Dun & Bradstreet Acquires Orb Intelligence

Dun & Bradstreet is opening up the year with a bang.  First, they announced a partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS), and then they acquired Orb Intelligence, business identity and firmographics data provider.  The acquisition follows acquisitions of Customer Data Platform Lattice Engines in July, Sales Intelligence vendor Avention (now D&B Hoovers) in 2017, and B2B DaaS vendor NetProspex (now D&B Optimizer) in 2015.  The acquisitions have helped transition Dun & Bradstreet from an old-line sales and marketing information vendor to a digital analytics and activation provider.

“The acquisition of Orb Intelligence cements our strategy to link the digital and physical worlds in the largest global repository of B2B data and to provide enriched firmographic data to customer profiles to help our clients more effectively execute campaigns to improve customer interactions and revenue returns,” said Michael Bird, President of Dun & Bradstreet’s Sales & Marketing Solutions division.  “Clients can rely on Dun & Bradstreet as the one-stop-shop for all of their data-driven, decision-making and customer engagement needs.”

Orb Intelligence employs machine language and natural language processing tools for deriving firmographic and technographic intelligence from the open web and government documents.  Their global database spans 57 million companies.  Content includes web domains, URLs, IP addresses, social networks, government ids, corporate linkage, funding, trademarks, and technographics.  Orb Intelligence has served as the “data backbone to many of today’s most well-known B2B sales, marketing and analytics organizations focused on digital marketing or sales initiatives.”

“This will be something of a shockwave for many in the ABM tech industry as Orb is an unknown ingredient in so many (in fact I would guess most) ABM MarTech platforms,” wrote B2B IQ President Liam Blackwell (Note: Blackwell is also an Orb Intelligence advisor).  “It is often used as the backbone, with the Orb number as the key for connection.  It is going to be interesting to see how D&B controls / monetizes future usage of the Orb data – this will be a major worry for some of those platforms and obviously an opportunity for other data providers.”

Orb is an original data provider and does not compile or resell data from other vendors.  Along with company profiles, the firm maintains databases on US educational facilities, government agencies and offices, and healthcare providers.

If you already use other data providers such as Dun & Bradstreet, you can increase your match rate by 10-25% by matching unmatched records onto the Orb Database.  We collect data from different sources than Dun & Bradstreet, which is why the Orb Database is often used to complement D&B data.

Orb Intelligence website (pre-acquisition marketing text)

Dun & Bradstreet listed several benefits for their customers, beginning with the ability to cross-validate data across online and offline sources.  Upgraded customer profiles will improve the depth and accuracy of business attributes for digital ABM programs and audience targeting.  Enhanced content will flow through to D&B Audience Targeting, D&B Visitor Intelligence, D&B Hoovers, and D&B Lattice for anonymous visitor match, programmatic targeting and sales outreach.

Dun & Bradstreet also sees a “measurable impact” for the combined data cloud which will simplify the connection and segmentation of audiences, the creation of artificial intelligence (AI) models, and activation of channels through the D&B Lattice Customer Data Platform (CDP), to deliver the best sales and marketing campaigns.”

The transaction closed on January 8th.  The parties did not disclose deal terms.

LinkedIn lists 17 Orb Intelligence employees, including CEO Maria Grineva, who is joining Dun & Bradstreet as a Vice President.

Terminus Acquires Sigstr

Sigstr Location Intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.
Sigstr location intelligence analyzes the strength of connections at the metro level.

ABM platform vendor Terminus acquired email analytics vendor Sigstr earlier this week.  The full 60-person Sigstr team will be joining Terminus, including CEO Bryan Wade.  Sigstr has received $11 million in funding across multiple rounds.  Sigstr’s flagship product inserts customized banner advertising in signature blocks.  In 2018, the firm launched Pulse, which tracks relationship strength based upon email opens, response times, messaging velocity, and generated calendar invitations.

“Combining our solution with the Terminus platform activates an untapped channel that changes how businesses engage with target accounts,” wrote Wade.  “We’re long-standing partners from both a technology and go-to-market perspective, making this combination a no-brainer and massive opportunity for our combined customers, and account-centric businesses everywhere looking to sharpen how they engage across the entire customer lifecycle.”

The merged company will be able to “determine their best-fit segments, prioritize accounts, and identify the next-best-action for execution.” Terminus can now align account-based messaging across the full lifecycle, prioritize accounts and assess buying team interactions, and integrate ABM messaging with employee email marketing.

