Zoominfo Acquired by PE Firm Great Hill Partners

I went on vacation figuring there would be few mid-August product announcements (I was right), but didn’t anticipate M&A activity beyond the Bureau van Dijk acquisition closing (it did on August 10th).  But while I was moving my daughter to North Carolina for graduate school, sales and marketing intelligence database Unomy was acquired by co-working firm WeWork and Zoominfo was acquired by private equity firm Great Hill Partners.  Coincidentally, both deals involve technology relationships between the US and Israel.

“We are enthusiastic about our new investment in ZoomInfo,” said Christopher Gaffney, managing partner at Great Hill Partners. “The company is growing very fast while maintaining a high level of profitability, a rare combination that attests to the quality of its products, data, and employees. In the evolving market of data driven solutions for sales and marketing, we see a significant growth opportunity for ZoomInfo, and trust that with its current track record, strong product innovation and efficient operations they will continue to dominate the market.”

Gaffney will be joining Zoominfo’s Board of Directors.

Like Zoominfo, Great Hill Partners is also Boston-based (technically, they are in the same MSA, if not the same town).  VentureBeat listed the acquisition price at $240 million or roughly 6X trailing revenue.

Zoominfo President Yonatan Stern indicated “it’s time for me to move on . . . . I’m not going to retire, but I want to move the center of my life to Israel.”

“We’re doing really well, and we wanted to pay out some of those early investors,” said a company representative. “They had been in the game for a long time.”

Stern built and sold three successful companies in the Boston area including Bizo and CardScan.  He will continue as the CEO for at least a year before ceding responsibility to his executive team.  Stern will remain on as the Chairman and retains a stake in the firm.

Zoominfo is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts and most of its 200 employees are located there.

“I am very excited about this new chapter in ZoomInfo’s growth story.  The company will continue to focus on delivering value to our rapidly expanding base of thousands of satisfied and loyal customers. We invest heavily in growing and improving our data assets, and in product innovation to deliver a wealth of information where and when our customers need it. We look forward to working with Great Hill Partners to accelerate our growth and maintain competitive advantage.”

  • Yonatan Stern, CEO and Chief Scientist, ZoomInfo.

Zoominfo made the last three Inc. 5000 lists with revenue of $39.8 million in 2016 and a three-year Compound Average Growth Rate of 39%.  The ZoomInfo dataset spans 222 million active and inactive global contacts and 9.3 million companies with firmographics, emails, direct dials, and web mined bios.  Roughly 80 million contacts are for US executives and employees.

Zoominfo began as Eliyon, an online search engine for people in 2000.  The firm struggled for several years as it found itself in competition with better-heeled well known competitors such as Google and LinkedIn.  About five years ago, it pivoted from SalesTech (which it continues to serve along with Executive Recruitment) into MarTech and began building out its Growth Acceleration Platform marketing capabilities (cloud-based enrichment, web forms, segmentation analysis, cluster analysis, and list building).  It also shifted its contact acquisition model from web-based biographic scraping to a community model.  Thus, the firm has had strong growth in both its contact database and revenues.

ZoomInfo Personas provide a multi-dimensional cluster analysis for identifying persona categories and prospecting against them.
ZoomInfo Personas provide a multi-dimensional cluster analysis for identifying persona categories and prospecting against them.

MarTech analyst David Raab noted that the acquisition “continues a trend of marketing technology vendors being purchased by private equity firms, although Great Hill hasn’t been particularly active in the martech space.”

I will cover Unomy’s acquisition tomorrow.

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