A little under six years since we started this journey, and I’m excited to finally be able to announce that Ahalogy has agreed to be acquired by Quotient Technology. I’d like to take the opportunity to share our excitement and offer the many thanks to those who helped us arrive at this special destination.
Why the time is right
The question of timing is always a tough one, and unless you can accurately predict the future it is nearly impossible to feel completely confident that the time is now (or later). Thankfully in our case there was no pressure compelling us to act now. We hit cash flow positive in January 2017 and grew over 80% last year. Our high growth has continued into 2018 as large brands move more dollars into influencer marketing.
But when things are going well you need to take a step back and bigger opportunities. Ahalogy has always believed in the big picture. In fact we set a huge Vision soon after we started:
To create a multi-billion dollar ecosystem where content creators, brands, and end users all win. Creators are successful entrepreneurs. Brands are more meaningful. End users are delighted by our recommended content.
The world is beginning to notice that Influencer Marketing is more than just one of many tactics in the media plan, and arguably part of a completely new marketing model. The old, interruptive marketing model is blocked and skipped as consumers take control. But Influencer Marketing brings useful ideas and inspiration from authentic creators who are passionate about their craft. It’s a model that is increasingly proven to drive higher sales at lower costs. No wonder I’ve had multiple billion-dollar-brand clients tell me they are thinking of moving to an “all influencer” marketing plan.
In the years ahead, influencer marketing needs to become an integrated part of marketing efforts, seamlessly tying to promotions, digital+offline media, data-based targeting, and ROI tracking. We saw the need to integrate our work with a company that could bring the capabilities we lacked — as well as a player that could help us scale up our small but growing team.
Why Quotient is a great fit
We’ve gotten to know the team at Quotient over a couple of years and always had our eye on the company as one of the leading players in our space that could help us leapfrog a few steps toward our vision. Quotient brings fantastic capabilities and scale with a similar focus on building a new model for the future of CPG+Retail. We have many clients in common and as a single company we will bring incremental capabilities that we expect to lead to some exciting new offerings in the months ahead.
More important than capabilities and synergies was the cultural fit that we’ve felt from the start. Quotient is a public company that retains a startup sense of urgency about driving the future of marketing.
We’re doubling down on Cincinnati
Perhaps the most exciting X-Factor that put us over the top on Quotient was its mutual belief in Cincinnati, Ohio. Quotient is headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley, but has over 100 people (and growing) in a location just 10 minutes from our office. We believe Cincinnati is a fantastic place for a marketing technology company, with leading companies like Procter & Gamble and Kroger nearby. These and other firms have helped create a critical mass of talent that is superior at serving big brands.
I would not be able to tell an Ahalogy success story without several organizations and individuals that have given us amazing support throughout our journey. The Brandery and its follow-on fund, Vine St. Ventures, gave us a birthplace and provided avenues to connect with early investors and clients. CincyTech provided our first funding and helped us connect with Cleveland’s North Coast Angel Fund, which led our seed round. Cintrifuse provided our first office space and its team offered invaluable advice along the way. JobsOhio and Silicon Valley Bank provided debt financing that helped us scale.
Our Chicago-based VC investors, Origin Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners, deserve special credit for investing in our company and community. Our legal friends at Taft and the investment banking gurus at Needham were invaluable in guiding us through this process. And there so many startup peers, friends, mentors and family members who encouraged us along the way. On behalf of the entire Ahalogy team I offer our many thanks!
Marketing with Meaning is becoming a reality
Personally, this next step in Ahalogy’s life is incredibly important. Twenty years ago this week I started my marketing career at Procter & Gamble and volunteered for a side project to figure out what we should be doing on “The Internet.” Since then I’ve spent my career working to crack the code on the future of marketing amid the impact of digital media.
Ten years ago McGraw-Hill published my book outlining a future in which “marketing with meaning” turns advertising from a tax on our attention to something that adds value to consumers’ lives. Launching Ahalogy was an effort to practice what I was preaching, and now every day our team is helping the world’s largest brands bring this future to the present.
Starting a company has been the toughest challenge in my career. We did our share of pivoting and barely covered payroll a few months. But challenge leads to improvement, and I’m incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished. Rest assured that we don’t take this as a finish line, but rather a chance to further turn marketing with meaning from concept to reality.