“[Pulse] Relationship data adds a rich 1st-party piece of intelligence to your account-based efforts.  To deliver this information, Sigstr uses its proprietary Relationship Score, which analyzes the email and calendar interactions between employees at your company and those at your customer and prospective customer accounts.  It provides detailed insights into the sentiment and strength of relationships at an account, buying team, and individual level.  Utilizing this data set alongside engagement and intent intelligence already native to the Terminus platform supercharges how your revenue teams prioritize efforts and take action.”

Bryan Brown, Terminus Chief Product Officer

“I couldn’t’ be more excited about bringing two powerhouse teams together to shape the future of B2B marketing,” said High Alpha managing partner Scott Dorsey.  “Category leaders are built around great teams and innovative products.  This team has exactly what it takes.”

Sigstr customers include AT&T, Amazon, and United Way.  Terminus was also a long-time customer.  The firm blogged that the deal was “a reflection of both our confidence in and reliance upon Sigstr as a staple of our marketing strategy.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Earlier this month, Terminus named Tim Kopp their new CEO and Chairman.  Kopp is the former CMO of ExactTarget and is a Partner of Hyde Park Ventures.  Former Terminus CEO Eric Spett continues as a member of the Board.

“Marketing and business are at a crossroads.  We’re shifting to a new frontier of automation that prioritizes more effective account targeting, engagement, and acquisition,” said Kopp.  “The emerging generation of CMOs is transitioning toward hyper-targeted campaigns and intelligent, data-driven digital marketing.  ABM has moved past marketing, and Terminus is the definitive leader powering account-based transformation and helping businesses achieve rapid, long-term growth.”

Zoominfo Files for IPO

Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 - 2017) and Debtwire (2018)
Revenue Growth Data from Inc. 5000 (2011 – 2017) and Debtwire (2018).

The day before Thanksgiving, Zoominfo began the process of filing an IPO in accordance with Rule 135 of the Securities Act.  According to the firm, “The initial public offering is expected to commence after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”

Zoominfo is profitable and has a valuation in excess of $1 billion.  The number of shares and offering price have yet to be determined. 2019 revenue is estimated to be around $350 million up approximately $100 million thisyear.

“The paperwork is a draft registration for a common stock offering.  The confidential draft filing is a mechanism built into the 2012 Jump-Start Our Business Start-Ups, or JOBS, Act, and was designed to make the IPO process for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue easier.  Companies must file information publicly 15 days prior to starting an investor roadshow or the effective date of the registration.”

Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal

Zoominfo, formerly named DiscoverOrg, has a long history of organic and inorganic growth.  It is now the number two sales intelligence service, behind only LinkedIn Sales Navigator, with around a 25% market share.  Acquisitions include Zoominfo, RainKing, NeverBounce, Komiko, and iProfile.

Zoominfo released the Zoominfo Powered by DiscoverOrg platform in September. The new platform combines the DiscoverOrg technographics, Inside Scoops (sales triggers), editorially verified bios, and top global company profiles with the Zoominfo deep contact data with emails and direct dials. New features include WebSights visitor intelligence and FormComplete web forms.

Last week, Zoominfo released Workflows, their “first data automation tool that streamlines sales and marketing activity and effectiveness by enabling customers to deliver the right message, at the right time, to the right audience.” I will be covering Workflows tomorrow.

Zoominfo offers pricing and packaging similar to its legacy offerings, helping ensure a smooth transition to their new platform.

Episerver Acquires Idio

Idio's AI Powered 1:1 Marketing Platform

Web content management vendor Episerver acquired web content personalization and analytics firm Idio.  Episerver will now be able to predict the interests and intent of buyers and deliver “hyper-relevant” content.  The combined company is able to deliver personalized content, product recommendations, product search, triggered emails and messages, and visitor intelligence.  B2B solutions span manufacturing, wholesale and distribution, technology, information services, and financial services.

“At the end of the day, people realize every digital interaction is fueled by a business selling something to them whether the sale is via a shopping cart, a service or a subscription,” said Justin Anovick, chief product officer at Episerver.  “Persuading people to act is not problematic if the business is providing something of value to them but most digital interactions are created for the masses and end up catering to no one.”

“Idio powers 1:1 digital experiences at global scale. This acquisition is the next part of our mission to help our enterprise clients serve their end customers with timely, relevant and cross-channel experiences.  The combined organization, with Episerver’s deep content and commerce expertise and Idio’s predictive and analytical capabilities, make for an exciting future for customer-centric marketers.”

Idio CEO Edward Barrow.  

Idio will continue as a standalone product but will be “merged functionally” with Episerver.

