CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 22 September 2022

All the latest martech, adtech and customer technology news from Swiftly Systems, Salesforce, Adobe, Qualtrics, Pega, Criteo, Appsumer and Chameleon.

Swiftly Systems raises US$100 million investment

The first of our capital raising stories this week is from retail technology platform, Swiftly, which secured US$100 million in a Series C funding round led by BRV Capital Management.

The latest investment brings the company's total valuation to more than US$1 billion and sees Swiftly double its funding to $210 million over the last six months.

The company, founded in 2018, is focused on providing a broader array of brick-and-mortar retailers with technology to build out their own retail media networks and digital engagement capabilities using first-party data. Its product portfolio includes retail tools, mobile platforms, analytics tools and a retail media network solution.

BRV Capital led the latest Series C round of funding, which will be used to continue Swiftly's rapid growth by expanding product offerings and entering new geographies.

“Our mission is to empower brick-and-mortar retailers to move from analogue to algorithms, as winners in this new era of commerce will be determined by how fast they can reinvent their business to capture shoppers digitally and monetize those digital relationships," said Swiftly co-founder and CEO, Henry Kim. “We are grateful to BRV Capital for their support that will enable us to turn today's brick-and-mortar retailers into tomorrow's omnichannel leaders.”

Salesforce promises real-time with CRM upgrade

Salesforce has taken a leap into the world of real-time data management with the integration of customer data platform (CDP) capabilities into its flagship Customer 360 CRM platform.

The new capability, dubbed Genie, is being pitched as the world’s first real-time CRM, enabling marketers and sales teams to build a complete picture of all aspects of their customers. It’s built using Salesforce’s lakehouse data architecture and runs on its secure Hyperforce cloud architecture. Genie is also architected to work seamlessly with other Salesforce tools, including its automation platform, Flow, and artificial intelligence (AI)-based decisioning engine, Einstein.

Genie debuted at this year’s Dreamforce and has been made available at launch in Australia. Salesforce also made a number of other product announcements at Dreamforce, including enhancements to its collaboration platform Slack, and the creation of an online marketplace for carbon credits, called the Net Zero Marketplace.

Read our full story here.

Qualtrics launches video feedback

Qualtrics has extended the functionality of its CX feedback platform with new tools for collecting, analysing and taking action on video feedback.

Video Feedback is designed as a qualitative feedback tool in the Qualtrics XM Platform and allows users to capture video feedback from their customers, analyse both words and emotions, set up alerts, then use the data to make business decisions. Video Feedback automatically translates and transcribes audio and uses text analytics built directly into the product enable to surface themes from video responses. Built-in editing capabilities also allow researchers to edit videos and build highlight reels to tell data-driven stories and help people more easily understand experience data.

Qualtrics said Video Feedback is the first of several qualitative research features it plans to introduce over coming months. Video Feedback can be united with all experience data, from survey responses to unstructured feedback such as social media posts, product reviews and chats, in the vendor’s broader platform.

“Now more than ever, companies need to make decisions with empathy, speed and scale,” said Qualtrics chief product officer of research, Michel Feaster. “With Video Feedback, Qualtrics is defining the next era of research and empowering organisations to understand what really matters to the next generation of consumers and design the products, services and experiences they want now and next.”

Pega introduces connectors to unite CDP with decisioning

AI-powered decisioning and workflow automation vendor, Pega, has created new Customer Data Connectors to enable clients to connect mainstream customer data platforms (CDPs) to its core Customer Decision HubTM for decisioning.

The connectors allow organisations to stream signals from high-value platforms like Adobe, Celebrus and ZineOne, and activate customer insights in real-time with AI-powered decisioning. As Pega noted, CDPs often lack the decisioning and orchestration functionality internally, leaving insights often untapped. The new connectors will allow these CDPs and the raw event data or curate behavioural signals they are housing to connect director to decisioning across inbound, outbound, owned and paid channels.

Specific platforms supported include Adobe Experience Platform and integration of Adobe profile and segment signals; ZineOne and its in-session propensity-to-purchase scores; and Celebrus and its real-time data capture, identity management and signal curation capabilities. Pega Customer Data Connectors are available for instant download from Pega Marketplace.

“Every day, companies leave a goldmine of insight on the table because their vendors lack the decisioning capabilities required to operationalise intent, impacting the customer experience,” said Pega senior director, product marketing, Matt Nolan. “At the same time, it’s unrealistic to expect brands to replace the customer data solutions they’ve already invested in. That’s why Pega is launching Pega Customer Data Connectors - to help clients activate data at its fullest potential, with the freedom to use their CDP of choice. They can feed in whatever event streams or curated signals make sense for their business and Pega’s AI will help put it to work.”

