Tech Reveals Marketing’s Hopeful Side, Cision Spends $841M on PR Newswire
Tech is at the center of optimism in the U.S., Steve Henn of NPR said on Monday, summing up his beat for 2015 and his career in public radio, in general. Perhaps nowhere is this optimism more evident than in the list of companies getting funding for new marketing technology, as recorded by PitchBook, a Seattle-based M&A, private equity and venture capital database.
Normally, I would call this the start-up funding list, but I just spotted 1954-founded PR Newswire among the names in Friday’s roundup. So the giant press release distributor and Storyworks1 are actually listed here because bigger companies acquired them by, of course, spending money. PR Newswire appears to be the biggest deal here, at $841 million. PitchBook cataloged money recipients from Dec. 13 to 18.
Here are the funded companies, as reported by PitchBook:
- PR Newswire Association is quite a familiar name to journalists who get press releases all of the time from the “news and information [provider] for global media organizations.” On Dec. 15, Cision Group nominally acquired the PR powerhouse for $841 million. However, anyone watching the PR industry knows that that name, Cision, is actually the public face of what PitchBook calls “its financial sponsor, GTCR Golder Raune.” And that name sounds familiar because Cision became the public face of GTCR in 2014, when “the Chicago private equity firm … acquired Vocus and Cision” and combined the “PR and marketing software providers under former Cision CEO Peter Granat,” according to ODwyerPR.com. So it’s not a huge surprise that on Cision’s site, Granat describes the private equity-backed buyout of the PR division of UBM as creating “a comprehensive platform to help our clients manage the entire lifecycle of communications – from influencer discovery and content distribution to engagement and campaign analysis.”
- Omadi is a “developer of mobile application-based software services for the security, towing and repossession industries. The company develops cloud-based CRM software for targeted service industries to track, analyze and increase employee production, enhance communication within companies and between clients and replace the need for multiple software solutions.” On Dec. 16, the venture-capital-backed company “raised $5 million of venture funding from undisclosed investors,” adding to $700,000 “of seed funding from Peak Venture Capital on May 26, 2015, putting the company's pre-money valuation at $5.14 million.”
Azalead develops “B-to-B, account-based marketing software … which enables marketers to identify, track and nurture target accounts with display ads. It is powered by patent-pending Company ID technology that detects company visitors, even if they visit from an unregistered IP address.” On Dec. 15, “the company raised EUR 4.5 million of Series B venture funding, led by Idinvest Partners ... [and including] Aurinvest [and Oleg Tscheltzoff] ... The company will use the funding to accelerate growth and product road-map. Previously, it raised $2.1 million of Series A venture funding, led by Aurinvest, on March 18.”
- Idio. This content marketing platform provider facilitates “content personalization and customer intelligence across digital channel[s], including email, Web and mobile. Its Software-as-a-Service platform allows brands and marketers to personalize content sent out to subscribers.” On Dec. 15, Idio “raised GBP 665,514 of a planned GBP 1.5 million of angel funding via crowdfunding platform Venture Founders. ... Norton Capital [was among] the investment platform [funders]. Previously, the company raised $8.5 million of venture funding lead investor Notion Capital on December 5, 2014. Quayle Munro and other undisclosed investors also participated.”
- Mabaya provides “technologies that help enterprises and online retailers to optimize their marketing campaigns [by monetizing] the traffic in their online store or marketplace.” On Dec. 15, the venture-backed “company raised $2.25 million of seed funding in a deal led by Lool Ventures [and including] follow-on, undisclosed angel investors.”
- Storyworks1 makes a “digital content delivery platform for organizations [that] connects sales and marketing with the content, knowledge and tools to create customer-buying experiences. It is also software-as-a-service platform that provides marketing information to the field, while reporting key data on sales activity to management.” Rather than reporting a funding round here, PitchBook is saying Storyworks1 got acquired on Dec. 15 by Insite Software and won’t be tracked any more. “Insite Software is backed by Volition Capital.”
- Grapevine Logic develops “an advocate marketing platform for consumer brands … that enables brands to find relevant products to introduce to their audience in exchange for a fee.” On Dec. 16, “the company raised $385,000 of venture funding through a combination of debt and equity from undisclosed investors ... Previously, it raised $1.2 million of seed funding from Boston Seed, Bantam Group and Atlas Venture on February 9, 2015, putting the pre-money valuation at $7.09 million. Diane Hessan, Joe Caruso, Jere Doyle and TJ Mahony also participated in the round.”
- Clariture makes “an online marketing and advertising platform for hospitals … that drives targeted patient engagement and acquisition for hospitals, health systems and outpatient providers.” On Dec. 16, privately held, venture capital-backed Clariture “raised $3.5 million of Series A venture funding from undisclosed investors [that it] will use … to accelerate growth and expansion.” Its active investors include: Bluecross Blueshield of Tennessee, Health Insight Capital, Healthbox, Martin Ventures and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.
- LoopMe provides a “mobile video advertisements platform … for all mobile video ad formats, covering pre-roll, HTML5 and VAST, including native and full-screen formats.” On Dec. 16, “the company raised $7 million of venture funding from Holzbrinck Ventures, Open Ocean Capital and undisclosed private investors.” Its active investors include: Ballpark Ventures, Barbod Namini, Holtzbrinck Ventures, John Taysom, Kristian Segerstrale, Mobile Value Partners, Open Ocean Capital, Peter Barry, Russell Buckley, Tom Henriksson and Torben Maajaard.
- RealityMine provides “mobile market research technologies and consumer analytics. The company has developed a SaaS platform which allows market researchers to analyze the mobile activity of opted-in panelists, across devices including mobile phones, tablets and smart TVs. It also provides [a] consumer-centric, single-source panel to completely understand online and offline behaviors.” On Dec. 14, “the company received $17.25 million of development capital, led by Kennet Partners … [followed by] GP Bullhound and other undisclosed investors ... The company will use the funding for technology advancements in the areas of mobile and cross-platform measurement, as well as behavioral analytics.” Active investors include: Creative Capital Fund, GP Bullhound, Greater Manchester Investment Fund and Kennet Partners.
- SALEAD makes “a digital marketing platform [that] provides automatic marketing solutions through [a] disruptive network of linked companies, using innovative technology of [a] cognitive text analysis engine, combined with associative data-mining algorithms.” On Dec. 16, “the company closed on $1.5 million of angel funding from Guy Doron, Nathan Low and Jecheskel [Halperin] ... Follow-on investors Chen Shachrur, Ruth Low, Philip Baratz and Benjamin Genet also participated. Previously, the company joined IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator as part of the first class on January 28, 2015.” Active investors include: Shachrur, Doron, IBM Alpha Zone accelerator, Halperin, Low, the Office of the Chief Scientist of Israel and The Library Tel Aviv.
- ActivityHero creates “an online portal that connects parents with after-school activity providers. The company's platform aggregates children’s after-school activities and summer camps. It also provides marketing tools and software to providers who have listings on the platform.” On Dec. 14, “the company raised an undisclosed amount of venture funding from The Indian Angel Network and Inventus Capital Partners.”
What do marketers think of the types of tech getting funding?
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Related story: New Marketing Tech Roundup for Nov. 29-Dec. 11