“The combined company, with the financial backing from Insight Partners, intends to aggressively grow our deployment and success teams, as well as a significant acceleration in product innovation to help marketers achieve greater value from customer-centric marketing,” blogged Idio.

No financial terms were disclosed as both companies are private.

Note: Idio slide courtesy of Idio.

Zoominfo Acquires Komiko

Zoominfo (FKA DiscoverOrg), Acquisition History

Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendor Zoominfo acquired Redmond, WA startup Komiko.  The deal extends Zoominfo’s sales AI capabilities with CRM automation, playbooks, lead scores, and predictive analytics.  

Komiko’s analytical and recommendation tools support sales, account executives, and customer success teams.

Komiko’s AI tools are being rebranded as ZoomInfo InboxAI.

“Organizations are realizing that how they manage and leverage data is a strategic function that can accelerate or inhibit lead, pipeline, and revenue generation. While our offering is a SaaS platform for GTM, we feel ZoomInfo is in the business of helping marketing and salespeople hit their numbers. So, when we see an opportunity to build or buy additional capabilities essential to strengthen that edge — as we did with Komiko — it’s an easy decision.”

Zoominfo CEO Henry Schuck

Komiko employs machine learning and data science “to better automate CRM processes.”  InboxAI gathers contact and activity data from email inboxes and calendars and populates the CRM.  The mined intelligence also triggers alerts and generates “analytics essential to supporting renewals, managing new business pipelines, and more.”

Komiko offers a “data-driven platform” which helps reps understand the likelihood of each opportunity closing.  The platform also captures all customer-facing interactions and contacts.  Komiko claims to “make it easy to see who is interacting with the customer and what activities are taking place.”

Komiko data includes the strength of connection with each account (k-score), the relationship of contacts at accounts, the last communication with the account (outbound or inbound), and key contacts at existing accounts.

Komiko integrates sales playbooks into the CRM and recommends when to deploy them.

Current customers will continue to receive the Komiko service with no changes in support or service.

InboxAI is already deployed at Zoominfo.  The firm discovered 60,000 records that had not been logged into Salesforce.  “We found a number of accounts where we were only talking to one buyer – when we know that we need four buyers engaged to get across the finish line. InboxAI not only completes our CRM, [but] it gives us the visibility we need to push the right opportunities at the right time,” said Zoominfo CRO Chris Hays.

Komiko functionality will be integrated into the recently launched Zoominfo powered by DiscoverOrg platform.

Komiko is GDPR compliant and qualifies as a data processor.  It supports the right to be forgotten through a blacklist of blocked emails.  The system also deletes any historical emails related to blacklisted emails.

Komiko does not monitor internal emails and includes an external blacklist for blocked processing.  Thus, HR, Payroll, Board, and Legal department communications will not be ingested.  Komiko does not add Salesforce accounts but employs Salesforce accounts as a whitelist.

Komiko also positions itself as a “dynamic coaching” service which goes beyond informal or “formal, random” processes:

Dynamic coaching is not just a buzz word. It has been proven that taking this approach makes a big impact on win rates. Since taking the dynamic path means defining a formal process combined with your CRM to monitor, evaluate and support your coaching processes…Komiko builds playbooks based on your definition of success, the accounts segments you identify and the input from email capture and CRM. Your playbooks will outline actions that drove success in the past. Each recommended action will include recommended target and its weight (significance) to the overall success. Komiko will enhance your team’s efficiency by triggering call-to-actions based on the customer profile and playbook in real-time.

Komiko website

Komiko claims that clients can “get up and running” within 24 hours after only 30 minutes of work.  They support “customers of all sizes” across software, healthcare, distribution, professional services, and insurance.  Clients include Adecco, Tata Communications, Pemco Insurance, and Chorus.ai.

Terms of the deal were not released.  

How Komiko works

Komiko was founded in 2015 by former Microsoft engineers Hal Howard and Ami Heitner.  Owler lists Komiko’s revenue at $3 million.  However, marketing activity (blogs, LinkedIn) seems to have slowed around three months ago, indicating a firm that was reserving cash for a managed exit.

Komiko has 60 customers and expects to double the count by the end of the year.

According to Komiko CEO Howard, “We want our product to be seen by millions of people.  Our choices were we could take an additional round of venture funding and build our market, or partner with ZoomInfo and use an already-existing go-to-market.  This was the fastest path to that market and to millions of customers.”

“Combining Komiko’s machine learning chops with ZoomInfo’s data pipeline creates a much stronger value proposition than either company could have offered independently, so the combination makes a ton of sense for both,” said Chris DeVore, managing partner at Founders’ Co-op, Komiko’s Seed Round lead investor.

