While the pandemic has pushed companies to digitize much of the way they do business, not every brand successfully made the pivot. In some cases it cost them dearly. According to Couchbase, companies wasted an average of $4.12 million in failed, delayed, or scaled-back projects in 2020. The same survey found that more than four-fifths of companies – 82% – were prevented from pursuing digital transformation projects because of the staff, resources and expertise required.
The consequences of delayed or wasted projects often extend beyond cash – think of delaying strategic goals. That’s one of the reasons Jonathan Cherki founded Contentsquare, a platform that allows businesses to track online customer behavior to inform digital strategies.
“While studying at ESSEC business school in France, I became fascinated with the gap between the digital experiences brands thought they were offering and what consumers actually got,” Cherki told BestFitnessBands in an email interview. “I believe knowledge is power, and my mission is to change the way businesses work by creating a data-driven culture that is accessible to everyone. Ultimately, I want to contribute to creating a world where every digital interaction improves our lives.”
Cherki began developing the technology that would become Contentsquare as a student. He has been CEO since 2012, and in 2017 he moved the headquarters from Marseille to New York.
Now, with 17 offices around the world and more than 1,000 corporate clients, including BMW, Giorgio Armani, Samsung, Sephora and Virgin Atlantic, Contentsquare has grown into a behemoth. The funding reflects this – the company announced today that it has closed a $600 million Series F round at a valuation of $5.6 billion, exactly double the valuation of Contentsquare last May ($2.8 billion). ). The tranche is split between $400 million in equity and $200 million in debt. But it’s still a remarkable amount given the current economic climate and given that Contentsquare raised $500 million just a year ago.
Guaranteeing the infusion, which was led by Sixth Street Growth, was a further extension, Cherki said. He says the new money will be spent on R&D efforts, geographic and market growth and the launch of as many as three new products within the next 12 to 18 months. Recruitment will be another focus as Contentsquare’s workforce exceeds 1,500 people.
Contentsquare remains focused on its original bread and butter, i.e. web and app analytics. The platform uses algorithms to analyze digital interactions and generate insights that, in Cherki’s words, help businesses “access a deeper understanding” of their customers.
The company’s technology records user interactions on web pages and apps and translates them into recommendations intended to guide a company’s substantive decisions. Using algorithms, the platform automatically attempts to discover areas for improving revenue and experience by providing statistics and “session replays” that reconstruct the steps individual visitors have taken on websites tracked by Contentsquare.
Contentsquare also provides an API that customers can use to integrate the platform with web apps and other systems, such as personalization engines.
“Our solution analyzes 3,200 billion customer interactions monthly on sites that process $2.5 billion in transactions every day. More than a million websites worldwide in all industries use Contentsquare today,” said Cherki. “The pandemic accelerated a massive shift to digital, revealing the gaps in the online experience and confirming that the customer experience was a key differentiator. The current macroeconomic environment has only further emphasized the importance of a standout customer experience for companies of all sizes and in every industry.”
As business thrives – Cherki says annual recurring sales are in the “several hundreds of millions of dollars” range – Contentsquare faces headwinds, including mounting regulatory pressure. In the US and abroad, policymakers are aware of restrictions on the amount of data advertisers can collect for targeting purposes, making certain analytics products less attractive. Both in anticipation of this and in response to growing consumer demand for enhanced privacy protections, vendors like Apple have released privacy-forward features such as App Tracking Transparency that threaten to disrupt the behind-the-scenes mechanics of many trackers.
Cherki says Contentsquare has been preparing for this future, launching last year what it says is one of the first “cookieless” customer experience analytics products. (In the web context, “cookies” are text files that websites use to track visitors and remember specific information about them, such as login credentials.) Since the Series E, Contentsquare has also acquired AI startup Upstride and product experience insights platform Hotjar to further its machine learning and ambitions. for the small and medium-sized business market.
Elsewhere in the organization, Contentsquare operates a not-for-profit foundation to help advance digital accessibility in areas such as education and corporate social responsibility. In a related but transparent for-profit effort, Contentsquare launched an incubator to fuel the growth of other digital analytics startups.
It remains to be seen whether the moves are enough to fend off increased competition in digital customer analytics. Quantum Metric, a platform that helps companies improve their websites and apps by collecting user feedback, raised $200 million last January at a valuation of more than $1 billion. In August 2021, Atlanta, Georgia-based FullStory raised $103 million against a $1.8 billion valuation for its code analytics suite for digital customer experiences. Although smaller, Airkit and Glassbox have raised tens of millions to develop products that optimize unique customer journeys across the web and mobile apps.
However, some research suggests that there is no shortage of new potential customers. Ninety-six percent of executives who responded to a 2022 survey from Precisely said they have invested or plan to invest in data integration, data integrity and data enrichment technologies for customer experience in the coming months.
“Resources and budget are leaner than before and that poses challenges for companies. At the same time, the customer experience remains the key differentiator, so as a company we are focused on helping our customers succeed by giving them the customer insights that will help them create and thrive on great experiences every time,” Cherki said. “As we expand into more and more markets, we have many competitors, but Contentsquare’s strength is to provide a one-stop-shop experience analytics platform. Our mission is to make the digital world more humane, by enabling businesses to to better understand their customers, take intelligent action at scale, and build trust-centric experiences.”
Previous Contentsquare investors include SoftBank Vision Fund 2, BlackRock, Canaan Partners, Highland Europe and Eurazeo. The company’s war chest totals $1.4 billion.