Stirista, a digital marketing agency that provides audience data, email, and display advertising services, has acquired Venture Development Center (VDC) for an undisclosed amount. The New Jersey-based data marketplace has unique data assets and clients such as Accenture, Asurion, TransUnion, and Warner Media. VDC will help Stirista combine the power of authoritative identity data with more targeted omnichannel marketing for its Fortune 500 and mid-market clients such as Great Clips, Oracle, and Verizon.
Matthew W. Staudt, who has held the CEO role at VDC since 2018, will join Stirista as chief strategy officer.
This is the third acquisition for Stirista over the past 10 months. In July 2020, Stirista bought AdStir, a data-driven self-serve media buying platform. By September, Stirista had acquired Nikaza, a location-based data measurement and attribution platform. The Nikaza acquisition allows Stirista to further enhance AdStir by allowing brands and agencies to run omnichannel campaigns and measure their effectiveness through multi-touch attribution of in-store and online purchases in one integrated platform.
Like the previous acquisitions, VDC will help Stirista expand upon its business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) data services and tools. The company, located in San Antonio’s Highway 281 North corridor, developed its software-as-a-service (SaaS) enhanced customer data services. Integrating its technology with a client’s point of sale helps Stirista produce data-driven marketing insights for Fortune 500 and midmarket brands.
Instead of brands going to an agency to buy ads on social media, Stirista can offer all digital and email marketing services in a single integrated platform. Stirista’s peer competitors are Merkle and Zeta Global, while in-data services Zoom Info is their closest peer.
“We are excited to welcome the VDC team to Stirista as their unique data sources, consultative approach and strategic thinking have been critical to helping their clients leverage big data,” said Stirista CEO Ajay Gupta. “This is another important milestone for Stirista as we continue to expand our solutions to help brands provide more value to their customers and prospects.”
Last June, Stirista raised $13 million in growth equity financing led by Boston-based Wavecrest Growth Partners with participation from Dennis Ainge, a founding executive of marketing data and analytics company TARGUSinfo and a former executive at Neustar and Equifax NDS. Stirista has been using its funding to enhance its product offerings, acquire companies and expand its leadership team.
Despite launching the company in 2009, Ajay and Candice Gupta “didn’t start working on the company full-time until 2015,” Gupta said. Most of Stirista’s revenue comes from SaaS sales of its full-spectrum digital marketing platform plus data services. The founders envisioned developing the right technology for companies to take on integrated digital marketing for themselves by using Stirista’s SaaS platform.
Stirista has experienced double-digit growth each year since its inception while remaining profitable. After the VDC acquisition, Stirista will have approximately 85 total employees between San Antonio and VDC’s staff in New Jersey, with a smaller footprint in Chicago and New York. Despite the pandemic, “business is strong, so short-term revenue drops don’t reflect the strong foundation of the company,” Gupta said.
With more than 90% of transactions still happening offline, marketers still need to use email, phone, and mail data—in addition to social and mobile channels—to help guide consumer interest to action. Brands can be incredibly effective now that they can identify buying triggers, sentiment, and other contextual triggers from unstructured data sources and overlay this intelligence with more traditional customer relationship management or CRM.
“Today’s leading marketers rely on privacy-compliant options for sourcing identity and customer data,” Staudt stated. “I am thrilled that the VDC mission and team will be able to continue to bridge the data gap for our new and existing clients with the Stirista identity and technology as its spine.”
The featured image is of Ajay Gupta, CEO of Stirista, courtesy photo.