CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 21 April 2022

All the latest martech and adtech news from Cal.com, Fulcrum, ActionIQ, Comscore, Instreamatic, DoubleVerify, Owler and Yotpo.


Cal.com raises US$25 million to fund growth

Open source scheduling software, Cal.com, has secured US$25 million in a series A funding round. The investment injection comes as the company releases its new app store allowing developers to build their own apps on top of its infrastructure.

Cal.com initially raised $7.4 million last year in a seed funding round supported by a number of tech entrepreneurs including YouTube co-founder, Chad Hurley. It also rebranded as a business from Calendso to Cal.com in 2021. Cal.com is a rival open source alternative to the big market player, Calendly, which has a market valuation of US$3 billion. 

Cal.com's scheduling software allows organisers to share a scheduling link with invitees to choose from multiple timeslots that suit all participant’s calendars. The company has created pre-built integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, Zoom and Stripe, as well an open API so Cal.com can be integrated into other custom systems.

The latest cash injection will be used to support new apps for the app store, which could be for anything time-related, the company said. The funding round was led by capital firm, Seven Seven Six, created by Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian, with support from OSS Capital, Obvious Ventures, Daily.co and angel investors.  

Alongside the series A funding announcement, Cal.com announced several new features including new APIs, dynamic booking links, native video conferencing and a new app store to take advantage of a more modular and extensible architecture approach for third-party development.

Fulcrum launches enterprise customer data personalisation platform

Fulcrum has taken the wrappers off its new customer data platform (CDP) proposition, combining first-party data collection with no-code, artificial intelligence (AI)-driven automated personalisation workflows.

The platform is designed to help companies capture and unify first-party data sets such as behavioural, intent, touchpoint engagement and other interactions. It then brings in AI technology to help digital agencies, marketing and sales teams identify and respond in real-time to known and anonymous customers. For example, automated personalisation workflows can be used to deliver dynamic content based on customer triggers, calls-to-action and personalised messaging via multiple channels.

US-based Fulcrum was founded in 2016 as a middleware solution to capture user data in order to better fuel personalised email marketing campaigns. Since then, the agency-founded proposition has secured two rounds of investment and now, has officially launched a CDP solution.

According to the company, it has achieved 230 per cent growth in sales in the last year and expanded its team by 250 per cent. On average, it claimed Fulcrum clients save 50+ hours per month on data analytics and campaign management and have increased conversion rates in various key areas.

“Organisations large and small are preparing for the death of third-party cookies and are taking control by collecting and maximising first-party data to personalise every customer experience,” said Fulcrum founder and CEO, John Golinvaux. “We look beyond collecting first-party data, as it only solves a portion of the problem and falls short of increasing conversion rates.”

ActionIQ cleans up its data act with InfoSum

Our second CDP news item this week is from ActionIQ, which has partnered up with InfoSum to combine its offering with the latter’s data collaboration and data clean room.

The pair said the alliance between ActionIQ CX Hub and InfoSum Secure Data Clean Room would help second-party data sharing by providing a secure, privacy-centric environment to connect, enrich and activate first-party data without reliance on third-party data or cookies. Using the joint solution, marketers can onboard data directly from the ActionIQ CX Hub to their InfoSum clean room. Data is encrypted, and anonymised matching is conducted across multiple data sets. The enriched data is then fed back into the ActionIQ CX Hub to discover audiences and orchestrate experiences across all brand touchpoints.

“Delivering personalised, superior customer experiences requires use of the full spectrum of customer data, from first-party real-time and historical insights to second-party data,” said ActionIQ senior vice-president of product, Justin DeBrabant. “ActionIQ selected InfoSum to be our clean room partner because of their patented, privacy-first technology that connects customer records between and among companies, without moving or sharing data. Our partnership will enable businesses to achieve a full understanding of their customers, to deliver relevant experiences that ensure brand loyalty.”

Comscore and Tremor International partner on programmatic TV play

Comscore has struck an agreement with connected TV programmatic advertising provider, Tremor International, to combine offerings into an extended audience targeting solution.  

Under the partnership, Comscore’s Predictive Audiences solution will be available for activation across Tremor’s tech platform, encompassing both its Video DSP and the Unruly SSP. The aim of the deal is to bring privacy friendly and contextual audience curation into planning across desktop, mobile and connected TV.

