Unomy Acquired by WeWork

Unomy B2B Prospecting spans 6M companies and 50M contacts.
Unomy supports both B2B company and contact prospecting

I was going to address the Unomy acquisition yesterday, but DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing so Unomy was bumped to today.  This is the fourth deal in the news this week (Moody’s acquisition of Bureau van Dijk closed at the beginning of the month and Zoominfo was acquired by PE company Great Hill Partners.

The WeWork acquisition of Unomy is an out of left field deal.  WeWork has been using Unomy for the past year to assist with their sales process.  The firm is looking to integrate Unomy into its workflows to improve both close rates and pipeline velocity for their co-working offices.  WeWork views Unomy as a key dataset for expanding enterprise sales.  While the firm provides office space for companies of all sizes, they would like to expand enterprise sales beyond 30% of their monthly revenue and 20% of their membership.

“Their B2B intelligence layer will be able to help us enrich our data sets when we’re driving sales in the enterprise market,” said WeWork SVP for Digital Product Ron Gura.

For WeWork, Unomy’s platform will become the backbone of our growing internal sales platform. The Unomy software will be integrated into WeWork’s current systems and the Unomy team – now part of our Sales & Marketing and Digital Products groups – will work with our enterprise sales team to help them go to market most effectively and improve their targeting capabilities, conversion rates, and productivity. More broadly, the Unomy team will also help streamline sales processes, build robust sales intelligence infrastructure, and close member prospects for our enterprise and regional sales teams around the world.

  • Ron Gura, WeWork SVP for Digital Product

WeWork will be retaining Unomy’s staff of twenty which will operate out of a Tel Aviv office.

WeWork did not indicate whether Unomy would be available to their tenants as a free or discounted service.  WeWork offers a services store to its tenants with over forty sales and marketing partners.  Amongst the firms with partnership discounts are Salesforce, CrunchBase, and RelPro.  However, WeWork does not plan on continuing the commercial product and will phase out the Unomy service, helping to transfer clients to other sales intelligence solutions.

Unomy’s database covers 17 million global companies and over 100 million executives.

News Alert: DiscoverOrg Acquires RainKing

DO plus RK

Marketing and Sales Intelligence vendor DiscoverOrg acquired RainKing on Friday and announced it this afternoon.  Both firms employ large editorial teams for building and maintaining company and contact datasets and technology platform details (e.g. vendors, products, project plans).  This is the second acquisition of a competitor by DiscoverOrg which bought iProfile two summers ago and quickly integrated iProfile’s international coverage into the DiscoverOrg universe.

According to Inc., RainKing posted 2016 revenue of $33.9 million, up $6.9 million.  Combined, the two firms had 2016 revenue of $88.3 million and a 160% three-year growth rate.  The combined firm has an Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) in excess of $120 million.  DiscoverOrg’s 2016 end-of-year ARR was $71 million.

“The path to rapid revenue growth is paved with highly accurate, actionable, and predictive sales and marketing data, and the combination of RainKing and DiscoverOrg means that our joint customer base has access to an extraordinary portfolio of data, contextual buying insights, and predictive intelligence.  We are building a company that is to sales and marketing intelligence what Salesforce is to CRM.”

  • DiscoverOrg CEO Henry Shuck

The plan is to immediately merge their coverage into a single database delivered via both platforms.  RainKing customers will benefit from deeper coverage of non-IT execs (e.g. sales, marketing, HR, product management), the assignment of Customer Success Managers to their accounts, and access to DiscoverOrg’s TiLT training for SDRs.  DiscoverOrg users will benefit from deeper company and contact coverage, particularly in Europe, along with a larger editorial team building out and maintaining the combined database.  Both groups of customers will benefit from additional datasets in the DiscoverOrg research pipeline including a new one which will be announced in the next sixty days.

RainKing customers will continue on their current platform for at least a year until RainKing functionality is merged with that of DiscoverOrg.

The combined datasets will span over two million contacts and over 100,000 global companies.  As both firms maintain high quality data standards, DiscoverOrg’s 95% accuracy guarantee will be maintained.

