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Akeneo raises $45 million to help retailers track products

Akeneo, a product information management (PIM) solutions provider that aims to help brands deliver “enriched” retail customer experiences, today revealed that it’s secured $46 million to bolster its R&D as it accelerates its U.S. sales and marketing efforts. Growth equity investor Summit Partners led the round, which saw participation from existing investors Alven, Partech, and Salesforce Ventures, in addition to Akeneo board member Stephan Dietrich.

The capital infusion brings Boston, Massachusetts-based Akeneo’s total raised to over $60 million following a $13 million raise in March 2017, and it comes after the firm’s acquisition of AI startup Sigmento and its announcement of a strategic premier technology partnership with Magento.

CEO Fred de Gombert founded Akeneo in 2013, after a nearly decade-long stint at Paris-based open source integration solutions company Smile. He and cofounders Benoit Jacquemont, Nicolas Dupont, and Yoav Kutner set out to create a software-as-a-service offering that wouldn’t just improve data accuracy, but that would simplify and streamline store catalog management from start to finish.

To this end, Akeneo’s service collates product technical data (like specifications, measures, and ingredients), usage data (descriptions, how-to, where-used), emotional data (product stories, rich descriptions), and media files (images, PDFs, and videos) in a unified database, after ingesting and preprocessing in accordance with admin-defined policies. Then, it classifies products into one or several catalogs and optionally translates their associated information into multiple languages. Managers can select the specific catalog and attributes they want to distribute to each channel, and send data to web-to-print software in order to create printed catalogs.

Akeneo’s holistic approach won over customers early on, propelling its PIM platform to become one of the most-used globally. The company says it’s achieved compound triple-digit revenue growth for the sixth consecutive year and that over 300 companies use its service across 60,000 deployments, including top brands like Fossil, Sephora, Staples Canada, Boshart, Midland Scientific, Franklin Electric, Rural King, Made.com, Lancaster, Jabra, Market America, Aigle, Frankfurt Airpot Shopping, Steal Sofa, Kurt Geiger, Nuxe, and Lagardère.

“PXM is becoming a critical business application for brands and distributors to win in omnichannel retail,” said de Gombert, adding that the proceeds from this latest raise will enable Akeneo to add 100 people to its 180-strong workforce in France, Germany, the U.K., the U.S., Spain, and Israel. “Today’s consumers average more than five touchpoints before they make a purchasing decision, so it is increasingly important for brands to use a platform that delivers an integrated and consistent product experience.”

Akeneo competes with InRiver, Productsup, eCentral, Salisfy, and countless others in a PIM software market anticipated to be worth $15.78 billion in 2021. But that hasn’t scared away investors like Summit Partners principal Steffan Peyer, who plans to join Akeneo’s board of directors.

“In an omnichannel world, PXM represents the next evolution of product information management, which is becoming the new CRM of product data,” said Peyer. “We believe Akeneo’s highly focused product approach, as well as its hyper connectivity with the broader commerce stack, makes it uniquely capable of addressing complex and specific customer product information needs.”

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