Oracle Gobbles Up Another Social-Marketing Platform with Involver Purchase

Roughly Six Weeks After Buying Vitrue for $300 Million, Oracle Snaps Up Involver

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Oracle has swallowed up yet another startup in the social-media marketing space, announcing its intention to purchase Involver for an undisclosed sum. This comes on the heels of its $300 million deal to acquire Vitrue in May.

The enterprise giant's second purchase inside of six weeks is another example of how acquisitions are snowballing as B-to-B tech and software companies realize their customers expect them to have competencies in social. First came the purchase of Efficient Frontier (which had previously bought Context Optional) by Adobe in November, and Buddy Media was acquired by Salesforce.com for $689 million about a week after the Vitrue deal was announced.

Among Involver's clients are brands such as Toys R' Us, MTV , Jack Daniel's and Best Buy and agencies like Razorfish and Edelman, but it's been widely adopted by small- and medium-sized businesses. The fact that it's headquartered in San Francisco, close to Facebook and Twitter, may have been part of the appeal for Oracle, since the much larger, enterprise-focused Vitrue is based in Atlanta.

Involver was founded in 2007 and had raised $11 million from the likes of Bessemer Ventures, Cervin Ventures and Western Technology Investment. Its website also heavily touts its offering of Facebook apps to be deployed on fan pages.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the acquisition is expected to close this summer, according to a statement by Involver co-founder Don Beck, who also wrote that Involver would be added to an Oracle technology stack that will include additional publishing and analytics capabilities from Vitrue.

"Our technology is expected to extend Oracle's social platform to help customers more easily and cost-effectively collaborate and build engaging applications and social experience across social networks and the Open Graph," Mr. Beck wrote.

At stake in the race to buy up the remaining independent social-media marketing firms is "a battle for the CMO," according to Michael Scissions, whose company, Syncapse, focused its offering on earned media before it acquired the ad-tech company Clickable to round out a paid-media capability last month.

"It's safe to say that this is something Oracle and Salesforce and Adobe are taking very seriously at this point," he said.

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