment to offer more no-code/low-code capabilities designed to put change in the hands of non-technical business users,” SugarCRM chief technology officer and chief product officer, Rich Green, said.

Sugar also has plans for additional out-of-the-box playbooks and templates for processes including lead qualification, customer on-boarding, case management, troubleshooting and other human-in-the-loop customer interactions.

Brightcove acquires audience insights company

Brightcove has joined the list of vendors orchestrating acquisitions so far in 2022, picking up Wicket Labs, an audience insights company that provides tools for content and subscriber analytics.

With the acquisition of Wicket Labs, Brightcove said its video platform customers will have access to content and subscriber insights to make data-driven decisions that help improve subscriber acquisition, conversions, engagement and retention. Specifically, functionality includes better understanding customer lifetime values, subscriber cohort analysis, engagement analysis and recommendations, key trends in viewer behaviour and opt-in comparative benchmarks.

Brightcove will acquire the Wicket Labs video intelligence technology, brand, marketing assets and customer relationships globally. Wicket Labs’ co-founders and all employees will join the Brightcove product and engineering organisation. Financial terms were not revealed.

“We are committed to serving our customers through our intelligent video platform powered by analytics, AI and ML to help them grow their businesses by engaging audiences and monetising their content,” said Brightcove CPO, Namita Dhallan. “The acquisition of Wicket Labs helps us to augment our analytics offering with audience insights and increase our resources dedicated to bringing additional value to our customers.”

Pattern acquires Amplifi.io to accelerate ecommerce content

Our third acquisition piece of news this week is from Pattern, which acquired Amplifi.io’s digital asset management (DAM) and product information management platform for an undisclosed sum.

Pattern said Amplifi.io’s technology will be folded into its ecommerce acceleration platform, helping brands manage content at global scale and get their products into more ecommerce marketplaces and digital channels, faster, while keeping product listings and other digital assets updated automatically.

“Conversion is the biggest commercial opportunity for brands in the digital landscape, and content optimisation drives category leading conversion,” said Pattern co-founder and CEO, David Wright. “Amplifi.io’s technology gives our brands the ability to quickly optimise their product listings and keep pace with a rapidly evolving digital landscape. With their capabilities folded into our ecommerce acceleration platform, it’s a winning combination for brands that want to optimise their spend and gain an ever-increasing digital share.”

Amplifi.io customers include Roland, Toshiba, Targus, KÜHL and Skullcandy.

Gupshup purchases conversational engagement player

Our final acquisition this week is by Gupshup, which picked up Knowlarity to strengthen its conversational engagement Portfolio. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Gupshup provides conversational messaging tools via a dedicated messaging suite. Knowlarity, meanwhile, is a cloud communications player with a suite of cloud telephony, contact centre automation, AI-powered voice assistants and speech analytics solutions. These are used by more than 6000 customers across an array of industries such as consumer goods, banking and financial services, IT and healthcare.

Gupshup noted the voice-based conversational engagement market is poised to transform contact centres, IVR systems and smart voice systems, accounting for a total addressable market (TAM) of nearly US$18 billion in 2024. 

Knowlarity, an India-based company, saw a 50 per cent rise in revenue year-on-year over the past year and has struck partnerships with Google Cloud for Speech Analytics as well as integrations with Salesforce, Freshworks, Hubspot and Zoho.

“As business-to-consumer engagement becomes conversational, Gupshup is busy enabling more ways for businesses to deliver rich experiences. With the addition of Knowlarity’s products, businesses will now be able to build seamless conversational experiences across both messaging and voice channels,” said its co-founder and CEO, Beerud Sheth.

In 2021, Gupshup became a Unicorn, with a market valuation of US$1.4 billion, after raising $340 million from several investors including Tiger Global, Fidelity Management and Research Co. Knowlarity is Gupshup’s second acquisition in the last four months, following the purchase of Dotgo, which produces a rich communications services platform.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of February 2022, subject to completion of customary closing conditions.

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