The companies said advertisers within the platform will be able to reach deterministic behavioural audience segments based on video-level contextual signals, particularly within CTV environments. The aim is to provide a contextual-based approach to third-party audience targeting that isn’t cookie dependent. There are 1000 audience segments on offer in the platform from organisations such as TransUnion, PlaceIQ and Commerce Signals.

“Traditionally, advertisers had to choose between high-performing audience targeting tactics and future-proof solutions. Now with Tremor International, we are breaking down this barrier and taking a big step forward in what advertisers can expect from their CTV campaign performance,” claimed Comscore vice-president of activation solutions, Lee Blickstein.

Instreamatic aims to Speaky the customer’s language

Martech vendor, Instreamatic, has debuted Speaky, a voice-based AI platform for digital customer communication and real-time sentiment analysis.

The new communication solution is oriented around customers clicking on a link or scanning a QR code and leaving brief audio messages at physical or digital brand touchpoints. The tech then leverages Instreamatic’s voice AI to analyse the ideas, advice, suggestions and insights customers communicate verbally and deliver real-time reporting to brand users. Dashboards include voice transcripts as well as sentiment analysis.

“Speaky offers customers an unprecedented way to say exactly what they want to say right in that moment, say it quickly, say it memorably and say it in their own voice. Brands using Speaky can unlock these customer sentiments, which are richer, more emotional and more useful to a brand than legacy outmoded approaches like comment cards or questionnaires,” Instreamatic CEO, Stas Tushinskiy, said.

Instreamatic also offers interactive voice ad solutions used by brands including Infiniti, IKEA and Pedigree.

DoubleVerify earns MRC accreditation for viewability reporting on YouTube

DoubleVerify is claiming an Australian-first with its new Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation for independent, third-party viewability reporting of YouTube video across both desktop and mobile using Google’s Ads Data Hub.

The Ads Data Hub aims to provide custom analysis of ads across a variety of metrics while protecting user privacy. The latest accreditation covers Web and app configurations and YouTube buying platforms including Google Ads, DV360 and YouTube Reserve. Ad formats covered include skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, standard in-stream, in-stream select, and bumper ads.

“Marketers place high importance on independent third-party reporting concerning their ad investments,” said MRC executive director and CE, George W Ivie. “This accreditation is a result of MRC auditing at both DoubleVerify, for its calculation and reporting based on YouTube data accessed from Google’s Ads Data Hub, and of Google’s own first-party collection and processing of this data.”

The latest MRC accreditation is one of many DoubleVerify has earned in the last nine years. Last year, it also gained MRC accreditation for display and video rendered ad impression measurement and invalid traffic filtration including app fraud, benchmarks and completion metrics across connected TV and programmatic targeting services.

Owler launches sales companion tool

Community-driven insights platform, Owler, has launched a new sales intelligence tool aimed at helping provide more actionable insights on prospects.

Owler Max is a sales enablement offering providing actionable insights on target accounts. Using its access to more 15 million company profiles, the tool is designed to help sales teams monitor key accounts and news, such as M&A activity, new funding and leadership changes, in order to personalise outreach and discover new prospects quickly. It does this through seamless integrations with major CRM and collaboration tools including Salesforce and Slack. Search features allow filtering by revenue, location, company size and status.

Owler is a crowdsourced data provider founded in 2011 and acquired by Meltwater in 2021. It claims to have insights curated by a community of 5 million business processionals.

Yotpo aims for quick click-to-buy

Ecommerce marketing platform, Yotpo, has created a new SMS feature, Click-to-buy, providing a single click option from communications to drive conversion.

The company said Yotpo SMSBump is now integrated into the platform, providing capabilities to send individualised product recommendations to shoppers via text message. This can be targeted by specific product variants such as colour, size or sale item. GIFs can also be automated included with product images from a Shopify store, and fields allow marketers to pre-populate a discount of loyalty reward code once a consumer clicks the text message to complete a purchase.

Yotpo acquired SMSBump in January 2020, one of several acquisitions made to advance its progress on an all-in-one ecommerce marketing platform. Alongside the new integration, Yotpo said it’s appointed Omer Bar-Joseph as general manager of Yotpo SMSBump and expanded the team to include more dedicated customer support and product development resources, tripling the product and R&D team in two years.

“Yotpo SMSBump symbolises our commitment to offering the most advanced SMS marketing solution for mobile-first commerce,” said Bar Joseph. “By developing deeper synergies with Yotpo’s other marketing solutions, delivering more cutting-edge features, and offering strategic guidance, we can support any ecommerce brand looking to maximise engagement and revenue with SMS.”

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