Turns out, it pays to offer to software on customer insights and digital customer experience.

This week, customer experience software provider Qualtrics debuted its IPO and reached a market cap of $22.8 billion after day one. Bloomreach, a digital customer experience provider, made an acquisition and announced a $150 million investment that now values the company at $900 million. And last week, digital customer experience provider Sitecore announced that it received a $1.2 billion private investment.

As for Qualtrics, the IPO was expected. SAP, which acquired Qualtrics in 2018 for $8 billion, announced Qualtrics would go public back in July. Qualtrics had initially planned to offer shares between $20 and $24 but closed on Thursday, Jan. 28, at $45.50. It raised $1.55 billion.

"In today’s hyper-connected world where all it takes to switch jobs or service providers is a few simple clicks, the experiences companies provide will determine whether they succeed or fail," said Ryan Smith, Qualtrics founder and executive chairman, and Zig Serafin, CEO, in a joint statement.

"That’s why we pioneered the Experience Management category to help companies design and continually improve the experiences they provide across four core experiences — customer, employee, product and brand. Experience Management is the heartbeat of modern business and Qualtrics has never been more relevant," said Smith. 

In other customer experience and digital marketing software news ...

Bloomreach Announces $150M Investment, Exponea Acquisition

Bloomreach, which offers a Digital Experience Platform, has announced an investment of $150 million by Sixth Street Growth and the acquisition of Customer Data Platform (CDP) and marketing automation provider Exponea. The investment reportedly puts Bloomreach at a valuation of $900 million.

CEO and Co-Founder Raj De Datta said the investment will fuel growth of the company's commerce experience platform (brX). Bloomreach's commerce experience offerings will combine with Exponea's customer data and marketing execution to drive impact on conversion, customer activation and marketing efficiency. Bloomreach and Exponea will deliver a commerce experience platform that unifies customer and product data for Bloomreach’s real-time, AI-based recommendations and actions.

"Our focus is completely on commerce," De Datta said. "This enables us to focus on the use cases that ecommerce marketers, merchandisers and businesses face that are unique to them."

In other news related to the investment, Benjamin Johnston, managing director of Sixth Street Growth, will join Bloomreach’s Board of Directors.

Twitter Acquires Revue

Twitter has acquired Revue, a service that allows people to start and publish editorial newsletters. Revue accelerates Twitter's ability to help people stay informed about their interests while giving writers a way to monetize their audience, according to Twitter officials.

Twitter wants to make it easy for writers to connect with their subscribers, while also helping readers better discover writers and their content. People will be able to sign up for newsletters from their favorite follows on Twitter, and writers will be able to host conversations with their subscribers. Twitter is creating an incentive model through paid newsletters. It will continue to develop audience-based monetization.

Revue’s Pro features are free for all accounts. Twitter has lowered the paid newsletter fee to 5%. Twitter plans to offer Revue as a standalone service.

Algolia Acquires MorphL

Algolia, a search-as-a-service provider, announced that it has acquired MorphL, a Google Digital News Initiative-funded startup. The acquisition is designed to help power Algolia’s new Artificial Intelligence (AI) offering. This new suite of API-based AI and Machine Learning (ML) models enables capabilities to predict users’ intent, personalize online experiences and create targeted offers.

Company officials said this will allow users to move from content-based experiences to predictive, intent-based experiences. The acquisition also extends Algolia’s intelligent search APIs, with recommendations and user behavior models.

Episerver Rebrands as Optimizely

So long, Epi. Episerver, a DXP provider often referred to as Epi, has announced it has rebranded to Optimizely, following its acquisition of the experimentation software provider last year. Company officials said this is about reflecting the company's mission to provide software that is data-driven and includes a digital-first approach. 

“Digital experience is a journey without a finish line,” Alex Atzberger, CEO of Optimizely, said in a statement. “Ultimately, our customers want to innovate and use data to confidentially create and optimize every customer experience based on actual outcomes. The Optimizely brand very much galvanizes this vision and uniquely positions us to define the future of DXP market.” 

Optimizely also launched optimization-as-a-service. This new offering combines targeting, testing and recommendations. It brings together solutions from Optimizely Web and Episerver Content Recommendations. This year Optimizely plans to launch content-as-as-service, a headless DXP, and authoring and editing capabilities. 

Khoros Acquires Flow.ai

Khoros, which provides customer engagement software, has acquired Flow.ai, a conversational AI platform for designing and managing chatbots. The acquisition will advance Khoros’ conversational AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities and data science expertise to enhance the automation framework of the Khoros’ customer engagement platform.

