French social data intelligence company Linkfluence has raised 18 million euros and is expanding its operations with the acquisition of content curation pioneer Scoop.it.
While Scoop.it probably rings a bell among content marketing experts across the globe, Linkfluence might not yet (the company is strong in Europe and Asia). Expect that to change.
France-born Guillaume Decugis, CEO and co-founder at Scoop.it, who launched the platform end 2011 and works and lives in California (where he studied at Stanford University, launched other start-ups and where Scoop.it is headquartered) joins Linkfluence as its new CEO.
For Linkfluence it’s a big step into the US market where and with serial entrepreneur Decugis and Scoop.it the French company is immediately in the center of the action: Silicon Valley. Yet, the acquisition is about more than that.
Scoop.it started as a content curation platform with a free version and paid options as is still the case. We’ve covered the platform when it started and still have a Plus account although not using it that much anymore (another story). Gradually Scoop.it came with more features and at the same time went more in the direction of larger organizations as the latter discovered the power of content marketing. The result was Scoop.it Content Director that offers far more features and enables building content hubs, to just mention one possibility.
End 2017 Scoop.it announced its Content Intelligence solution Hawkeye. In a nutshell: artificial intelligence (AI) to leverage far more insights for marketers in this day and age of data-driven marketing, big data and ever more unstructured data in various forms and from various sources in marketing and all front-end and customer-facing functions (essentially where AI comes in; to make sense of it all, gather intelligence and drive decisions).
Now, take the AI and other technologies used by Scoop.it enabling content intelligence, the crawling of sources, the curating and social sharing of content and so forth and you get pretty close to what social monitoring platforms such as Linkfluence are doing with the sole difference really being what they analyze and why.
So, this acquisition is, among others, also about technological know-how, the math, algorithms and so on behind the applications and the R&D. And that is precisely how Guillaume Decugis explains the scope of this acquisition, along with the previously mentioned fact that Linkfluence this way gains an important presence in the US, in the blog post announcing the deal. According to Decugis the acquisition will increase the technology bandwidth by close to 50% by combining the engineering teams.
Deriving value at scale from social data: software and services
Linkfluence, which was founded end 2016, is already present in Europe (France, the UK and Germany) and Asia (China and Singapore) with a strong market position.
The D Series funding of 18 million euros ($21 million) is the seventh for the social listening platform firm. It was backed by European late-stage funds Ring Capital and Tikehau Capital. In 2016 Linkfluence, which has customers such as Danone, Orange, LVMH, Dyson, Publicis, Total, Sanofi and McDonalds, raised €12m in a Series C round, backed by among others BNP Paribas.
In 2017, the company launched Linkfluence Search, providing access to social data, leveraging algorithms and AI to detect patterns and enable brands to act fast. It also announced a partnership with social media marketing company and platform Spredfast which we covered when it launched back in 2008 and recently merged with Lithium. The goal of that collaboration: well, data of course. And that’s what it’s all about these days. Linkfluence’s official mission: “bringing consumer insights to global brands through social listening”.
In a video (external link) where Decugis and Joei Chan (Linkfluence Head of Content), who also wrote about the acquisition share more information, Decugis emphasizes that it’s the largest round in the social listening industry for three years and that the fact that growth stage and private equity funds come on board doesn’t just mean a change in scale for Linkfluence but also represents a big milestone for the industry.
Asked about the reason why he joins Linkfluence as the new CEO by Chan, Decugis, who has served Linkfluence before, points to the fact that the French company has been doing a great job in focusing on large global brands in a changing landscape.
Decugis: “When I look at marketing technology, there’s a lot of areas where software is not enough, and you have to combine the best technology with services for these large global brands to really derive value from it, really scale and get the value out of social data”.
In the Summer of 2018, Forrester added Linkfluence to its “The Forrester Wave™: Social Listening Platforms, Q3 2018 – The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up“.
Linkfluence employs over 200 people and, as part of the acquisition announcement, says it is hiring in its – now – 6 offices across the globe.
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