MessageBird, the omnichannel cloud communications platform recently valued at $3 billion, is continuing to ramp up its M&A activity. Following last year’s acquisition of Pusher, a company that provides real-time web technologies, it is announcing that it has acquired “video-first” customer engagement platform 24sessions, and customer data platform Hull.
Terms of the two new deals aren’t being disclosed, although MessageBird founder and CEO Robert Vis tells me the three acquisitions add up to about $100 million in total, and we alreadly know that Pusher’s acquisition price was $35 million. I also understand that the 24sessions and Hull acquisitions saw both companies’ investors exit entirely.
Originally seen as a European or “rest of the world” competitor to U.S.-based Twilio — offering a cloud communications platform that supports voice, video and text capabilities all wrapped up in an API — MessageBird has since repositioned itself as an “Omnichannel Platform-as-a-Service” (OPaaS). The idea is to easily enable enterprises and medium and smaller-sized companies to communicate with customers on any channel of their choosing.
Out of the box, this includes support for WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Twitter, Line, Telegram, SMS, email and voice. Customers can start online and then move their support request or query over to a more convenient channel, such as their favourite mobile messaging app, which, of course, can go with them. It’s all part of MessageBird Vis’ big bet that the future of customer interactions is omni-channel.
To that end, the acquisition of 24sessions adds another channel: video. This, Vis tells me, is a particularly important channel where in-person interactions are being replicated digitally. However, he says it’s not just enough to have a video option — you need one that is compliant and secure. This is especially true for regulated industries such as financial services and healthcare. In addition, 24sessions is web-based, meaning that end-users aren’t required to install an app.
“Bringing a safe, secure and customizable video platform into the MessageBird family is the next step in our strategic journey,” said Vis in a statement. “Our portfolio of owned services already includes SMS, voice, email, OTT, social, live chat and push. The addition of 24sessions’ video platform gives us one of the world’s most comprehensive and powerful omnichannel offerings, and is consistent with our having end-to-end control of the stack in order to create magical experiences for our customers”.
“By joining forces with MessageBird, we’re making a leap forward in our mission to improve personal customer contact and turn it into a smooth digital experience, without losing the human touch,” adds Rutger Teunissen, CEO of 24sessions. “Video has become a more embedded, instant, intelligent, and integrated part of the omnichannel customer experience”.
However, communicating with customers more efficiently doesn’t just mean interacting with them on the channels of their choosing and building backend workflows to support this, it also requires a better understanding of the customer and the context of their query. That’s where the acquisition of Hull, based in France and the U.S., comes into play.
Described as a customer data platform (CDP), Hull’s team and technology will be deployed to create an “in-depth analytics layer” between MessageBird’s omnichannel offering and the workflow solutions it provides to customers.
“We want to empower clients to have easy, frictionless conversations with customers, so it’s crucial that we understand where those customers are and how they like to communicate,” said Vis. “To do that, it’s crucial that our platform is able to collect, unify and enrich product, marketing, and sales data and synchronize it across the workflow.”
In total, 45 staff will join from 24sessions, and 14 will join from Hull. The combined M&A brings MessageBird’s total headcount to almost 500 people across its nine hubs globally.