Flash: Echobot & Leadfeeder Acquired & Merged

Growth equity firm Great Hill Partners invested €180 million in Echobot and Leadfeeder, merging the firms into a Sales Intelligence and Go-to-market platform.  Both firms are based in Europe (Germany and Finland) and will benefit from the roadmap set out by North American RevTech firms.

The merged firm will be based in Karlsruhe, Germany, with Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg continuing as CEO.  Leadfeeder CEO Pekka Koskinen will become the CPO.  The combined company has a headcount of 250 across six offices in Europe and the US.  The new firm’s Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds €20 million. 

Leadfeeder serves around 7,000 customers and Echobot 1,500.

Echobot’s European data coverage

Echobot offers a Sales Intelligence and B2B DaaS platform for the D-A-CH region, UK, and France.  Late last year, it added a broader European data pack.  It supports a database of 20 million European companies and over 60 million GDPR-compliant contacts.  Company and contact data is derived from both registered filings and open web sources and includes directors, shareholders, and financials. 

Echobot takes a “True Compliance” approach which gathers data only from publicly accessible sources.  Furthermore, it provides verification links to the source URLs that allow reps to answer the question, “where did my data come from?”  All data is hosted in Germany.

Echobot’s products include TARGET (prospecting), CONNECT (Sales Intelligence), DATACARE (B2B DaaS), and an API.  In addition, Echobot offers CRM integrations with HubSpot, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SugarCRM.

“It is our goal to be the leading sales intelligence and go-to-market platform to our core European and North American markets,” said Karweg.  “Thanks to Great Hill, we have now assembled the best data, AI / ML, talent, and operating experience to achieve just that.  We are increasingly seeing organizations looking to take advantage of their own data and third-party data, and then to augment this intelligence with better, more personalized outreach.  The combination of Echobot and Leadfeeder is uniquely positioned to capitalize on a massive market opportunity at the early stages of adoption.”

Leadfeeder IP-to-Account Visitor Intelligence

Leadfeeder offers website visitor intelligence that maps IP addresses to company intelligence.  During the pandemic, it worked to identify remote workers and map them to their employers, helping refine which companies are in-market.  It also supports connectors for Google Analytics, chatbots, audience retargeting, major CRMs, Zapier, and Slack.

“Integrating Leadfeeder’s web visitor identification system with Echobot’s data and prospecting solutions creates a unique platform upon which we can both enable organizations to identify and engage high-intent prospects as well as introduce incremental applications that enhance B2B sales and marketing operations,” said Koskinen.

Karweg envisions an ABM workflow that begins with an ICP analysis that identifies net-new accounts.  The ICP is then mapped against Leadfeeder’s visitor intelligence and Echobot’s firmographics and event triggers to identify high-value, in-market accounts for programmatic marketing.  While programmatic campaigns are not yet supported, they are in development.

Great Hill Partners has also committed an additional €50 million toward future acquisitions.  In an interview with GZ Consulting, Echobot CEO Bastian Karweg indicated that the €50M in dry powder would be used towards acquiring talent, RevTech functionality, or expanded content.

The equity acquisition is a combination of primary and secondary funding, with Great Hill Partners buying out many of the original investors.  It named Growth Partner Derek Schoettle Chairman of the Board and placed Great Hill Partners Managing Director Chris Gaffney and Vice President Greg Stewart on the board of the merged organization.

Schoettle is also on the board of ABX Platform Terminus, another Great Hill investment.  He was the CEO of ZoomInfo when DiscoverOrg acquired it in 2019 (DiscoverOrg subsequently assumed the name ZoomInfo), so he and the new board members offer deep Go-to-Market domain expertise.

“Go-to-market is one of the fastest-growing areas of B2B software.  Sales and marketing organizations need timely, accurate information and intelligent systems to identify and engage their prospects in an increasingly personalized, automated fashion.  By bringing together Echobot and Leadfeeder, we can create the next-generation sales intelligence and go-to-market platform,” stated Derek Schoettle.

The transaction is a merger of equals bringing together two firms of roughly the same revenue and employee base.  Both firms have over €10M in ARR and are growing rapidly.  Echobot grew 70% last year, while Leadfeeder had a 50% growth figure.  Echobot has long been profitable, and Leadfeeder is nearing profitability. 

The firms will initially run as independent brands as they merge their operations and platforms.  The deal closed a few weeks ago but was announced this morning.  Thus, they have already begun combining finance and HR.  The two brands will be maintained in the near term with rebranding under consideration for 2023 as Echobot is also the name of a Mirai malware variant.

Valuation figures were not disclosed, but the final price was determined before the recent valuation declines and did not change.  The firms were both being advised by GP Bullhound, which suggested that packaging the two firms together would result in a more effective growth equity round.  Furthermore, the two companies offered features on each other’s roadmap so were logical complements.

Europe has been tracking behind the US in the Sales Intelligence space, with several national champions now looking to offer European datasets and local UIs.  European sales intelligence and B2B DaaS solutions must meet higher data compliance and privacy standards, incorporate registered data from national registers, support multiple currencies, and many languages.

Echobot covers the D-A-CH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland), the UK, and France, with a general European data package added late last year.  A Nordic data package has been accelerated due to the merger, which would increase its competitiveness against Dun & Bradstreet and Vainu.

“One of the most requested developments for 2021 was to access data from the entire European market.  That was not only requested from German customers with a strong export to European countries, but also from new, international users that want to expand into Europe,” explained Karweg last November when Echobot added coverage of over twenty European countries.

“Europe is not one country but many, and there are differences between them, whether it’s to do with culture or data compliance,” remarked Schoettle.  “Having a platform that is unique and linguistic-specific, and serving its markets with high-quality data, is a differentiator.”

“It’s a dream match,” argued Koskinen.  While previously the firm purchased contact data from multiple sources, “it has been difficult to get sufficiently up-to-date and accurate data.”  With the merger, Leadfeeder will offer better data quality and “have all the expertise in-house” to expand its coverage.

Along with higher quality data, Leedfeeder will benefit from a broader set of firmographics, financials, and sales triggers for data enrichment and lead scoring.  Leadfeeder will also be able to cross-sell Echobot’s sales intelligence, prospecting, and data enrichment services to its 7,000 customers.

“We want to be the biggest in Europe,” stated Koskinen.  “It’s going to take a few years, but I think we’re succeeding…We have long had customers all over the world.  After the merger, we will be able to offer something that no one else can.”

Echobot offers German and English-language Sales Triggers.