Optimizely acquires Experiment Engine to offer more collaboration tools for big companies

While Optimizely has bought other startups before, co-founder and CEO Dan Siroker said today is the first time it’s acquiring a startup built on Optimizely’s developer platform — namely, Experiment Engine.

Experiment Engine describes itself as “the most comprehensive, easy-to-use conversion optimization platform,” which might make it sound similar to Optimizely itself. But Siroker (pictured above) explained that the startup has actually built collaboration and project management tools to support Optimizely’s core features (which allow marketers and developers to test out different variations in a website or app).

Those are the kinds of tools that larger companies need if they want to run “tens of thousands of experiments a year” — something that Siroker said became apparent as Optimizely worked with Experiment Engine to serve some of their shared customers.

For example, he said that while Optimizely can help businesses test out different ideas, the ideas themselves are often recorded on an “ad hoc basis” in products like Google Docs. So Experiment Engine has created tools that make it easier to record and prioritize ideas based on the data that’s already available.

Other Experiment Engine features include reporting and analyzing the data from those experiments, and sharing that analysis across teams.

“What we see today is that most of our customers have many more ideas than they have the resources or time to actually bring them to life,” Siroker said. “Now they can more effectively test … and be more collaborative in that process. This is an investment in our core customers.”

Founded in 2014, Experiment Engine raised seed funding from investors including Corsa Ventures, Founder Collective, Mercury Fund and Right Side Capital Management. It also participated in the TechStars Austin incubator program.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The plan is to fully integrate Experiment Engine into the Optimizely platform over the next few months, with founder and CEO Claire Vo joining Optimizely, along with “several” members of the Experiment Engine team.

Siroker added that this acquisition was partly a response to “market forces,” specifically “this thirst and this hunger” for experimentation from larger companies.

“We didn’t invent the scientific method, nor do we claim to do that,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is democratize it.”