Google has acquired Onward, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered chatbot startup that powers automated customer service and sales tools. Onward company co-founders Rémi Cossart and Pramod Thammaiah and CTO Aaron Podolny will join Google as part of the deal. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  

post on the Onward company website shared the trajectory of the company, from its founding in 2015 "as a bootstrapped startup working out of our living room in a Brooklyn apartment," through to a relocation in San Francisco where company founders "were fortunate enough to grow the Onward team and expand to clients across the globe." The founders created the company with the intention of having computers participate in natural, human conversations, or as they put it, "unlocking the magical experiences that are possible when computers understand the subtleties hidden in a user’s actions and messages." 

In other customer experience news ....

ICF Acquires We are Vista

ICF, a global consulting and digital services provider, has announced it acquired We are Vista, a UK-based creative communications agency. We are Vista works in communications strategy, research, digital engagement, content development, design and art direction. Based in London and Leeds, its 100-person team develops campaigns for brand names in the technology, financial, retail, transportation, telecommunications and energy industries.

ICF created an integrated set of advisory and engagement marketing capabilities for North American customers. With the acquisition of We are Vista, it will expand into Europe, according to ICF CEO Sudhakar Kesavan. We are Vista will become a part of ICF’s full marketing and communication team. Last year ICF acquired London-based loyalty strategy and marketing company The Future Customer and hired John Armstrong, a former founding executive of IBM iX, to lead ICF Olson, the company’s commercial marketing and communications division. 

Liferay Acquires Interest in Triblio

Liferay, a digital experience software company, has acquired controlling interest in Triblio and will leverage Triblio’s account-based marketing (ABM) business. The investment gives Liferay DXP customers the opportunity to further enhance and personalize customer journeys with account-specific content and messaging. 

Triblio will continue to operate as an independent entity, led by CEO Andre Yee. Yee cofounded Triblio after serving as senior vice president of product development at marketing automation software provider Eloqua. Triblio offers account-based advertising, web personalization, sales orchestration, account scoring and analytics, all powered by its AI-based purchase intent engine.

Learning Opportunities

Postman Releases State of API Results

Postman, an API development company, this week released results of its 2018 State of the API Survey (pdf). Some key results include that while microservices remains the most exciting technology for API developers, the rise of containers and serverless architecture have emerged as new favorites. “This year’s survey data reveals a diverse area of focus for the API development workforce,” Abhinav Asthana, Postman cofounder and CEO, said in a statement. 

Other highlights include:

  • Nearly two in three API developers spend a quarter of their week working with APIs, and 30 percent of those spend more than half of their time with APIs.
  • Usage of public and private APIs is nearly 50 percent, and has grown since last year, while internal APIs still make up slightly more than half of all usage.
  • Most users have fewer than five years of experience, less than 20 percent work in teams and nearly half are back-end developers.
  • The majority of API knowledge is gained on the job or from online resources, while published API documentation and online communities also contribute heavily.

Intermedia Hires Sitecore CMO

­Intermedia, a cloud communications and collaboration provider to small and medium-sized business (SMBs) and their partners, has named Scott Anderson as its chief marketing officer. Anderson had served as Sitecore's CMO. He will report to CEO Michael Gold and lead all aspects of Intermedia's integrated marketing efforts.

With 25 years in B2B tech marketing, Anderson has also served in executive marketing roles at Hewlett Packard (now HPE), Sun Microsystems (now Oracle), Bazaarvoice, Weyerhaesuer and CNN International.