CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 24 February 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Cognigy, LiveRamp, Adobe, Upflowy, The Trade Desk, SugarCRM, Movable Ink, Zonos and Contentgine

Cognigy bolsters coffers with US$15m investment

Customer service automation vendor, Cognigy, has secured another US$15 million funding round with DTCP, bringing total Series B investment into the company to US$59 million.

The latest funding round is about accelerating global growth of Cognigy’s conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform by expanding its customer base and entering new markets worldwide. Its flagship offering, Cognigy.AI, is a platform for building voice and chatbots for customer service and employee communication automation. The low-code platform aims to help all manner of users create human-like virtual agents and to offer them in over 100 languages.

“Closing the extended round with DTCP’s investment is another big step forward as we expand operations in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region and support a growing network of partners and strategic alliances,” said Cognigy CEO and co-founder, Philipp Heltewig. “DTCP’s extensive digital connectivity expertise and strong global network complement our market-leading technology and expanding global footprint to bring the transformational power of conversational AI to customer service.”

Upflowy raises US$4m for Web optimisation offering

Also raising funds over this past week is homegrown company, Upflowy. The Web experience optimisation vendor has raised US$4 million in funding, bringing total fundraising to date to $5m.

The latest round was led by San Francisco VC fund, Counterpart Ventures, and represents the first deal the firm has made in Australia. The oversubscribed funding round received attention from all around the world and saw all pre-seed investors return, including Tidal, Global Founders Capital, Black Nova and Antler

Upflowy, founded in 2020, has devised a drag-and-drop tool to build and optimise personalied Web experiences. These include signup and onboarding flows, sales led funnels, visualisation of customer interactions and other means to improve conversion.

The funding is earmarked to help Upflowy continue its rapid growth by growing its Australian and US teams to over 40 employees, as well as pursue product enhancements by leveraging data science in areas like predictive personalisation and new features. The company also plans to grow its customer support capabilities.  

“Modern organisations need simple, no-code solutions that remove the friction between data collection and customer experience. The market is full of clunky solutions that rely on engineers to create Web experiences, which inhibits testing and improvement,” commented Counterpart Ventures co-founder and general partner, Patrick Eggen. “Upflowy is in the unique position to re-envision this market, enabling teams to create the Web experiences that consumers need and demand. We are thrilled to partner with Guillaume and his team at Upflowy in the early innings of their journey.”

LiveRamp and Adobe collaborate on people-based targeting

Adobe Advertising Cloud now supports LiveRamp’s RampID people-based identifier technology across channels after the pair struck a collaboration agreement.

The new partnership brings LiveRamp’s offering across desktop display, video, mobile Web, in-app, connected TV, native and audio in Advertising Cloud, allowing people-based audience targeting, frequency capping, activation of first- and third-party data, delivery reporting, access to supply-side integrations and exposure logs, and measurement support through Adobe’s Advertising Solutions Group (ASG). RampID is designed as an alternative to cookie-based targeting and uses privacy-first, people-based identifiers. The integration is live in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia and Singapore.

Advertisers will also be able to connect to authenticated audiences across publishers that support the LiveRamp Authenticated Traffic Solution, which is powered by RampID. Today, LiveRamp claims to be connected to 70 per cent of time spent online through its ATS publisher network and direct publisher integrations. In total, 11,000 domains globally have adopted ATS, including CafeMedia, Microsoft and Tubi.

“The deprecation of third-party cookies and other device IDs - despite being a moving target - has been a forcing function for innovation and improvement across the advertising industry. But at LiveRamp, it’s also affirmed what we have long known to be true: People-based marketing delivers superior performance today. Full stop,” said its SVP, addressability and ecosystem, Travis Clinger.

As third-party cookies and other tracking frameworks become less relevant, advertisers need to find new, more privacy-aware ways of engaging consumers becomes increasingly urgent, added Adobe Advertising Cloud head of product, Greg Collison. “We are partnering with vendors like LiveRamp to give our customers the ability to explore new engagement models that are right for both their businesses, and for consumers.”

The Trade Desk Launches OpenPath

Adtech player, The Trade Desk, has taken the wrappers off its latest OpenPath product providing advertisers with direct access to premium digital advertising inventory across tier-one publishers.

Among the list of initial publishing partners to sign up to OpenPath are Reuters, The Washington Post, Gannett | USA Today Network, McClatchy, Hearst Magazines, Hearst Newspapers, Tribune Publishing, Conde Nast and Nexstar Digital.

