- Marketing technology 'unicorn' Zeta Global has acquired Boomtrain for an undisclosed sum.
- Boomtrain has developed marketing personalization capabilities using machine learning and AI-derived technologies.
- The technology will power the marketing personalization engine within ZetaHub, Zeta's flagship platform for digital marketers.
Boomtrain has developed machine learning- and AI-driven marketing system for brand marketers to more effectively manage their messaging campaigns with consumers.
Zeta is executing on its business plan of smartly acquiring the technologies to power its cloud-based suite of digital marketing solutions.
San Francisco-based Boomtrain was founded in 2012 to create a platform to assist brand marketers to more efficiently communicate with prospects and customers using its four main functional feature sets:
- Content Personalization
- Product Recommendation
- Omnichannel Marketing
- Prime Time Messaging
The company was co-founded by CTO Chris Monberg, who will become CTO at Zeta Global.
Below is a brief demo video about Boomtrain’s approach:
Boomtrain has divided its solution into six separate products, all of which are powered by its algorithm engine:
- Marketing Automation
- Onsite Recommendation
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Push
Furthermore, it has customized its offerings for the Media & Publishing and Retail verticals.
Investors in Boomtrain invested nearly $15 million in disclosed funding and included venture capital firms Sierra Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Cota Capital, Streamlined Ventures, and others.
Acquisition Terms and Rationale
Neither company disclosed the amount or terms of the transaction.
Given Zeta’s recent fundraise of $140 million and its preference for ‘team and tech’ acquisitions, the purchase price was likely below $50 million, although estimating private company transaction amounts is difficult. What could push the deal price higher would be how much Zeta wanted Boomtrain’s machine learning technology for its personalization engine.
I previously wrote about Zeta Global’s financing round in my article, Zeta Global Raises $140 Million For Acquisitions.
In that April 2017 piece, I interviewed Zeta Global CEO David Steinberg on the company’s prospects and highlighted a few relevant points regarding its M&A ambitions:
Zeta is ‘keenly interested in intriguing team and technology acquisition opportunities regardless of the size of their customer base. They have ‘typically looked outside our existing vendor base for M&A opportunities.’
Boomtrain has been in existence for five years, and its customer base includes CBS, Dow Jones and other publishing and retail clients.
For Zeta, machine learning and AI technologies have been a focus for the firm for several years. It has a number of relevant patents in the area of machine learning and says ‘Boomtrain’s technology will become the personalization engine with ZetaHub,’ its flagship digital marketing system.
As CEO Steinberg stated in the deal announcement,
My co-founder John Sculley and I believe machine learning will fuel next-generation marketing technology. This acquisition accelerates Zeta's already significant investments and achievements in machine learning to enable the world's leading brands to deliver 1:1 marketing at scale.
It seems clear from my discussions that although Zeta is picky in its acquisition process, it is not wasting any time as it assembles the technology it believes is necessary to drive the future of digital marketing.
In today’s environment, that technology is AI- and machine learning-based and relies heavily on algorithms that can adapt to user and network activity in real-time.
I expect to see additional acquisition activity from Zeta in the months ahead as the highly competitive digital advertising space continues its technology-driven advance.
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This article was written by
Donovan Jones is a research specialist with 15 years of experience identifying opportunities for IPOs and software companies.
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