Adobe buys product design software for US$20 billion

Adobe is looking to up the ante on product design collaboration with its latest acquisition, announcing its intention to purchase Web-first collaborative platform, Figma, for approximately US$20 billion last week.

Figma was founded in 2012 in California by Dylan Field and Evan Wallace, both software engineers and with backgrounds at organisations such as Flipboard, Microsoft and Pixar. The pair pioneered product design on the Web, enabling users to design mobile and Web applications and prototypes through collaborative workflows and systems. The company has raised $332.9 million to date, according to Crunchbase.

In a statement, Adobe said the ambition in buying Figma is to reimagine creativity and productivity, accelerate its ability to support creative projects on the Web and advance product design. The companies bring together Adobe’s portfolio of Creative Cloud solutions with Web-based product design tools, collaboration and multi-player workflows.

Read our full report include analyst commentary on the acquisition here.

Criteo unveils demand-side platform

Retail tech player, Criteo, has taken the wrappers off Commerce Max, a self-service demand-side platform (DSP) for the open Internet built off the foundations of its retail media and programmatic technical capabilities.

The company said the new offering will allow brands to find audiences on retailer sites using onsite sponsored and display ads, as well as extend these across open Internet programmatic inventory. Criteo is achieving this by tapping into to its access to more than four billion product SKUs, global media publisher relationships and 150 retailer partnerships.

Commerce Max uses Criteo’s predictive artificial intelligence (AI) and provides near-real-time data access through unified reporting and closed-loop measurement, including product-level sales attribution. It’s been made possible through Criteo’s recent acquisition of Iponweb.

Commerce Max entered Alpha stage in the first half of 2022 with two Criteo clients –consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy, and media agency, GroupM. In the case of Best Buy, an off-site advertising campaign was executed that harnessed first-party data to target the retailer’s audience across the open Web and drive measurable purchases of products on the Best Buy website.

Commerce Max is expected to be rolled out to select key markets in 2023.

InMobi’s Appsumer debuts cross-channel dashboard reporting

Appsumer by InMobi has launched Appsumer Starter, a complimentary automated cross-channel dashboards and granular reports platform for mobile app advertisers.

The solution automates performance insights for app advertisers across social and mobile apps including Meta, Google, Apple Search Ads, TikTok and Snap as well as InMobi. Appsumer Starter, the free plan packs, includes automated data ingestion of cost data as well as conversion data from mobile measurement partners such as Adjust, Appsflyer and Kochava; self-service dashboards and reports to view key KPIs and granular performance views; and free access to the most used channels and set-up. Appsumer was acquired by InMobi in October 2021.

 “When you look at the massive changes app marketers have had to address – the impact of ATT, SKAdNetwork [SKAN] attribution and looking ahead towards Android Privacy Sandbox, ad measurement became much more complex, especially for smaller apps who bore the brunt,” Appsumer by InMobi general manager, Shumel Lais, said. “Our recent acquisition by InMobi gave us the opportunity to build a solution to help those players on the rise with the tools they need to grow.”

Chameleon raises US$13m for app engagement tech

Chameleon has raised $13M in Series A financing, led by Matrix Partners, with follow-on from existing investors, True Ventures. Others who participated in the round included Fivetran co-founder, Taylor Brown, Lookout co-founder, Kevin Mahaffey, Braze SVP product, Kevin Wang, and DocSend co-founder, Russ Heddlestone.  

Chameleon was founded in 2015 to find a solution for understanding how to quickly learn to use new products. It is creating a no-code solution in order to build, maintain and iterate on user onboarding flows in-house. Early customers, including Amplitude, Mesosphere and Gusto.

Chameleon’s founder said they plan to use the funding to further boost product development and offer better and faster support and partnership to customers. Its roadmap includes more end-user patterns, such as an open ‘welcome’ state for Launchers/checklists by default, more integrations, including connectors to an organisation’s data warehouse, and improvements to ease-of-building, ease-of-analysis and ease-of-management.

“Our intention is to be the best product adoption platform by some distance, and we’re well on our way there – offering unparalleled depth in functionality; including multi-level frequency capping, configurable proactive alerts, sophisticated environment management, smart element selection, and powerful button actions,” said Chameleon CEO and co-founder, Pulkit Agrawal.  

“Combined with our focus on partnering deeply, to provide coaching and best practices, our adaptability to work with all technologies, including SPAs, Cordova, Electron, Ionic, iframes, shadow DOMs, and industry-leading integrations, we believe we are the best choice for all modern software teams.”  

The company complemented the capital raising news by announcing its first free product, HelpBar, which provides a ‘Spotlight Search’ experience inside Web applications. Users can use the tool to search existing help content located in their public knowledge base from inside their product.

“We built HelpBar because our customers expressed the need to better signpost, expose and connect their existing help docs to their product UX, and to the Chameleon Experiences they were building,” Agrawal said.


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