The deal is a cash transaction, though DiscoverOrg did not reveal the price.

Schuck provides additional details on his vision for DiscoverOrg and the acquisition in this YouTube video:

GZ Consulting Take

I have been tracking DiscoverOrg and its CEO Henry Schuck for over a decade.  For a long time, I viewed them as a niche offering in the tech space competing against three other firms of roughly the same size (RainKing, iProfile, and SalesQuest).  Due to competition and the cost of editorial resources, I figured they would plateau in their market coverage below that of the Hoover’s editorial dataset of 43,000 companies.  With more exacting editorial standards and three direct competitors, it was difficult to see how the marginal cost of adding and maintaining the 40,000th profile was less than the marginal revenue for the 40,000th profile (Microeconomics 101 would contend that the rational firm would keep building additional profiles until MC = MR).

But I made several errors in my assumptions.  Most importantly, I built in the additional cost of editorially maintained content without properly understanding the value of the data to clients, particularly as DiscoverOrg and RainKing extended their functionality into the marketing department and added light predictive tools such as ranking and scoring of prospects.  Adding marketing and integration tools greatly increased the value of every profile within their databases and allowed clients to distribute the cost of licenses over both sales and marketing departments.  The advent of Big Data and Predictive Analytics also increased the value of high quality company and contact data within CRMs and MAPs.

DiscoverOrg and RainKing quickly outgrew their other competitors resulting in the acquisition of SalesQuest by Avention and iProfile by DiscoverOrg.  While other firms have entered the IT profiling market, they either focus on technographics (e.g. Datanyze, BuiltWith, HG Data) or remain much smaller (e.g. Corporate360).

Finally, the growth of ABM and a focus on top accounts increases the value of a top company database with rich targeting variables such as tech platforms and projects.  “As the market continues to move toward account-based engagement built on a deep understanding of buying centers, investing in high quality data has become even more critical,” opined John Donlon, Sr. Research Director at SiriusDecisions.  “Simply relying on information scraped from the web is not enough to succeed, but leveraging human-verified sales and marketing intelligence gives organizations a distinct advantage in all aspects of revenue generation.”

Initially, the merger is a win-win for the 4,000 DiscoverOrg and RainKing clients, immediately providing deeper company, contact, and technology opportunity coverage for their 70,000 clients.  It also provides a runway from which DiscoverOrg can quickly grow its coverage including RainKing’s new Federal IT dataset.  According to the firm, “Our roadmap is focused on accelerated data collection, deeper practical predictive intelligence, enhanced account-based marketing capabilities, and seamless data optimization and enrichment in CRM, marketing automation, and sales engagement tools.”

While DiscoverOrg could use the merger as an opportunity to raise prices, my guess is that prices will remain stable so that DiscoverOrg can position itself to take on sales and marketing intelligence vendors such as D&B Hoovers, InsideView, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Zoominfo.  However, if DiscoverOrg is going to become the Salesforce of sales and marketing intelligence, the firm needs to expand its non-IT content beyond executives to include strategic company and industry intelligence.  It is through the marriage of best-in-class executive intelligence (emails, direct dials, responsibilities, bios, social links, and org charts) with financials, filings, news, industry overviews, and SWOTs that DiscoverOrg will be able to go mano a mano with Dun & Bradstreet and LinkedIn in the broader sales intelligence market.  Under this scenario, DiscoverOrg can continue to build out its best-in-class content set while licensing non-core content from other vendors.

This has been a year of significant M&A activity which has reduced the number of sales intelligence datasets on the market.  Beyond DiscoverOrg/RainKing, Avention was acquired by Dun & Bradstreet to become their new D&B Hoovers platform (Dun & Bradstreet content fueling Avention’s functionality and connectors), Moody’s purchased Bureau van Dijk, Zoominfo was bought by PE firm Great Hill Partners, and Unomy was picked up by co-working company WeWork.  The result is the phase out of the old Hoovers platform, uncertainty about Bureau van Dijk’s commitment to its Mint sales platform, and the withdrawal of Unomy and RainKing from the market (they will continue on in the near term, but are no longer being marketed).  The future of Data.com is also in question as Salesforce has failed to announce a path forward for their AppExchange solution now that Dun & Bradstreet content is no longer available to new clients.

