Thunderhead Sells Smart Communications to Accel-KKR

The vendor says the transaction will enable it to focus exclusively on its ONE Engagement Hub cloud-based offering for for the customer engagement market. 

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Thunderhead (London) has announced that it is selling its Smart Communications division to technology-focused private equity firm Accel-KKR (Menlo Park, Calif.). A Thunderhead statement says the deal will enable the company to focus exclusively on cloud-based solution for the customer engagement market, the ONE Engagement Hub.

Matthew Josefowicz, President & CEO, Novarica.

Matthew Josefowicz, President & CEO, Novarica.

“Since launching in 2004, the British privately-owned software company built its Smart Communications division from an innovative start up to a recognized category leader,” the Thunderhead statement says.  “Thunderhead’s pioneering cloud solutions paved the way for a new era of customer and business communications. Smart Communications will now operate as an independent entity, led by the existing management team and backed by Accel-KKR.”

Digital Dominance

The transaction builds on a very active month for customer communications management vendor M&A, notes Matthew Josefowicz, CEO of research and advisory firm Novarica (Boston). “HPE sold Exstream to OpenText, and Dell EMC announced this morning that OpenText would be buying its ECM/CCM assets including Document Sciences and Documentum,” he comments.“Now Thunderhead is shedding its CCM platform to focus on customer experience. While it’s not clear that these are related in any way, it’s interesting that CCM platforms that originated when documents were the primary communications paradigm are in play as digital dominance erodes that paradigm.”

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Glen Manchester, CEO, Thunderhead.

Thunderhead reports that it will continue under the leadership of CEO and founder Glen Manchester.  Thunderhead describes the ONE Engagement Hub, launched in 2014, as a quick-to-deploy SaaS solution designed to discover customer insight in real-time, across every interaction throughout the entire customer journey. ONE then uses that insight to help brands deliver personalized, relevant, and consistent conversations across every touchpoint, providing a completely seamless experience throughout each unique customer journey, according to the vendor’s description.

“At Thunderhead, innovation has always been our inspiration and I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved,” comments Thunderhead’s Manchester. “The Smart Communications team—with the backing and investment of Accel-KKR—will continue to take that business from strength to strength.”

“Building on this success, we will now focus on our pioneering SaaS solution for customer engagement, the ONE Engagement Hub,” Manchester adds. “As customer engagement becomes increasingly critical for brands, Thunderhead is again leading the way with innovation. Through its advanced listening and learning capabilities, ONE surfaces unique customer insight and journey behavior. It enables enterprises across all industry sectors to optimize marketing and customer retention strategies, and drive conversation-led engagement, building stronger and more valuable relationships with their customers.”

Thunderhead reports EY led the transaction on its behalf, with Slaughter and May advising on legal aspects of the deal.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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