News Column

BrightTag Acquires London Competitor

Aug. 22, 2012

Wailin Wong

Chicago-based digital marketing technology firm BrightTag has acquired a United Kingdom-based competitor to expand its presence in Europe.

Terms of the transaction with SiteTagger, which was previously part of a digital services agency called Yard Digital, were not disclosed. BrightTag and SiteTagger specialize in making software to help website owners manage "tags," or bits of code planted by outside marketers to collect users' data and track their preferences. SiteTagger client roster of more than 30 big brand names mirrors that of BrightTag, whose customer base includes large companies such as JetBlue Airways. The combined companies will have more than 100 clients representing thousands of brands, according to a press release.

The acquisition is BrightTag's first and gives the company a physical presence in London. BrightTag Chief Executive Mike Sands said Europe-based Web traffic represents a percentage in the "high teens" of the total data volume processed by BrightTag. With the addition of SiteTagger, that percentage will rise to roughly one-third. Having staff in Europe will also help with client relationships, Sands said, noting that "we have to be where our customers are."

BrightTag, which has expanded to 50 employees this year from 35, will add another 11 with the SiteTagger acquisition. Sands said he expects the London-based headcount to eventually grow to at least 20.

The acquisition was facilitated by a $15 million round of venture capital funding, led by Chicago-based Baird Venture Partners, that closed this year.

By BrightTag's calculations, only about one out of 10 e-commerce companies have a tag management system, but the company expects a five-fold increase in adoption over the next 18 to 30 months. BrightTag's software platform is used on websites in more than 150 countries, Sands said.

"I love being a Chicago startup that has global aspirations," he said.



Source: (c)2012 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by MCT Information Services


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