Up until recently, as far as sales and marketing platforms go, Infusionsoft has been a fairly well-kept secret. Yet, two weeks ago, the company landed $54 million in series C financing from Goldman Sachs, bringing its total funding to $71 million. With this new infusion of capital, the makers of a growing, SaaS sales and marketing automation platform for small businesses are now on track for a potential IPO in the next few years. In his interview with Alex Williams, Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask said that the team is building “a big, independent company that we hope will be around for decades to come … we want to be the Intuit for the sales and marketing business of a company.”
Today, it’s also become clear that, as a part of that mission, Infusionsoft has been on the hunt for potential acquisitions that will help it meet the growing demand for effective, easy-to-use social media marketing software. This morning the company announced its second acquisition, scooping up Utah-based social media marketing startup, GroSocial, for an undisclosed sum. Although we’re hearing from sources that the deal could be as high as $25 to 30 million.
Infusionsoft aims to help small businesses automate what tend to be disparate sales and marketing platforms into a single process, allowing them to use SMS to get leads and send emails to those leads on a scheduled basis, for example. Rather than using Salesforce and an independent email marketing service, Infusionsoft allows businesses to replace them with one platform in an effort to become the sales and marketing system of record for small businesses.
With the addition of GroSocial, Infusionsoft will be able to provide small business with the ability to convert the leads they generate through social media into customers. The company will integrate GroSocial with its CRM, marketing automation and eCommerce tools to let business automatically move prospects through the entire sales lifecycle.
GroSocial, which launched in late 2010, similarly tackles the SMB market, allowing organizations that lack the resources to train or hire dedicated social media teams to boost customer engagement and monetization through social media without having to stomach the high costs. The startup raised $1 million from HubSpot Co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah and HubSpot CMO Mike Volpe, as well as its existing investors back in May of last year, bringing its total funding to just under $2 million.
At the time, the company had been primarily focused on Facebook, but since then has been expanding to include other social networks in an effort to become the “Buddy Media for SMBs,” GroSocial CEO Zach Mangum told us at the time. The funding allowed the startup to build on its integrations with services like SurveyMonkey to not only design custom content for Facebook pages via drag-and-drop but collect feedback from Facebook fans and expand its offerings to small to mid-sized marketing agencies through white-label services.
By white-labeling its platform, GroSocial enabled these agencies to resell the startup’s services at a relatively affordable price point ($200/month), making it easier to recoup costs — something traditionally reserved for larger players. (To the right you can see a promotion that Degree Surf Boards created by using GroSocial.)
As a result of the acquisition, Mangum tells us that the entire team (now at over 20 employees) will remain in its Utah offices — with no firings or departures on the horizon, and the co-founders plan to stick around for at least a couple of years. Mangum will be leading the Utah office of Infusionsoft as the VP of Social Products and will join the Infusionsoft executive team.
While Mangum says that the startup had other suitors, with Infusionsoft beginning to make big strides in the market and heading towards a potential IPO, it quickly became an easy decision. What’s more, the co-founders get to see the brand and product they helped create over the last two years remain largely intact.
As for the present, the acquisition means that users will today see an Infusionsoft widget in the GroSocial app that will allow users to capture leads and trigger automatic follow-ups, while continuing to use the service to create their social media presence, schedule and post tweets and updates and engage followers and fans through promotions and contests.
Since its launch in 2010, the startup (which is led by co-founders Zach Mangum, Kevin Kirkland and Chris Wright), has grown to more than 30,000 users. The deal follows the company’s acquisition of CustomerHub — an online membership site and customer portal tool — in November 2011, and grows its team to over 370 and brings its total customer base to over 12,000.
More on the GroSocial/Infusionsoft integration here.