ePrize, In Mobile Acquisition Mode, Buys In-Venue Marketer Mozes

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Matt Wise, CEOA little more than a year after making its first mobile-centric acquisition, sweepstakes content company ePrize has made its third purchase in the smartphone marketing arena with text marketing specialist Mozes.

In an interview, ePrizes CEO Matt Wise told AdExchanger that the company is currently looking at several other potential prospects in the mobile space and expects to close another deal before the end of the second quarter, possibly with an entity in the e-commerce/showrooming area. To a somewhat lesser extent, ePrize is also considering some social media acquisitions as well.

"We're in expansion mode right now, and mobile is moving so fast, everyone needs to catch up," Wise said. "Although we’re doing a number of things with mobile organically, we also recognize the need to acquire to fill in some of the gaps more quickly."

Mozes's proposition is that it connects brands with live audiences at concerts, sporting events or through TV broadcasts through social and location-based channels like texting. Specifically, brands use Mozes’ technology platform to to "connect, collect and convert" consumers by posting messages on screens like jumbotrons. Both Mozes and ePrize bonded over shared clients like Live Nation and Coca-Cola.

In essence, the problem that Wise wants to solve is how to get consumers to share their information and to express brand affinity without having to worry about privacy issues or gathering data indirectly.

For example, when someone buys a consumer packaged good, the buyer is always anonymous, in that the seller has no idea who they are unless they use a rewards card or similar marketing tool, Wise noted. "We want to lower the bridge in the case of that anonymity, but we’re not going to do it through subversive tracking of cookies," he said "When we cross that bridge, it’s going to fundamentally change the way marketers and consumers interact."

ePrize has been working on building the tools to cross that threshold for the past 18 months, when it bought the CRM division of Apollo Data Technologies, a predictive analytics firm that examines consumer behavior and provides insights behind brand campaigns, in July 2011. It then began its mobile focus the following January, when it acquired Cellit, which combined point of sale marketing with CRM.

In between that time, ePrize itself was acquired by private equity firm Catterton Partners.

“There are two trends going on right now in digital, and one that all marketing needs to drive loyalty and consumer engagement,” said Tolman Geffs, co-president of Jordan Edmiston Group, Inc., which was the banker on the ePrize/Catterton deal, at the time of the purchase. “Big brands love mass reach advertising, but also covet the ability to engage with consumers in a two-way direction. By giving them an incentive, it closes the loop with the consumer and creates a stickier relationship.”

Terms of the Mozes purchase weren't disclosed, but seven-year-old Palo Alto-based company has raised $17.3 million. Though it has been around a while, the Mozes brand will disappear and its services folded into ePrize's features effective immediately, Wise said.

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