“Everybody dreams of the unicorn exit. And those are all well and good, but the goal of every technology innovator is to get your technology in the hands of as many people as possible,” Howard told GeekWire.

Zoominfo has over 1,100 employees and more than $300 million in revenues.

SalesLoft Acquires Costello

Costello Dashboard within SalesLoft

Sales engagement vendor SalesLoft acquired Costello earlier this week.  Costello, which describes itself as an opportunity management software company, supports quick deal updates, guided selling playbooks, pipeline collaboration, and real-time CRM sync.  Other features include deal management, dashboards, and dynamic note-taking.

SalesLoft said that the acquisition “furthers SalesLoft’s mission to help account executives not only prospect and build pipeline, but manage their day and their deals, from creation through close.”

“Combining Costello and SalesLoft gives all sellers, whether they’re pipeline builders, closers, or responsible for upsells and renewals, a platform to deliver the ultimate buyer experience and close more revenue.  Sales engagement is now the place all reps can start and end their days,” said SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter.

“Sales Engagement isn’t just about generating pipeline.  It is about all the people who engage with customers and prospects throughout their journey.  We are working with our customers to constantly evolve what sales engagement can do for them.  It now represents the complete workflow application for sellers.  It’s a giant leap towards solving the sales challenges I hear from revenue leaders all the time.”

SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

Costello has been available as a SalesLoft application partner since last year.  “The companies will continue to support existing Costello customers, invest and enhance product capabilities, and natively integrate Costello capabilities into the SalesLoft platform,” stated the firm.

Solution matrix posted by SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter

SalesLoft listed four sales challenges that are addressed by the merged company: updating opportunities, app switching, new hire account messaging, and simplified pipeline review.  

During calls, Costello acts as a “real-time co-pilot” that ensures sales reps ask key questions, handle objections, and tell relevant customer stories.

Costello displays a Deal Dashboard and Deal View from within SalesLoft for pipeline management.  Deal Status elements include deal stage, days in stage, days active, and deal amount.  Costello also calls out Deal Gaps (missing deal fields, days past due), Stakeholders (buyers’ circle with roles and concerns), Call Summary with notes, and a deal timeline.

Costello is SalesLoft’s second acquisition.  They previously acquired NoteNinja which served as the basis for their meeting scheduling and intelligence functionality.  SalesLoft plans to natively integrate Costello functionality into the SalesLoft platform while investing and enhancing product capabilities.

SalesLoft supports over 2,300 companies and has grown revenue 1,000 percent over the past three years.  The firm has 450 employees.

“Sales Engagement platforms have started to make significant progress with sales organizations.  When we look across our dataset of high-growth early-adopters, 69% are leveraging a Sales Engagement platform today. As the sales engagement platform market looks to expand to the more widespread market of sales reps, we expect the platform’s feature set will also expand beyond traditional prospecting channels to serve all the day-to-day needs of the sales rep including enablement, planning and forecasting and productivity.”

Craig Rosenberg, Co-founder and Chief Analyst of TOPO

Financial details were not disclosed.

Drift & Cognism Make LinkedIn’s Hot Companies List

How Drift Automation Works (Source: Drift)

Congratulations to conversational marketing vendor Drift and sales intelligence vendor Cognism for making LinkedIn’s Top Startups: Hottest Companies to Work for Now lists.  

Boston-based Drift was ranked 46 in the US.  The firm has grown from 65 employees to 280 over the past year and plans to “double down” on its product and sales teams.

Yesterday, at their Hypergrowth conference, Drift announced the acquisition of Giant Otter, an AI and machine learning company, and the launch of Drift Automation.

Drift Automation understands the specific context of what someone is asking and can engage in conversations that go in a variety of directions. For the first time, this puts the customer is in control of the conversation — not the chatbot.

Lacey Berrien, Drift Senior Manager, Public Relations

Drift co-founder Elias Torres was impressed by Giant Otter which is based on research led by Dr. Jeff Orkin at the MIT Media Lab.

“When I met Jeff Orkin and he showed me what Giant Otter could do, I knew that I had seen the future of marketing automation,” said Torres. “We’ve been working on Drift Automation behind the scenes with early customers who have been seeing incredible results — including improvements in inbound sales velocity, pipeline and revenue growth, time back for the marketing team, and the ability to put the customer in control of the buying experience.”  

