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CX Acquisitions and New Funding Rounds Are Well Underway in January

Gainsight, Unbounce, and mParticle Announce New Properties; Braze Expands; Genesys, ZingHR, Valtech, and Reputation All Make Headway

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Gainsight

On January 10, customer success company Gainsight announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire inSided, the provider of a platform based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that leverages the power of communities to drive product engagement and build customer relationships.

The addition to the existing portfolio of San Francisco-based Gainsight will create a solution that can connect a company’s digital products, customer-facing teams, and client communities across customer journeys. Gainsight’s own platform offers solutions focused on customer success, product experience, and community engagement to enable businesses to adopt a customer-centric approach.

“Every technology company wants to increase net revenue retention (NRR)—the number one driver of shareholder and enterprise value,” said Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight. “We are excited that the addition of inSided to our portfolio now allows Gainsight clients to scale digital customer success efforts across community-led, product-led, and customer-led growth initiatives.”

Communities are a force multiplier for customer and business outcomes, Gainsight said, as online communities have become an integral investment, driven by the need for businesses to accelerate customer adoption. Communities are increasingly seen not just as a support channel, but as a customer engagement (CE) platform.

The combination of Gainsight and inSided will enable businesses to use community-led growth as a force multiplier to deliver better customer outcomes and drive higher NRR, Gainsight noted. Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Unbounce

Conversion intelligence platform Unbounce announced on January 12 the acquisition of LeadsRx, a marketing analytics software as a service (SaaS) platform that measures the performance of marketing channels.

With the acquisition, Vancouver, Canada-based Unbounce hopes to continue its growth momentum by expanding into marketing attribution, which tracks interactions with an audience to quantify previously intangible connections and behaviors.

For Unbounce, which pairs a marketer’s own know-how alongside machine learning (ML) expertise for the goal of increasing sales and conversions, the appeal of Portland, Oregon-headquartered LeadsRx is its capability in tracking customer touchpoints across advertising channels, including digital, radio, TV, podcasts, and streaming services. With tracking, marketers stand to benefit from optimized conversion paths, ad spending, and return on investment (ROI).

“Attribution is one of the most painful parts of marketing—validating your costs and ROI to your CEO, clients, and investors is harder than ever as competition and new marketing channels continue to grow at a rapid pace,” said Tamara Grominsky, chief strategy officer of Unbounce. “LeadsRx solves these pain points for marketers by showing them which channels are performing and which aren’t.”

The union of the two companies will provide Unbounce opportunities to deliver greater conversion value to marketers across a wider spectrum of the marketing funnel, Grominsky added. Financial terms of the deal have not been divulged.

mParticle

The customer data infrastructure company mParticle announced on January 12 it was acquiring Indicative, a platform for customer journey analytics. Financial terms of the deal have not been made public by the two companies, both headquartered in New York City.

With its first-ever acquisition, mParticle said the key moments in every customer journey can be more easily visualized and understood, allowing immediate action to improve conversion, engagement, and retention.

The combined offering from mParticle and Indicative will also enable teams to ingest customer data from additional sources, such as data warehouses like Snowflake, directly into mParticle. In turn, the ability to incorporate more data sources will allow teams to accelerate their customer data strategies.

“Solving the challenges around data quality, governance, and connectivity has allowed our customers to build a strong foundation for delivering world-class digital experiences,” mParticle CEO Michael Katz said. “This acquisition is about looking at where mParticle can help our customers create more leverage and accelerate their customer data strategy even further.”

Braze

London-based CE platform Braze announced on January 13 its plans for an expanded global footprint to include Toronto, Canada, and Paris, France, with recruitment beginning immediately for positions in those areas, as well as across Canada, the company said in a recent statement.

The investment in the new locations will enable Braze to offer localized support in those markets for existing customers, which include KFC Canada, fast-food restaurant chain Tim Hortons, and French video-sharing technology platform Dailymotion.

In the US, Braze is growing its footprint with a new office location in Austin, Texas, along with a larger office for its Chicago-based team. The expansions will allow the company to capitalize on growing market opportunities and increase strategic partnerships, the statement from Braze noted.

With its expansion into Canada and France, Braze will have 10 locations around the globe. The company is also present in Singapore, Tokyo, and Berlin.