Khoros offers a customer-facing chatbot, Khoros Bot, that integrates with its digital customer care solution, Khoros Care. With Flow.ai, Khoros will extend the AI/ML capabilities available to brands. Khoros plans to remain “bot agnostic” because of its open APIs and will continue to enable brands to integrate with other third-party bot provider.

Mediafly Secures $25 Million

Mediafly, a sales enablement and content management technology platform, has completed a $25 million growth round of funding. Existing investors, including Boathouse Capital, provided equity, and Sterling National Bank provided senior debt.

Mediafly will use the funds to boost its product and market position, add team resources across the entire organization, specifically in product innovation, global sales expansion, customer success, consulting services and marketing. This follows Mediafly's acquisition last year of UK-based Presentify, a global visual communication solution.

Learning Opportunities

SparkPost Lands $180 Million Strategic Growth Investment

SparkPost, an email sending and optimization platform, has announced it has secured $180 million from LLR Partners, NewSpring Capital and PNC Bank. SparkPost powers email communications programs and is designed to help brands improve deliverability, user experience and email data and analytics.

SparkPost is coming off some strategic partnerships in the email service provider and cross-channel marketing cloud space. It completed an acquisition of eDataSource in 2019 to bolster its email data analytics and insights.

It has put resources into products AMP (accelerated mobile pages) for Email, which was announced alongside Google in early 2019, and developed a set of algorithms through its Signals product to predict email and engagement issues and deliver insights into email deliverability.

Former Evergage CMO Finds Home as CEO

Andy Zimmerman, former CMO of Evergage, a personalization provider acquired last year by Salesforce, has landed as CEO of ARInsights, which provides a platform for analyst relations management. Shashank Kulkarni last fall stepped down as CEO and remains on the Board of Directors as he transitions into retirement.

"Our main priority for 2021 is to accelerate the company’s growth while doing it in a responsible way," Zimmerman said in a press release. "We also need to maintain our focus on what our customers are doing and what their needs are. We will continue listening carefully to what our customers are telling us, being responsive, and supporting them. We will also be investing more this year in the platform."

Outreach and Terminus Integrate

Terminus, an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) platform, has launched a product integration with Outreach, a sales engagement platform. Company officials said the integration enables marketing and sales to work together based on shared account data to support outbound and sales teams in the account-based approach.

Outreach prospects and sequences are tied directly to Terminus’ chat, email signature advertising and website personalization features. Outreach users can leverage Terminus account-based chat capabilities and conversation insights natively in the Outreach platform. 

Reltio Releases Reltio Identity 360

Reltio, a provider of a master data management SaaS platform, has announced the availability of Reltio Identity 360. Identity 360 is a free cloud-native service that provides identity data about customers, contacts and other sources.

Company officials said Reltio Identity 360 consolidates, deduplicates, enriches and validates customer profiles in a single source of truth. Users will be able to create digital universal IDs. Enterprises with more complex customer data management can upgrade to Reltio Connected Customer 360 and Reltio Enterprise 360.

Merkle B2B Announces Tech Collaboration

Merkle, a customer experience management (CXM) company, has announced an enhanced collaboration with LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Madison Logic. The collaboration between Merkle B2B and the two B2B marketing solution providers gives marketers better access to LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Madison Logic’s capabilities, audience insights and marketing activation, according to company officials.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions' B2B product suite aligns with Merkle B2B’s areas of focus: marketing and media, data insights and analytics, technology, research, CRM and creative, company officials said. Marketers will be able to get access to custom data and insights, product alphas and betas, certified teams and custom training opportunities.

Madison Logic, an ABM provider, allows Merkle B2B to inform and drive client strategy with insights from Madison Logic’s proprietary ML.Data Cloud. Merkle’s own identity solutions and the ML.Data Cloud identify clients’ most active buyers. Merkle B2B is able to deploy digital media for ABM campaigns.

Litmus Launches New Features and Integrations

Litmus, an email marketing software provider, has launched new capabilities. Updates include enhanced integrations with Salesforce Pardot and email intelligence provider SparkPost. Litmus Builder upgrades allow users to store, edit and use custom code templates, partials and snippets to create brand-compliant emails. Additionally, animated GIFs are now supported.

Aisle Rocket Launches Incremental Lift Tool for Facebook Advertising

Aisle Rocket, a marketing agency, announced the launch of FaceLift, an incremental lift measurement tool for Facebook advertising. FaceLift measures audience-level data and allows statistics to be allocated between channels and campaigns. FaceLift allows Aisle Rocket to optimize against different audiences, which outperforms campaign lift measurement, according to company officials.

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