Feb 8, 2021 - Technology

WordPress VIP acquiring content analytics company Parse.ly

WordPress VIP and Parse.ly

WordPress VIP (WPVIP), the enterprise arm of WordPress.com, is acquiring Parse.ly, a content analytics platform that's used by thousands of digital publishers.

Why it matters: The deal is the first large enterprise software acquisition for Automattic, the parent company to WordPress.com, Tumblr and other tech platforms that enable people to publish content to the open web.

  • Automattic raised $300 million as a part of a Series D round from Salesforce Ventures in 2019, putting its valuation at $3 billion post-funding.
  • "Salesforce leading that round helped validate for us what we think is our opportunity for enterprise as a business," says WPVIP CEO Nick Gernert.

Details: The deal will bring shared benefits to the enterprise customers of both Parse.ly and WordPress VIP, of which there is overlap.

  • In a statement, the companies said that more than 800 combined enterprise customers worldwide will have access to the expanded set of capabilities — including Spotify, CNN, The Atlantic, and Slack.
  • All of Parse.ly's roughly 50 employees will join Wordpress VIP's team of 150 people. Automattic has roughly 1330 employees. Employees from both companies are and will continue to be fully distributed.
  • "We don't just have a shared mindset, but a shared philosophy of distributed and remote work," says Sachin Kamdar, Parse.ly CEO and co-founder. "We've been getting to know each other over the last few months. We have a shared vision."
  • The deal closes on Monday. Financial terms are not being disclosed.

What's in it for Wordpress VIP: In the near-term, all of WPVIP's enterprise customers will get access to Parse.ly's insights to measure and therefore improve their content, says Gernert.

  • WPVIP clients will get access to Parse.ly features, like content measurement and analytics and AI-driven content recommendations
  • "We're also excited about bringing on more product focussed people," Gernert says.
  • In the long-term, Gernert says he hopes to bring deeper commerce insights to Parse.ly to help WPVIP clients better optimize for commerce.

What's in it for Parse.ly: The deal will bring Parse.ly's team closer to the content being produced by many of its existing and potential publisher clients.

  • "We're an analytics company, but the closer we can get to the content creation process, the better intelligence we can provide," says Kamdar.
  • Parse.ly's customers will get access to the full suite of WPVIP offerings, like its global, 24/7 customer success team.
  • The deal will give Parse.ly the resources to hire at an aggressive pace. "It brings more resources to support the capabilities of our team," he adds.

The big picture: Both companies focus on providing services to companies or groups that want to publish on the open web. Publishing on the open web has become a greater focus as "walled gardens" like Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc., continue to dominate the publishing ecosystem.

  • "Our vision for this is to make our publishing software ubiquitous on the web," says Gernert. WordPress and WordPress VIP are intentionally built to be easy and flexibility to use for almost any type of web publisher. "Thats exactly how Parse.ly is built," Gernert added. "It's very user centric."
  • Kamdar notes that Parse.ly's business has transformed over the past few years as all companies started to invest in digital content and experiences. Parse.ly primarily served digital media companies, but now works across industries such as financial services, commerce, technology and travel.

Bottom line: "We want Parse.ly to provide the authoritative first-party content measurement for business content across many channels, whether that be media or corporate," said Andrew Montalenti, chief product officer and co-founder of Parse.ly.

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