What a Growth-Focused MarTech Acquisition Looks Like?


Recently, Mynewsdek had acquired Mention to further strengthen brand value in Martech. We spoke to Mattias Malmstrom, CEO at Mynewsdesk and Matthieu Vaxelaire, CEO, Mention to further know about their joint plans to accelerate into Marketing Technology space.

How did you plan the MarTech acquisition? What do your product and overall business roadmap look like for Marketing Technology customers?

Mattias: Mynewsdesk is a European / Nordic market leader in PR workflow SaaS. The MarTech acquisition of Mention was not an opportunistic hedge but the result of a year-long project where we analyzed over 1,000 companies across monitoring, analytics, content creation, and distribution.

This analysis resulted in a short list of companies where we held in-depth conversations with exec teams and investors to explore if there was a cultural and strategic fit between the organizations and evaluate whether teaming up and creating a global leader together was a better idea than going alone.

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Following meetings in San Francisco, Paris and Stockholm it soon became clear that the Mention team, technology, and business model was our favored option.

Matt: In terms of the product and business roadmap, we want to continue to deliver two outstanding products in PR workflow (Mynewsdesk) and web and social listening (Mention) within one business. The combined business has over 850,000 users in over 125 countries so it is a truly global business. You can expect that we will broaden the product but with a laser focus on our customer persona which is the medium and small business marketer that needs to be better online.

What’s the most exciting aspect of being a part of the Media Intelligence ecosystem?

Mattias: There are so many things that are exciting about being part of this industry. If I had to sum what excited me in two words it would be change and value. The industry is changing so quickly in terms of the channels that our customers need to listen to, the amount of data that is being produced in these channels and the opportunities to analyze this data.

Matt: On the value side of things, listening to what is being said about your brand, industry, and products have never been more important.

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Businesses that will succeed going forward, including our own, are the ones that can make rapid and data/evidence-based decisions. This means that tools like ours are becoming much more valuable inside organizations of all sizes. No longer are they just the reporting tools of PR departments but are in demand by every individual and business unit that needs to listen to and analyze what is being said and recommend actions based on this data.

What does the transition look like for Mention and their product team post this MarTech acquisition? How would they add value to Mynewsdesk’s product suite?

Mattias: This is a growth-focused acquisition which means that very little will change for the current Mention team. The Mention HQ in Paris has become a secondary HQ alongside Stockholm, for the entire company and the Mention product team will be focused on continuing to execute on their current roadmap which is really exciting.

This will add even greater technology and insights to the Mynewsdesk monitoring and analytics offering which is one of the most heavily used features in our product suite.

Matt: I guess the main change for Mention will be access to greater resources in terms of a sales organization that can truly work with the over 10,000 users that are signing up to the product every month, a marketing organization that works at scale and an experienced leadership team.

It’s not so long ago that Mynewsdesk was the size of Mention (55 employees) and that whilst they have experienced rapid growth in recent years they know how important it is to maintain the speed and energy of a start-up whilst also planning for and delivering to a much larger organization and customer base. I reckon Mynewsdesk has made some of the mistakes Mention was about to make if we had gone alone so now we can laugh about them and face-up to new challenges together that any fast-growing tech company needs to tackle.

How do you plan to jointly extend the benefits of this MarTech acquisition to your customers and technology partners?

Mattias: The detail and timing of this are currently going on right now so I can’t go into too much depth here.

However, what I can say is that Mynewsdesk customers can expect to see a web and social listening product in their hands that delivers so much more value to them and their organizations than any local competitor at a price point that will truly please them.

When it comes to technology partners both Mention and Mynewsdesk share many of the same technology partners and as we expand both our business, customer base and product these partnerships will play an increasing role in our mutual success.

Matt: In terms of Mention customers over the last few years we have constantly been asked about providing broader PR workflow products which are in demand. Now we can finally provide a market leading solution for this to them.

In addition, we can provide them with an enhanced and local customer success experience which will ensure they get both faster and better value out of our products that we have been able to provide previously.  

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a business leader? 

Mattias: Leadership is leadership in an AI-centric world or not. It’s still about having a clear vision and purpose, building a great culture and putting together a first-class team of people that trust each other.

It’s this team that together helps build and execute the business plan. In an AI-driven world, however, the resources that a company needs have to change. Data scientists, data engineers, and other roles were not common a few years ago but today are mandatory to compete and win.

Matt: I guess where the emergence of AI and machine learning affects business leaders is the need to constantly question where to add technology instead of people to create more value. For me, it’s a question of being curious, a typical leadership trait.  If I can use a technical solution to deliver more value either internally or externally then I will do so but this is the responsibility of everyone in the organization, not just its leaders. 

How do you see PR intelligence and Influencer Marketing platforms coming together in this MarTech acquisition? What role would AI play in making this a successful transition? 

Mattias: It’s a case of the old world and new world coming together. The PR intelligence market has been around for quite some time whilst the influencer marketing game is the bright shiny toy for marketers.

Whilst many organizations are very excited about what is possible as with any new industry the jury is still out on its impact and there are both players and products in the market that are delivering real value as well as some that are pure snake oil salesmen.

But the two industries are coming together. Influencer marketing in one form or another is part of most PR activities today and this will continue at pace.

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Matt: AI or more specifically machine learning will play an important part in bringing both the PR intelligence and influencer marketing practices together as well as driving value across the entire marketing tech industry.

We see great potential specifically in natural language processing (NLP) and natural language generation (NLG) with the use of deeper and more flexible data solutions like the AWS-stack to deliver greater value at scale. Never have we had the possibility to analyze and act on both structured and unstructured data in real-time than we do today. 

Where do you see PR automation heading to in 2019-2022? 

Mattias: Well, what we can say is that automation will play an increasing role in PR over the next few years.

However, as a recent study on AI in PR by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the UK has stated, humans will still be needed. It’s our job as technology leaders in the industry to give these “humans” the best technology tools which combined with their creativity and strategic thinking can deliver great results for their organizations. 

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Matt: The report by the CIPR panel earlier this year was a great step forward for the PR industry. It categorized AI’s impact on the PR industry into five areas–

  • Simplification of tasks – technology that simplifies a PR process, or provides a tactical service.
  • Listening & Monitoring – media and social media listening tools
  • Automation – automation of tactical tasks
  • AI for structured data – machine intelligence applied to structured data
  • AI for unstructured data – machine intelligence applied to unstructured data

Today the combination of Mynewsdesk and Mention’s products covers the first three areas (simplification, listening & monitoring, automation) outlined in the report but we see over the next few years that our technology will use significant AI for both structured and unstructured data and this development will be delivered directly to our clients which will enable them to be significantly better at their jobs in 2022 than they are today. Exciting times.

Thank you, Mattias and Matthieu, for chatting with us! 

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