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Influitive Acquires Social Inbox Startup Engagio To Aid In “Advocate Marketing” Opportunities

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Engagio, a social web platform for searching, discovering and following social conversations, has been acquired by marketing company Influitive, hot off the heels of its $7.3 million funding this past December. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the deal was a combination of cash plus stock. As a part of the acquisition, all five employees, including the founder and CEO William Mougayar, will join Influitive, where the technologies the startup developed will now be integrated into Influitive’s AdvocateHub, an advocate marketing platform.

Engagio’s tools will help with the tracking and monitoring of social conversations in the AdvocateHub.

“Advocate marketing” is the industry term which refers to process where brands and businesses try to get their fans to share their experiences across the social web. Marketers claim that peer-to-peer recommendations and real user feedback contribute to up to 50 percent of purchasing decisions today, which is why social media tools that help with this type of marketing have been embraced.

influitive-engagio3Influitive, in particular, specializes in these tools. “Our approach encourages marketers to mobilize their customers first, and get them proactively sharing their product experiences in communities, forums and social networks where buyers are likely to be gathering information as part of the purchase process,” Influitive CEO Mark Organ told TechCrunch in December. “The intent is for buyers to find authentic, user-generated content, opinions and experiences before requesting a reference call,” he said.

For those unfamiliar, Engagio previously offered something that resembled a Gmail-like inbox for social conversations. In spring 2012, it also rolled out a Chrome extension which allowed users to read their Engagio messages in a separate folder of Gmail itself. The system could integrate with social services like Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Hacker News, Tumblr, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and more, and users could share, views, and “like” the messages directly in the Engagio interface.

Mougayar, whose new role will be Chief Evangelist, Advocate Marketing, tells TechCrunch that Disqus will be the first integration point with Influitive. “Disqus has been a great partner and we are their largest developer who has done the most with their API, ” he says.

He says that he’s known Organ for over two years, starting when Organ was moonlighting at the Xtreme Labs offices while Influitive was in the early stages of development. The two stayed in touch, sharing a common bond as Canadian companies which had to turn to U.S. VCs for backing. Mougayar reached out to Organ last summer to discuss a partnership arrangement, and as such things go, those discussions later led to this idea of the merger.

Engagio had 14,000 users at the time of the acquisition, and had indexed 50 million comments from 110,000 sites and had 9 million social profiles. The company won’t make any changes immediately for its user base, with more details on a transition plan to follow shortly.

The Toronto-based startup had raised $540,000 in seed funding from Rho Canada with participation from Real Ventures, Extreme Venture Partners, Bullpen Capital, Fred Wilson, Mike Yavonditte, and other individual investors.