Ignite Technologies acquires Infer

Infer Account Based Behavior Score
Infer Account Based Behavior Score

ESW Capital completed the acquisition of predictive analytics vendor Infer and will be rolling it into Ignite Technologies. Infer offers predictive lead and account scoring. Use cases include TAM identification, segmentation, account selection, demand generation, lead scoring, opportunity scoring, and upsell/cross-sell. In a September 2016 report, Gartner said that Infer pricing starts at $30,000 and increases based on the number of models. There are also charges for net-new contacts.

This summer, ESW also acquired company intelligence vendor FirstRain and rolled it into Ignite as well.

The Ignite Prime program offers clients access to additional enterprise technology once they have signed a contract for one of the Ignite Technology solutions. For example, Infer customers would have access to additional enterprise software solutions such as First Rain, ThinkVine, and Placeable equal to the value of their Infer contracts.

“We’ve been continually impressed by Ignite throughout this acquisition process. They have a strong leadership team and the right strategy that’s in line with where the future of sales and marketing solutions are going, where there’s a need to converge multiple products into a cohesive platform to drive true, full-circle customer intelligence. We’re confident this is the platform that our amazing customers will want to build on and grow, and are excited for the Infer solutions to be a part of Ignite’s Prime Program which will help customers drive 2x ROI.”

  • Vik Singh, Infer’s CEO

Infer was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Infer focuses on predictive solutions for the technology sector and lists AdRoll, Cloudera, New Relic, Tableau, Xactly and Zendesk as clients. As of Q3 last year, Infer reported over 140 customers. Deal size was not disclosed.

Ignite Technologies Acquires FirstRain

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FirstRain Coverage of Lattice Engines includes web volume, business influencers, market drivers, Twitter trends, recent stories, related topics, and subject filtering.

Ignite Technologies will be acquiring news analytics vendor FirstRain as part of a pre-negotiated, Chapter 11 corporate reorganization.  The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July subject to court approval.  The acquisition is being funded by Ignite’s parent company, ESW Capital.

FirstRain provides a set of company-specific insights and analytics derived from news, press releases, filings, Twitter, and other open web content sets.  FirstRain applies a high-precision taxonomy to the “business web” which spans companies, industries, geographies, and business topics.  For the past few years, FirstRain has been the source of company and industry news for Dun & Bradstreet (Hoovers Classic, First Research, D&B Direct, and D&B 360), Mergent, and other OEM partners.  FirstRain also provides integrated solutions on Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Microsoft SharePoint.

FirstRain Who to Call Panel.
The FirstRain Who to Call Panel provides insights on which accounts have Deal Threats and Accelerators, Reasons to Check In, or New Information.

“FirstRain’s leading-edge, analytics technology providing actionable insights for its clients’ sales and marketing teams strengthens Ignite’s portfolio of sales and marketing solutions,” said Ignite’s CEO Davin Cushman. “Additionally, with the close of the FirstRain acquisition, Ignite will be materially expanding our foundation of sales and marketing solutions that Chief Marketing and Chief Revenue Officers can depend on to drive their business.”

Once the acquisition closes, FirstRain will be part of the Ignite Prime product offering which provides access to enterprise software by simply paying a maintenance fee on at least one Ignite standard solution.

“Ignite has a proven track record of buying, strengthening and growing the companies it acquires, and FirstRain is excited about the potential for our world-class teams to carry the FirstRain solutions and customers forward,” said YY Lee, Chief Executive Officer of FirstRain. “Through this acquisition, Ignite’s foundation of success and innovative programs, including their unique Ignite Prime program, extends the value proposition even further for FirstRain customers, now and into the future.”

News Aggregators: Who Do I Use?

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FirstRain coverage of Lattice Engines includes web volume, business influencers, market drivers, Twitter trends, recent stories, related topics, and subject filtering.

The following is a Quora post I wrote concerning news aggregators…

As an industry analyst that publishes a weekly subscription newsletter on the information industry, I follow companies and industry topics related to my industry.  Coverage spans about fifty companies across North America and Europe with many of the firms having global footprints.  As such, press releases are likely to come from North America and Europe but news coverage needs to be global.

Alerts are basically a distraction so I employ daily push (email alerts) and pull (portals) approaches.  I only want alerts for major events (e.g. PE/VC fundings and M&A activity).

Also, I am not performing due diligence or media analysis, so duplicate filtering and high precision are critical.  I do not want five variants on the same AP story or passing mentions of companies in the twelfth paragraph of an article.  I also am not interested in stock market news as it is ephemeral.

I provided the above as I use information services to meet specific workflow needs.  Your needs may differ.  Here is how I achieve the above objectives (in order of importance):

