Marketo buys into social marketing with Crowd Factory

Contact: Brenon Daly

Announcing its first-ever acquisition, Marketo said Wednesday that it is picking up Crowd Factory. The deal adds Crowd Factory’s social campaign management technology to Marketo’s marketing automation platform, expanding the distribution of marketing pitches to social channels such as Facebook pages and Twitter.

Although terms weren’t disclosed, we imagine that this was a small technology tuck-in. As we understand it, Crowd Factory was planning on raising a new round of financing of about $10m, but instead took the offer from Marketo. (Crowd Factory had already raised money from Storm Ventures, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Peninsula Ventures.) Our understanding is that Crowd Factory generated a little more than $1m in 2011 (with just two sales people) and was planning on tripling revenue this year.

For Marketo, this purchase rounds out its platform, adding cross-channel capabilities as well as bringing analytics to measure returns on the sharing of social campaigns, such as sweepstakes pages. The technology additions should help the company compete in the red-hot marketing automation space, which has seen significant moves by rivals recently. ExactTarget went public last month, creating some $1.6bn in market capitalization, while Eloqua has been on file since last summer. We could certainly envision Marketo following with an IPO of its own, but probably not until it tops $50m in revenue next year.

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