Why we joined forces with Integrate

Chris, Jeremy, Andy - Integrate and Akkroo

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Akkroo is now part of the Integrate team.

The past few months have been something of a whirlwind so I thought I’d personally take this opportunity to write about the experience and more importantly, why we’re so excited about the next chapter of the Akkroo journey. You can read the official announcement here.

 

The story so far

In July last year, I was contacted out of the blue via LinkedIn by Jeremy Bloom, CEO of Integrate.com. He was interested in what we were up to and asked if we could setup a call. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Integrate however after briefly checking out their website and then reading about Jeremy’s sporting background (the only athlete in history to ski in the Winter Olympics and also be drafted into the NFL) agreed to take a call. As captain of the school cricket 2nd XI and player/manager of Civil Service FC 4th team to back-to-back Cup wins in 2014 and 2015, I knew if nothing else we’d be able to discuss and compare our sporting successes!

We spoke a couple of weeks later at the start of August; an enjoyable conversation where we immediately hit it off, sharing views on building our respective businesses and the problems we solve for customers. Towards the end of the call, I asked Jeremy outright for his reasons for wanting a call and he was very open with me. Events and managing leads were a consistent problem they were hearing back from customers and a challenge Integrate wanted to solve. Alongside that, they had raised a significant funding round and were planning expansion into EMEA through partnerships and/or acquisition.

Acquisition. Interesting. My immediate thought was that this was too early in our journey to be considering this. My Co-Founder Andy and I had only recently raised a Series A funding round ourselves and were busy focusing on our own global growth plans. I was also just about to disappear for a couple of weeks on paternity leave for the imminent birth of my daughter.

Jeremy promptly followed up on the call and said he’d like to come over to London and visit Andy and I once I was back in action. So in October, the three of us spent a couple of days together and we enjoyed learning more about Integrate’s journey, their rapid growth over the last couple of years in particular and the scale of the problems they were solving at the top of the funnel for B2B Marketers. We shared our views on category creation and I think it’d be fair to say Andy and I were quickly convinced of the huge, global potential for “Demand Orchestration”. It was immediately clear how what we were building in Akkroo was a natural fit into the broader problems that Integrate were solving and we already shared a number of customers.

Akkroo and Integrate

Over the coming weeks, we spent more time with other members of the Integrate Exec team on visits to London; really enjoyable meetings with experienced people who were clearly highly motivated for the Integrate journey. Each occasion strengthened our feelings of alignment, both culturally and from a product and vision perspective.

Andy and I accepted the offer of visiting Integrate’s HQ in Phoenix, Arizona, for the first few days of 2019 and by the end of that trip, we both agreed – the opportunity to join forces with Integrate was one we were incredibly excited about. There was a clear feeling on both sides that by uniting, we could become an even stronger force together. After a few rounds of negotiation on the structure of the deal, we received a formal Letter of Intent.

 

Joining Forces

A key factor in our decision has been that the acquisition certainly does not signal the end for Akkroo – far from it. The entire team, including Andy and I, will continue with the backing and resources of Integrate. Our offices in London will double up as the Integrate EMEA HQ and we’re incredibly excited about the potential as our teams unite. Almost overnight, we have access to locations, teams and resources in the US that would have otherwise taken us several years to establish.

Work has already begun on integrating the two platforms, so customers on both sides can immediately benefit from flowing event leads collected via Akkroo through Integrate’s Demand Orchestration software in real-time, ensuring validated, standardised and compliant data hits their Marketing Automation and/or CRM systems.

Chris, Jeremy, Andy - Integrate and Akkroo

We’ll be hosting a Webinar on Wednesday 24th April, discussing what Akkroo + Integrate means for B2B Marketers which you can register for via this link. However, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or a member of the Akkroo team should you be interested in understanding more, particularly for Akkroo customers new to Integrate and the power of unifying the top-of-funnel through Demand Orchestration.

 

Personal Reflections

As I’ve been explaining my reasoning to our investors, and announced the news to the Akkroo Team recently, I’ve been very clear that this is not our exit, just the start of the next chapter in the Akkroo story. I truly believe that by joining forces with Integrate, our customers will hugely benefit, our team will gain amazing experience and collectively, we’ll be able to achieve even bigger goals for the business, faster. Whilst this opportunity has come earlier in our journey with Akkroo than Andy and I anticipated, we’re both incredibly excited about now joining Jeremy, Integrate and discovering what the future holds.

Akkroo

For me personally, once the big decision was made, it has been full steam ahead. The last couple of months in particular have been a case of wearing even more hats than usual; alongside trying to focus on having a strong first quarter and the re-brand of Akkroo, I’ve been through (endured?!) a steep learning curve in M&A, losing count of the hours spent on calls with legal teams and late nights however I’m genuinely delighted that we’ve reached this point and now ready to get back to work!

Huge thanks have to go to lots of people. To name a few: Jeremy & Dave Tomizuka (CFO at Integrate) for taking a truly collaborative approach to the deal, Jamie and the team at Higgs & Sons for the long hours and (very!) patiently explaining to me the ins and outs of all of the legal aspects, Gareth for his guidance throughout the process and our existing investors for their support. Of course, the Akkroo team who’ve worked so hard to date and the small number of my colleagues who’ve been working so diligently with me on the deal process and go-to-market planning. Finally, given I’ve barely seen them for the last 3 weeks, my wife Lucy and the kids for putting up with my lack of home time!

Thanks for taking the time to read this. On to the next chapter!

Chris