Kibo Buys Monetate In Its Vista-Backed Bid To Be The Next Ecom Cloud

The ecommerce technology company Kibo is acquiring Monetate, a brand personalization and content optimization startup, the company announced on Thursday.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Monetate had raised $46 million since 2008.

Kibo was launched in 2016 when Vista Equity Partners, a leading mar tech private equity fund, bought and consolidated three ecommerce software companies – Fiverun, MarketLive and Shopatron – into a new ecommerce cloud platform.

After going heads down for a few years, Kibo reemerged on the M&A scene with its acquisition in February of Certona, a retail and marketer product recommendation and personalization startup. Monetate marks its second deal in 2019.

“This is part of a longer strategic plan,” said Meyar Sheik, Kibo’s chief commerce officer and former CEO of Certona. “The vision is to create the most compelling end-to-end platform for personalized commerce and customer journey orchestration.”

Sheik said the acquisition of Monetate is particularly important because it brings the company further into ecommerce advertising. Monetate has audience building and targeting products, as well as a familiar UI for marketers and agencies. That should help expand Kibo’s suite beyond the retailers and merchandisers who mostly use it today.

The ecommerce tech market is already firmly consolidated within the top three cloud suites. The space is dominated by Salesforce, Oracle and Adobe, which bought Magento last year to create the Adobe Commerce Cloud.

But Kibo is pursuing a different cloud opportunity centered on commerce and retail, Sheik said.

And although Shopify has grown considerably with individual merchants and online sellers, there’s still limited competition for enterprise retail and marketing accounts, he said. IBM divested its marketing and ecommerce cloud to a private equity company this year.

Kibo’s subsidiaries can still be used independently as standalone products, and the brand names won’t be folded into holistic cloud platforms, as is often the case with the cloud biggies like Adobe or Salesforce.

The reason most retailers and brands with large ecommerce businesses typically end up consolidating on one platform is because of the data and pricing improvements they get when the products are connected by the cloud provider on the back end, Sheik said.

“All of us providers have to be client-centric and partner with each other,” he said. “We won’t force a client to take everything in the Kibo suite.”

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