BloomReach shoots for more complete digital experience with Hippo acquisition

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BloomReach, which helps ecommerce companies personalize buying experiences using data and algorithms, announced today that it was acquiring Amsterdam-based web content management vendor, Hippo for an undisclosed amount.

It’s an interesting deal in that it brings together a company that offers personalization and optimization in an ecommerce context with one that helps manage web content and more generalized digital experiences beyond just ecommerce, giving the combined company a more complete offering.

“This is about building the next generation digital experience platform, a platform you can build any experience, website or app on,” BloomReach cofounder and CEO Raj De Datta told TechCrunch.

While web content management has been focusing over the last several years on the idea of personalized content, delivering on that vision has proven more difficult. The idea is that you should know your user and deliver content that matters to each visitor. The combined resources of these two companies could help bring that closer to reality.

Jeroen Verberg, co-founder and CEO at Hippo certainly sees the potential. “We’ve been focused on building relevant web experiences. We can leverage data and machine learning in [BloomReach’s] products to drive know-how deep into our product,” he said.

Verberg said he wasn’t shopping the company, but he has had lots of conversations and when BloomReach came along, he liked the idea of being acquired by a startup, rather than being swallowed up by a larger organization. It also helped the technology from the two companies were complimentary, but didn’t necessarily overlap in a direct way.

In the near term Hippo will operate under its own brand as a BloomReach company with the two companies combining in a more official way in 2017 with content and commerce businesses under one umbrella. While the companies wouldn’t comment on how long the Hippo management team was contractually obligated to remain with BloomReach after the purchase, it is worth noting that Verberg is joining the BloomReach board of directors as part of the deal.

This was not the first acquisition for the company. BloomReach acquired ShopLogic in 2013, but De Datta acknowledged as a startup that he had to work closely with his investors and Board of Directors before pulling the trigger on today’s deal.

With the acquisition, which has already closed, the company has 300 employees — Hippo’s 100 person operation combined with BloomReach’s 200 employees. The acquisition not only provides BloomReach with Hippo’s web content management technology, it also gets a strong presence in Europe to combine with its existing office in London. Hippo also has a strong North American presence with an office in Boston.

BloomReach launched in 2009 and has raised $97 million. The most recent round was a $56 million Series D last January.