Salesforce's VC arm just made a 'small' investment in marketing analytics startup AppsFlyer, bumping its valuation to $2 billion

  • Marketing analytics startup AppsFlyer received a vote of confidence in the form of a small investment from Salesforce's venture capital arm, an extension to the company's $210 million Series D round earlier this year. 
  • AppsFlyer didn't say how much funding Salesforce added, but CEO Oren Kaniel told Business Insider that the company's valuation increased to $2 billion, from $1.6 billion when the Series D closed in January.
  • AppsFlyer's software collects data about how people interact with a given company online, to help that company make more informed marketing decisions.
  • The new investment builds on AppsFlyer's existing partnership with Salesforce.
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Marketing analytics company AppsFlyer just received a vote of confidence in the form of a small investment from Salesforce's venture capital arm. The investment was an extension to the company's $210 million Series D round led by General Atlantic that closed in January. 

AppsFlyer declines to disclose how much additional funding Salesforce added, but CEO Oren Kaniel told Business Insider that even though it was a "small amount" compared to the $210 million, it bumped the startup's valuation to $2 billion, from $1.6 billion when the Series D closed. The new valuation is  "impacted by Salesforce, but is not the only factor," a spokesperson said.

The startup's software collects data about how people interact with its customers online, to help those customers make more informed marketing decisions. AppsFlyer can pull data from various places where people might interact with a brand, like a website, social media, or an app, and ultimately helps its clients understand their so-called rate of return, or what they're getting out of their marketing spend. AppsFlyer also has partnerships with large companies that provide digital marketing software, like Oracle, Adobe, and, of course, Salesforce.

Salesforce Ventures' recent investment expands the existing partnership AppsFlyer had with the CRM giant. In October, the startup launched its product in Salesforce's third-party app library, allowing its tools to work in tandem with Salesforce's marketing software. This integration allows Salesforce to capture the data that AppsFlyer collects, meaning that customers can use that data to inform how they use Salesforce's email and messaging tools. 

An investment from Salesforce — the "inventor of cloud and software services" according to Kaniel — is an important signal that AppsFlyer's product is becoming more relevant than ever to help companies understand their customers. 

The startup reels in more than $200 million in annual recurring revenue, Kaniel said, and expects business to grow as the opportunity for digital marketing tools increases. AppsFlyer's tools are also focused on privacy and security, making sure its clients are complying with data collection regulations, he added.

AppsFlyer has raised over $300 million in funding since it was founded in 2011 and plans to use some of the new funding to increase hiring in 2021. 

"This market is changing rapidly," Kaniel said. It's important for the company to stay "very close to the market and understand customer needs." 

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