Genesys

On January 14, Reuters reported that the private equity owners of enterprise software maker Genesys had chosen their underwriters for an initial public offering (IPO) in the US. JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs will be the underwriters for a US listing of Genesys this year, the report said.

Genesys, headquartered in Daly City, California, is owned by global investment firm Permira Holdings and private equity firm Hellman & Friedman. The provider of call center technology, Genesys counts PayPal and Microsoft as its clients, while also providing services in partnership with Accenture, Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, and Verizon.

Founded in 1990, Genesys has grown over the years through various acquisitions. In its goal to transform the customer and employee experience, Genesys announced in October it was acquiring Pointillist, the provider of an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven customer journey orchestration and analytics solution based in Boston, and Exceed.ai, the cloud-based conversational AI platform for sales and marketing based in Sunnydale, California.

The IPO could value Genesys at more than $30 billion. However, a final decision has not been made, and the company’s owners could still pursue other options. Genesys was valued at $21 billion in December, after raising $580 million in a funding round led by Salesforce Ventures.

ZingHR

ZingHR, a cloud-based platform with an international presence for human resources (HR) technology, announced on January 17 that it had raised $10 million from India’s Tata Capital Growth Fund. With its investment, Tata Capital’s private equity arm will own a 33% stake in ZingHR.

The latest round of financing will provide ZingHR with opportunities to expand into more global markets, upgrade technology, and beef up its talent pool, said Prasad Rajappan, ZingHR CEO. Profitable for the last 12 months, the startup is now setting its sights on growing tenfold for the next 12 to 18 months, Rajappan added.

ZingHR is currently present in Australia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, and the company will be considering prospects for expansion into Europe, North Africa, and the US.

Akhil Awasthi, a managing partner at Tata Capital, said the SaaS product offering of ZingHR is robust and nimble. “We believe the adoption of SaaS-based processes will decide future winners as businesses go digital,” Awasthi remarked.

Valtech

On January 24, Paris-based Valtech announced it was acquiring Absolunet, a professional services firm focused on commerce and digital transformation headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but analysts say the acquisition is likely to reaffirm the commanding presence of Valtech in the e-commerce space, while also bolstering the French company’s portfolio in business transformation, where it specializes in strategy consulting, service design, and optimization of business-critical digital platforms for multichannel e-commerce and marketing.

“Today, commerce is about understanding the customer journey and offering relevant commerce experiences at every level,” said Charles Desjardins, Absolunet CEO and the new Valtech executive vice president for North America.

“Your commerce strategy needs to permeate all parts of your business—from purchasing to marketing, distribution, customer service, and more. Together, Valtech and Absolunet provide an answer for companies looking to address the complexities of customer experience design, commerce execution, and organizational change,” Desjardins added.

Reputation

Reputation, the business-to-business (B2B) online reputation management company, announced on January 25 that it had received a $150 million minority growth investment from global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners.

San Ramon, California-based Reputation will leverage Marlin’s investment to build on its category-creating Reputation Experience Management platform, which the company says will enable brands to better understand and act on customer feedback.

The strategic investment will likewise help drive further product innovation, expand the firm’s growing customer and partnership ecosystem, and fuel Reputation’s international expansion, which is already seeing annualized growth exceeding 80%.

Joe Fuca, CEO at Reputation, said businesses understand that the need for CX technology is more important than ever to reach, attract, and retain customers. “Reputation is at the heart of that vision,” Fuca noted. “Marlin’s investment will allow us to fuel our growth as we expand our leadership in a rapidly growing market.”

Nick Kaiser, senior managing director at Marlin Equity Partners, said the new capital infusion will build on the strong momentum already present in the business. “We believe Reputation is a highly differentiated market leader with industry-leading bookings growth underpinned by robust retention rates,” Kaiser noted.

Overall, Marlin’s minority growth investment means that most or all of the invested capital will be placed on Reputation’s balance sheet to allow the company to grow. In contrast, a majority investment means a new investor is acquiring more than 50% of a company, effectively becoming the controller of the company’s finances and operations.

In a related development, Reputation also announced it has exceeded $100 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR), a key SaaS milestone.

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