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.

Bureau van Dijk Orbis Enhancements

Bureau van Dijk announced a series of enhancements to their Orbis company research and financial analysis platform.  New or enhanced features include financial transparency, customization, batch search, improved navigation, expanded searching, and the addition of Moody’s research.

As ever, we’re creating, incorporating and rolling out features and functionality on the new Orbis interface all the time.  Each enhancement is intended to help make sure that you can take full advantage of our rich, structured data in order to carry out your research processes as efficiently and effectively as possible.

  • Bureau van Dijk CMO Louise Green

Bureau van Dijk added custom variables that are available in books (reports), chapters, an searches.  Users may also create custom books and chapters.

BvD Orbis improved-navigation-of-booksUI enhancements include improved book navigation so that users can move between chapters more easily; batch searching of company names by pasting a list of company names into the name search; expanded searching of ownership structures; free-text searching of notes; and enhanced viewing and filtering of corporate directors and advisors.  Directors are now sorted by department and filterable by role, seniority, and data source.

Users can now click on financial values to see the underlying calculations.

New premium content includes research from Moody’s Analytics spanning 9,000 company and 7,500 industry reports.  Both public and private companies and banks are covered.  The reports may be purchased using BvD credits on a pay-per-view basis.  In September, Moody’s rating announcements will be added to the service.  Other company research sources include MarketLine, Morningstar, and GlobalData.  MarketLine also provides industry market research to Bureau van Dijk products.

Finally, Bureau van Dijk added a new tax explorer premium service which flags “entities in low-tax jurisdictions.”

Bureau van Dijk also released a set of enhancements in April including original documents from aRMadillo.


Moody’s is in the midst of acquiring Bureau van Dijk.  The transaction is expected to close this month.  Moody’s CEO Raymond McDaniel said he “looks forward to further extending Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The firm has already received EU Merger Regulation approval from the European Commission.

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.”

LinkedIn Acquires Heighten for SalesTech Tools

Heighten Homepage Announcement (Post-Acquisition)
Heighten Homepage Announcement (Post-Acquisition)

LinkedIn acquired Redwood City SalesTech vendor Heighten and plans to integrate its technology into Sales Navigator. LinkedIn is looking to leverage feature sets around sales process tracking, pipeline reporting, and note taking. Last summer, LinkedIn acquired sales content sharing vendor PointDrive and recently completed the PointDrive integration into Sales Navigator.

With the announcement, Heighten immediately took down its website, but Doug Camplejohn, Head of Products for LinkedIn Sales Solutions, provided the following feature descriptions:

The sales process tracking feature allows reps and managers to take their sales playbook binder off the shelf and put it into software, making it easier to see actions and content relevant to each pipeline stage.

The sales pipeline reporting feature lets managers and reps see their current opportunities in a more efficient way, and update key opportunity fields like amount, close date, stage and next steps on a single screen, with all changes automatically written back to CRM.

Finally, the intelligent notepad makes it easy for reps to take free-form notes and rapidly move information back into their CRM system with a single click. It also gives them instant access to key deal content such as person and account profiles, collateral, and competitive battle cards. This feature brings note taking into the context of a specific sales opportunity, reduces the heavy lifting involved in CRM data entry, and gives sales reps insights on-command

It is unclear, however, which of these capabilities will be integrated into Sales Navigator. “Over the next few months, we will be evaluating which of Heighten’s features we’ll be bringing to Sales Navigator,” said Camplejohn. “I’m also excited by the caliber of talent that Heighten brings to LinkedIn.”

Heighten has a staff of ten.

“The Heighten intelligent workspace is truly unique in its ability to bring together all of the key systems salespeople rely on — CRM, calendar, email, social and delivered — in an innovative, intuitive, and user friendly way,” blogged Heighten CEO, Luke Braud. “This approach to sales productivity is a natural extension of LinkedIn’s goal to make Sales Navigator the best version of LinkedIn for Salespeople, the System of Engagement, and ultimately influence every relationship‐based sale for our customers.”