OpenPath enables publishers to integrate directly with The Trade Desk. In this way, the vendor said it removes inefficiencies often present in the programmatic supply chain for digital advertising, including opaque and harmful privileges of the walled gardens.

“OpenPath levels the playing field for advertisers, ensuring they get transparent and objective access to the very best digital advertising inventory, starting with many of the world’s top journalistic outlets,” said The Trade Desk co-founder, chairman and CEO, Jeff Green. “OpenPath is an excellent example of industry leaders working together to advance an open market that ensures transparent price competition and maximizes value for both advertisers and publishers.”

As a result of this launch, The Trade Desk said it will now turn off Google Open Bidding on its platform by 15 April 2022 and has emphasised its intention not to enter the supply side of digital advertising. It’s also ruled out providing supply side services such as yield management.

Movable Ink acquires Coherent Path

Movable Ink is acquiring Coherent Path, an AI-powered content personalisation engine that allows brands to better assist customers to find their next favourite product.

Coherent Path aggregates data from a variety of sources, then takes that data and applies artificial intelligence to help customers discover their next favourite product. Key features include insights into customer intent, activating any data sets and serving up personalised content in an automated way.

Movable Ink said acquiring Coherent Path aligns with its mission to improve customer centricity through individualised marketing messaging. Financial terms were not disclosed.  With the addition of Coherent Path’s 50 employees, Movable Ink will cross 500 employees globally.

“Existing production processes fall down when one has to create millions of unique experiences at speed and scale,” said Movable Ink CEO and co-founder, Vivek Sharma. “Whereas many current machine learning systems simply reinforce known customer behaviour by recommending products similar to those customers have already purchased, Coherent Path’s unique approach focuses on discovery.”

Cross-border commerce specialist lands in Australia

Zonos, a company that provides cross-border commerce solutions, has opened its first international office in Australia’s Gold Coast and appointed Travis Robinson as its APAC general manager.

Zonos SaaS solutions are designed for online retailers, marketplaces, logistics providers, trade organisations and online marketplaces and supply tools and services to sell and scale globally. With Asia-Pacific expected to continue to lead global ecommerce sales, the need for accurate cross-border duty and tax calculations, VAT compliance and HS code classification will continue to grow, the company said.

“Expanding to Australia is the next step towards executing our mission to create trust and transparency in global trade with our world-class tech that can connect the world through trade,” Zonos CEO, Clint Reid, commented.  

Zonos said it chose the Gold Coast rather than in a larger Australian metropolitan city because it closely mirrors the company culture of supporting healthy work-life balance by living and working where others play. Zonos' US headquarters is in St. George, Utah, a city known for its sunshine and rapidly developing tech sector. The company has also received on the ground assistance from Trade and Investment Queensland in planning the move to Queensland.

Robinson has worked with Zonos for more than seven years, most recently as VP of engineering based at the company’s US headquarters. Previously, he was VP customer success.

SugarOutfitters Software Marketplace launches

SugarCRM has debuted the new SugarOutfitters software marketplace following its acquisition of the platform from Fanatical Labs.

The marketplace allows the vendor’s customers to gain on-demand access to more than 200 SugarCRM add-on solutions and third-party apps and add-ons that have been certified to be interoperable with the SugarCRM platform. These include computer telephony integration, chat and SMS functionality, multi-factor authentication and sales territory management.

The marketplace is also offering Sugar power users and administrators access to user reviews, ecommerce purchasing and recurring billing, free trials, how-to guides and other features.

Sugar said it plans to actively recruit new vendors to offer more apps and add-on solutions as it continues expansion of SugarOutfitters offerings.

Contentgine unveils Content Indication Platform

US-based marketing tech vendor, Contentgine, has released its Content Indication Platform for B2B marketing and sales teams across 120 major product categories.

The online SaaS platform provides access to Contentgine's proprietary, first-party account intent and categorical content insights as a way of helping businesses expand and prioritise target account lists and content consumption intelligence. CIP does this by mining one billion engagement signals quarterly from interactions with a B2B library of more than 500,000 case studies, white papers and ebooks. The platform captures engagements to determine 360-degree intent, with contact, company and content consumption visibility. Contentgine also compares performance within product categories to give organisations more insights into how their content compares to competitors.

“There is a vast amount of actionable information on CIP for marketing and sales organisations to help drive opportunities and return on investment," said chief product officer, Tim Ribich. “This information includes which prospects are most active in a specific product category, the specific research behaviours within those prospect accounts, and which content is performing well in the market.”

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