The merger of Attraqt’s FredHopper search and merchandising platform with Early Birds’ personalization solution may be the beginning of a consolidation phase for French and European martech start-ups.
The British retail tech Attraqt announces that it is about to acquire French Early Birds for 15.89 million euros, 80% in cash and 20% in shares. To finance the transaction and future growth, Attraqt, listed, issued 17.1 million pounds sterling (20 million euros) of new shares. Founded in 2009 and acquirer in 2017 of its (largest) Dutch competitor FredHopper for 25 million pounds, Attraqt publishes a search and merchandising platform for e-merchants. One foot in London and the other in Amsterdam, it also has offices in Germany, Bulgaria, Australia, and the United States. The company, led by Luke McKeever, employs 130 people and claims 240 corporate clients (Asos, Waitrose, Vans, Paul Smith, Misguided, JD Sports, Selfridges …) Its 2018 turnover amounts to 17.
1 million pounds (+ 10%), a steady ARR of 16 million pounds and Ebidta just in equilibrium. For its part, Early Birds, 26 employees, founded in 2012 by Laetitia Comès-Bancaud and Nicolas Mathon and launched commercially in 2015, provides its customization solution to 70 customers (Cdiscount, Fnac Darty, La Redoute, Boulanger, La Fourchette …) , mostly French but present in 28 countries. “We know, for each visitor, to identify and present the products or contents with which he has the most appetite,” explains Laetitia Comès-Bancaud, “we collect the data, feed our algorithms, and return these product recommendations to all our customers. channels of the merchant: site, application, emails, tablets sellers in store, call center … “With a particularity: the company proposes, in fact, a whole library of algorithms including, besides his, third algos, algos open source, and Algos developed by some customers with their own data scientists.
“Distributors, more and more mature in terms of data, also see that their differentiation cannot come only from a black box solution that all would use, so they can use our platform as an algorithmic platform and come adding specific algos to address their brand issues, we offer them all the tools to test, measure and optimize their strategies. This open approach has contributed a lot to make Early Birds the leader in personalization in France “, says the leader. Its 2018 sales amounted to 2.3 million euros (+ 64% in one year) and its ARR, to 3.6 million euros in March 2019, should exceed 4. Also 9 million in the end year. Building a unique product The obvious reasons for the merger of the two companies lie in their complementarity, both geographical and functional. “We are bringing France, which is Europe’s second largest e-commerce market, and we are going to take over the development of Southern Europe, while Attraqt is bringing in the UK, a very complicated market to penetrate,” says Laetitia Comès-Bancaud. Product side, Attraqt, which is already customization but without artificial intelligence, will, with Early Birds, go a real milestone. The Frenchie handles 152 million product references, manages 1.
8 billion calls per month, provides 58 million recommendations per day, for an average response time of 62.8ms. But beyond these complementarities, the two actors aim above all to build a unique product, with an extended functional scope. “There is a lot of ‘small’ martech best-in-class solutions, but they do not communicate with each other and are so numerous that customers can no longer integrate them,” says the entrepreneur. solutions whose bricks make up a very complete set on paper, but in reality operate in silos. The merchants are waiting for intermediary actors capable of providing them with a truly integrated product. ” Which, for their part, may also respond to more calls for tenders. Even if this is only the second martech acquisition of this type in France after the acquisition of Mazeberry by Ysance in September 2018 (which already opened the door to a build-up!), So we take little risk to read the beginning of a consolidation phase. Some actors are certainly engaged in a solo race in the growth financed by very big levées, to get an IPO. But in others, some imagine best-in-class combinations of value, some are already for sale, and some are likely to disappear.
Laetitia Comès-Bancaud rejoices, therefore: “To be the one who gives the signal of the consolidation is a good thing because it is quite logical that the best ones are made to buy the first ones”. And above all, the adventure continues. Early Birds retains its name in France and its two co-founders join Attraqt’s Comex for at least two years – one as VP Sales Southern Europe, the other as VP Data and IA – and the integration of the two companies will to be able to start. “A few months ago, we started to operate the two platforms with each other at a client’s house and it’s going very well,” says the CEO, “and in March we signed The Kooples together. solutions is already achieved. “Concretely? Take a fashion merchant site. Attraqt’s main product, FredHopper, allows him to create, but by hand, the business rules by which he will display on the front line the shirts with the best margins, in the second line the shirts delivered the fastest. Brick Early Birds already allows him to automate the rest of the ranking based on the visitor’s appetite for his articles. “And of course, we have a whole roadmap to fully integrate our products, step by step, to the back office.” A rapprochement made possible by the fact that the start-up, which since its inception has raised just over 5 million euros, had at the time resorted not to VCs but to a family office, she believes: ” Arts et biens has given us the flexibility to make today’s operation a reality, choose a buyer whose vision we share and a project we are proud to embark on.
“Attraqt and Early Birds already anticipate, once their successful integration, to conclude other acquisitions? “We are thinking of training a player whose size of the functional perimeter is currently optimal, between small and very large solutions, so no buy-back project is on the agenda and in the future, we will simply strive to ‘evolve according to the needs of our customers,’ concludes Laetitia ComèsBancaud. In the meantime, the personalization market promises to be particularly buoyant, because it is key to stand out in a sector that is increasingly fought over. According to Forrester Research, in 2019, 89% of digital professionals plan to invest in personalizing the customer experience and 77% of consumers say they have chosen, recommended or bought more from a brand that provides a service or a personalized experience. A survey conducted this year by Monetate confirms that 24% of European retailers have already invested in machine learning to make personalization and 52% intend to do so this year.