Heighten received $7.36 million in venture funding last September. The acquisition price was not disclosed.

Moody’s Acquires Bureau van Dijk

Moody’s announced this morning that they are acquiring business intelligence vendor Bureau van Dijk for €3.0 billion (approximately $3.27 billion). Moody’s stated that “the acquisition extends Moody’s position as a leader in risk data and analytical insight.”  The deal is subject to EU approval and is expected to close in Q3.

Bureau van Dijk will be acquired with approximately $1.3 billion in offshore cash and $2 billion in debt.  Bureau van Dijk will be folded into Moody’s Analytics’ Research, Data & Analytics (RD&A).

Last year, Bureau van Dijk earned $281 million (€258 million) and posted and EBITDA of $144 million (€132 million).  Bureau van Dijk has a ten-year Compound Average Growth Rate (CAGR ) of 9.3%.  The firm anticipates $45 million of annual revenue and expense synergies by 2019 and $80 million by 2021.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Bureau van Dijk offers three major product lines:

  • Orbis – Financial analysis tools spanning 220 million companies.  Information includes firmographics, public and private company financials, original documents, global family trees, shareholdings, news, and M&A research (Zephyr).  Orbis provides the deepest set of global private company financial coverage tied to very strong linkage data including minority shareholdings.  Orbis was redesigned last year with a new user interface and workflows.  The Orbis product line is also available as regional and local products such as Amadeus in Europe, Oriana in AsiaPac, and Fame in the UK.
  • Mint – Sales intelligence product line
  • Catalyst – Set of workflow tools for valuation, transfer pricing, credit analysis, wallet sizing, etc.

All three product lines leverage the Orbis global company file which is collected from 160 information partners.

“Bureau van Dijk is a high growth information aggregator and distributor that positions Moody’s at the center of a unique network of global risk data,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Moody’s. “This acquisition provides significant opportunities for Moody’s Analytics to offer complementary products, create new risk solutions and extend its reach to new and evolving market segments.”

The Bureau van Dijk customer base is split fairly evenly across 6,000 financial institutions, professional service firms, government authorities, and corporations.  Key use cases include compliance, KYC/AML, risk decisioning, purchasing, transfer pricing, B2B sales and marketing, financial analysis, and economic research.

Source: Moody's Investor Site (May 15 2017)
Source: Moody’s Investor Site (May 15 2017)

Moody’s listed a three-pronged product strategy post-acquisition:

  • Apply MA analytics to data to generate off-the-shelf financial metrics

  • Package BvD data subscriptions with MA analytical software & models

  • Enrich MIS/MA data sets with BvD’s proprietary identifiers

Moody’s will also be looking to extend Bureau van Dijk’s commercial presence beyond Europe and to non-financial customers.  The acquisition helps Moody’s extend its addressable market beyond credit to provide “Moody’s-branded scores/assessments for tax risk, transfer pricing, compliance, financial crime, [and] supply chain management.”

“Moody’s is a highly regarded, authoritative source of credit ratings and analytical tools, with a strong brand and global reach,” said Mark Schwerzel, Deputy CEO of Bureau van Dijk. “The addition of Bureau van Dijk’s powerful information platform to Moody’s Analytics’ suite of risk management solutions presents a wide range of opportunities for us to better serve our combined customer base.”

Bureau van Dijk has been owned by a series of private equity firms with EQT acquiring the firm from Charterhouse Capital Partners in September 2014.  At the time, the sale price was not disclosed.  Charterhouse acquired Bureau van Dijk in 2011 from BC Partners for €960m.

EQT noted the following areas of investment during its ownership period:

  • Development of the organisational structure to prepare for further growth

  • Investments in the sales organization, including the introduction of a matrix sales structure, implementation of a global CRM system, and expansion of the salesforce

  • Strong focus on the development of new products and continued improvement of existing ones, e.g. the launch of a new user interface

  • Substantial investments in marketing and corporate branding