  • FirstRain – I have used FirstRain for five years.  They have extremely high precision meaning that stories are almost always about the topic in question.  They include a FirstTweets feature which provides ten Tweets about my subject.  Instead of simply looking for Twitter keywords, they follow the Twitter links and analyze the linked content.  Thus, FirstTweets provides me with side door access to blogs, company website posts, and social media.  I am setup to receive daily news for companies and industries and can explore their news archive by company, industry, or business topic.  SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
  • Owler – Owler combines semantic mining of open web news with social media crawling (Blogs, YouTube, and Vimeo), polling (e.g. CEO and transaction favorability), crowdsourcing (e.g. company size estimates and competitors), and editorial resources.  Editors review story tagging to improve precision and collect funding and M&A information.  I receive daily alerts of news and social media that complements FirstRain well.  I also receive editorially created M&A and funding alerts that provide transaction details and company overviews along with curated story hyperlinks.  FREE SERVICE
  • Feedly – I use Feedly as my RSS portal.  I have it setup for company blogs, industry analysts, trade publications, and a few individual bloggers.  I generally use Feedly as a backup system to make sure I haven’t missed a story or for when my newsletter is short and I’m looking for additional ideas. FREE SERVICE
  • Seeking Alpha – I have a short list of public companies that I cover with earnings news flashes.  Seeking Alpha provides me with alerts on transcripts, filings, and investor analysis (I generally ignore the investor analysis).  The key things for me are the earnings bullets and transcripts. FREE SERVICE
  • Trade Publications – I am setup for weekly feeds of a few trade publications.  FREE SERVICES
  • Factiva – Factiva is a subscription service, but I can access it through my alma mater’s library.  I generally access Factiva only a few times per quarter for archival research (they go back over thirty years) or Wall Street Journal articles (Factiva and the WSJ are both owned by News Corp).  SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
  • YouTube – I have setup the corporate YouTube sites for many of the companies I follow.  YouTube provides corporate positioning videos, product demos, webinars, conference keynotes, and training tips.  I live in YouTube the week of Dreamforce (SFDC’s annual show) as I am not able to attend the show. FREE SERVICE

I also have licenses to various sales intelligence services but do not use them generally for my newsletter as it could bias my research.  If you have access to a subscription sales intelligence service (e.g. InsideView, Avention, Hoover’s) or news service (e.g. Factiva or LexisNexis), it can also be part of your aggregation mix.

First Research: Plain English Industry Primers

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I’ve long respected the First Research industry overviews assembled by Dun & Bradstreet.  While most industry research runs from complex to arcane, First Research reports serve as industry primers providing plain English overviews of an industry.  If you were to read the report for your own industry, you would probably find it useful only for new hire training.

And that is the beauty of the reports.  They are for novices lacking an understanding of an industry which makes them perfect for territory sales reps or relationship managers.  In fact, they were originally designed for relationship managers at banks before First Research realized that sales reps were equally in need of their research.  If your job requires you to interact with individuals across many industries, then First Research may be the perfect resource for “getting up to speed” on an industry.  They can also be valuable for job hunters looking for a basic set of questions to ask about an industry.

Content includes an Industry Overview containing the following sub-sections:

  • Competitive Landscape
  • Products & Operations
  • Technology
  • Sales & Marketing
  • Finance & Working Capital
  • Regulation
  • International Insights
  • Regional Highlights
  • Human Resources

along with these additional sections:

  • News and Social (FirstRain)
  • Quarterly Industry Update
  • Industry Forecast
  • Industry Growth Rating (High, medium or low)
  • Industry Indicators
  • Company Information
  • Critical Issues
  • Business Challenges
  • Business Trends
  • Industry Opportunities
  • Executive Insights and Questions
  • Financial Information
  • Call Prep Questions ƒ Websites & Acronyms

First Research contains several sections of Q&A content including Call Prep Questions and Executive Insights which are questions specific to C-level executives.  Sometimes in life, you need to “fake it until you make it” (i.e. develop expertise) and First Research is designed for this purpose.

Through an OEM deal with FirstRain, high-precision industry news is included in the service along with FirstRain topic tagging and visual tools.  FirstRain content includes Latest News, Top Business Tweets, Management Changes, Event Timeline, Industry Health Indicators, Analyst Commentary, and Recent Transactions.  FirstRain does not archive this content but provides six months of open web news links.

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FirstRain industry news is OEM’d within First Research reports providing six months of news, business tweets, an event timeline, analyst commentary, health indicators, transactions, and management changes.

First Research covers over 500 US and 35 Canadian industries spanning 1,000 NAICS codes.  While the reports are US-centric, they have recently begun adding international sections to the reports.  As a bonus, the product includes regional reports for US states, the District of Colombia, and Canadian provinces.  Country briefs are also available.

Other tools include a set of sales and marketing templates providing examples of how to use First Research content in various scenarios and an industry prospector tool for assisting with market development planning.

First Research reports are available as a standalone offering or integrated into the Hoover’s database, D&B360 CRM connectors, and the D&B Direct API.  A subset of the content is also being delivered via Data.com.  For library patrons, Dun & Bradstreet has partnered with Mergent to deliver the reports as a standalone offering or integrated into some of their products such as Mergent Intellect.

First Research should be viewed as industry insights for non-experts.  You won’t find depth on key trends or issues, but the service is easily accessible and walks the user through industry basics.  You generally don’t find industry news or Q&A sections in other industry services.

If you are looking for more advanced cross-industry research, you can step up to

  • MarketLine (global and regional research)
  • Euromonitor (global and regional research)
  • IBISWorld (US, Australian, Chinese, and global research)
  • Freedonia (US)
  • BMI (emerging markets)
  • EMD (emerging markets).

These services provide more complex reports while retaining readability.  While you won’t find as much handholding (e.g. Q&A sections), you will find broader industry trend and forecast content along with profiles of the top three or four competitors in the market.  As many are globally focused, they may be better sources for international market entry decisions.

You can find a full review of First Research at FreePint (Note: I am a contributor to FreePint, but the review was written by a different author)