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Marketing Tech Firm Partnerize Raises $50 Million in Round Led by Accel-KKR

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01/08/2020 | 03:32pm EST

By Sahil Patel

Performance Horizon Group Ltd, which does business as Partnerize, raised $50 million to expand its business offering automated marketing partnership tools for brands.

The company says it will use the funds to fuel growth through acquisitions and new hires, particularly in the U.S.

The funding round was led by private-equity firm Accel-KKR, a new investor in the company that contributed $45 million. The remaining $5 million came from existing investor Silicon Valley Bank.

The deal gives Partnerize, which says it is profitable, a post-money valuation of $240 million, according to the firm's Chief Executive Mal Cowley. The company generated $31 million in revenue in 2019, up 35% year-over-year.

Marketers work with a sprawling array of companies and people as they try to meet their goals. Partnerize aims to help them handle multiple relationships with different types of partners, such as influencers, digital publishers and other marketers.

A retailer can use Partnerize to manage an e-commerce deal with a publisher, for example, or a brand can manage its arrangements with a social-media influencer.

The system can also help brands seek marketing partners to work with, track campaign performance and make payments.

"We are providing the pipes between the parties," said Mr. Cowley.

The company says it manages relationships in 214 different countries and territories for more than 300 clients such as Adidas AG, Ancestry.com LLC, Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., PayPal Holdings Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.'s Visible.

Adidas uses Partnerize for services such as fielding and managing campaigns and creative, as well as paying hundreds of content partners world-wide in different currencies, said Jochen Gross, director of partnership marketing at Adidas.

Through technology platforms such as Partnerize, Adidas is able to simplify tasks that can be complex and arduous, especially if they have to be done manually, Mr. Gross said. "Manual partner management is complex, and even more so when your programs are international in scope like ours," he said.

Clients executed transactions worth $6 billion through the Partnerize platform last year, Mr. Cowley said.

Some of the new funds will also be used for product development, including using machine learning and artificial intelligence in areas such as fraud detection and the platform's insights and analytics suite, the company said.

Partnerize previously raised $42 million from investors including Greycroft and Silicon Valley Bank.

Private-equity firms were among the top buyers of marketing services and technology companies through the first three quarters of 2019, according to investment advisory firm Results International Group LLP. Overall, there were 1,057 global deals in the marketing sector during that time frame, up 16% year-over-year, the firm said. This was driven by deals within marketing and sales tech as well as ad tech, which were up 52% in aggregate year-over-year.

The interest has included partner marketing services. In March 2019, a Providence Equity Partners affiliate invested $75 million in Partnerize rival Impact Tech Inc.

Write to Sahil Patel at sahil.patel@wsj.com

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADIDAS AG -0.02% 285.2 Delayed Quote.-1.66%
KKR & CO. INC. -0.68% 33.7 Delayed Quote.15.53%
PAYPAL HOLDINGS -1.19% 122.43 Delayed Quote.13.18%
VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS -0.22% 58.09 Delayed Quote.-5.18%
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