Upland Software acquires BlueVenn marketing automation CDP

Upland Software this week completed the acquisition of BlueVenn, a customer data platform focused on marketing automation, for $54.3 million in cash.

Upland hosts over 20 cloud applications for a variety of business tasks, including document management, voice of the customer, email and mobile marketing, RFP response, and CRM phone integration. BlueVenn was a highly regarded mid-sized CDP, said David Raab, founder of the CDP Institute.

BlueVenn has been an Upland Software partner for seven years and its CDP dates back to the early days of the software category. Upland, which is based in Austin, Texas, plans to integrate CDP into its tools to allow users to engage customers through email, SMS, mobile and web channels.

“[Upland] has a whole bunch of products, including a set of customer experience tools,” Raab said. “BlueVenn is highly integrable. Everyone wants to be a platform, and CDP is just table stakes.”

Raab compared Upland Software’s move to other recent acquisitions of what he calls “campaign CDPs,” or marketing-centric CDPs, as software companies bet marketers want integrated suites. rather than creating their own collections of marketing tools, which has been customary for the past decade. Upland and BlueVenn will likely appeal to small and medium-sized businesses, he added.

Everyone wants to be a platform, and CDP is just table stakes.

David RababFounder, CDP Institute

Other examples of such platform-building acquisitions include Algonomy — a merger between personalization platform RichRelevance and the Manthan CDP — Twilio buying Segment, and e-commerce company Bloomreach buying the Exponea CDP, Raab said.

Upland expands through acquisition

Jack McDonald, CEO of Upland Software, began his career as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and built the company through an aggressive acquisition strategy. The company went public in 2014 and claims one million users worldwide.

Recent acquisitions reflect a distinct penchant for sales and marketing: Upland bought Localytics, a mobile app personalization, analytics and sentiment analysis company, in February for $68.1 million; Second Street, an audience engagement platform that offers quizzes, contests and sweepstakes in January for $30.4 million; and Altify, a revenue optimization platform that connects business and financial services, in October 2019 for $84 million.

The CDP market is changing. On the one hand, a proliferation of CDPs from vendors large and small gives marketers and data management buyers a wide variety of customer data tools to choose from. Still, a wave of mergers is causing some of those picks to come with a sequel, complicating the decision. Regardless of how the market shakes, Raab said, it’s unlikely to pull back from consolidation, just yet.

“There is clearly some consolidation going on as mid-range companies need to come together,” Raab said. “But there are still more companies coming in and the industry is growing – we’re not going to run out of CDP providers anytime soon.”