Cognism Refresh
Cognism Refresh

London-based Cognism was ranked 21 on the UK list with plans to open offices in the US and Singapore and triple its headcount to around 200 over the next year. Cognism products include

  • Cognism Prospector for lead list building, prospect research, and prospect/account current awareness.
  • Cognism Refresh for CRM data maintenance and enrichment.
  • Cognism Wealth list building and TAM analysis for financial services firms and wealth managers.

Cognism closed on its Series B back in July. According to CEO James Isilay, the firm has already “won significant business remotely” in both regions. Isilay noted that Asia is a particularly compelling market due to SaaS being relatively immature in the region.

Cognism is hosting its first RevenueAI user conference at the Science Museum London on 19 September. I will be speaking on Trends in Sales and Marketing Intelligence at the conference.

Breaking News: Leadspace Acquires ReachForce

Customer Data Platform vendor Leadspace acquired B2B Hygiene vendor ReachForce.  The two firms offer complementary functionality with ReachForce adding webforms (SmartForms) and a continuous data quality platform (SmartSuite) to Leadspace’s CDP.

Leadspace plans to merge SmartSuite into their CDP over the next six months. SmartForms will become an “activation product” for Leadspace.

“ReachForce is a well-respected brand with an experienced team in the B2B marketing tech space,” stated Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher.  “We’ve known them, and competed against them, over the years, so we’re excited to be joining forces now to move the B2B CDP space even further.”

ReachForce will maintain its Austin office and staff while LeadSpace will continue to operate in Hod Hasharon, Israel, and San Francisco.

Reachforce SmartSuite Customer Data Management processes.

The Reachforce SmartSuite provides real-time and continuous data quality management.  Features include B2B data match and enrich; data standardization; de-duplication; email, phone, and address verification; data health reports; CRM and MAP connectors; and contact prospecting at target accounts.

ReachForce has its best-in-class SmartForms product, which is a key way that customers build an understanding of their customers, as well as SmartSuite, which provides a real-time data cleansing and management service. Combined with Leadspace’s best-in-class B2B customer data platform, there is a definite complementary and additive effect. SmartForms will become one of the activation products for Leadspace, and we will work over the next [several] months to combine the best of both data management platforms to provide a single end-to-end solution for B2B CDP. 

Leadspace CEO Doug Bewsher

The Reachforce acquisition follows shortly after Dun & Bradstreet acquired Lattice Engines.  Both Dun & Bradstreet and Leadspace now offer a CDP alongside a data quality hub, digital advertising, visitor intelligence, and CRM/MAP connectors:

Dun & Bradstreet / Leadspace Product Line Comparison (© GZ Consulting 2019)

Forrester’s Q2 2019 Wave report on B2B Customer Data Platforms placed Lattice Engines and Leadspace in the leader category with both holding the highest scores in strategy and Lattice Engines being ranked slightly higher for their current offering.

Prior to the acquisition, the Dun & Bradstreet CDP (D&B DataVision) was ranked a strong performer. The dual acquisitions help the vendors extend their leadership in the CDP space and increase the likelihood of additional consolidation within the B2B Customer Data Platform segment.

Leadspace did not disclose the acquisition price. Acquisition discussions began earlier this year.

DiscoverOrg’s NeverBounce Acquisition

The DiscoverOrg acquisition of NeverBounce was in the works for six months and began with DiscoverOrg’s search for a verification vendor that could better handle large scale processing.  “It’s a core competency we wanted to own,” said DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Schuck.

DiscoverOrg is retaining the NeverBounce team of fifteen, but shuttering its smaller Salt Lake City office with employees being relocated to Cleveland. The acquisition was announced on March 5th.

NeverBounce 2018 revenue was $4 million and included both B2B and B2C marketing file enhancement revenues.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

NeverBounce will continue as both a standalone offering and be integrated into the merged DiscoverOrg / Zoominfo platform.  The combined platform is planned for launch in five months.

“When we made the ZoomInfo acquisitions, the promise was that this would strengthen differentiators around the quality of data we deliver.  The NeverBounce acquisition is a very clear incremental addition to that value.  It helps us enhance the quality of information we deliver immediately.”


DiscoverOrg President Katie Bullard

If you count Zoominfo’s September acquisition of Datanyze, DiscoverOrg has acquired three companies in the past six months.  The transaction doubled the company headcount to around 1,000 employees.  But Schuck isn’t closing the door on acquisitions saying that he will be opportunistic in his approach.

“There are a lot of companies in our space that we follow,” he said.  “If the opportunity is right, we have been quick to do acquisitions.  There’s a big opportunity for consolidation in our industry so that customers don’t have to go to 19 different vendors for data and data cleansing needs.”


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