4INFO Sells SMS Unit To MBlox, Completes Shift To Online-To-Offline Targeting, Metrics
Having left its text message marketing roots behind years ago, 4INFO wants to simplify its focus on connecting online ads to in-store sales.
A decade after it began as a marketing platform for SMS advertising, 4INFO is selling off that unit to “app-to-person” tech provider MBlox as the company continues to sharpen its focus on mobile ad targeting and related sales metrics for physical stores and brands.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The hand-off completes a shift that 4INFO has been making for the last five years, when the San Mateo, CA.-based company began positioning itself as a mobile attribution specialist for enterprise retail businesses — a long leap from its beginnings 10 years ago as an early SMS ad generator.
“While our company first planted its roots in SMS, we’ve since grown and redefined our core business areas,” said 4INFO CEO Tim Jenkins. “It’s time for us to focus on mobile display, cross-screen and video advertising, yet we wanted to be sure our SMS customers would continue getting outstanding support. We believe Mblox will do a fantastic job taking care of them.”
For Sunnvale-based Mblox, the deal brings a significant expansion of its customer base, while the additional technology should advance its own in-house capabilities.
“There will be a short transition period, as management of 4INFO’s customers’ shortcodes is turned over to Mblox, and the necessary integrations finalized,” said Chuck Moxley, 4INFO’s CMO. “4INFO will continue to refer customers interested in SMS publishing to Mblox.”
With the SMS business gone, 4INFO’s primary services will be represented by its AdHaven Bullseye platform, which uses actual household purchase data to provide its customers with ad targeting and measurement of whether a mobile display unit resulted in an in-store sale.
“The company today is so different than what it was back then,” Moxley told GeoMarketing earlier this month. “You think back to ten years ago, texting was it, you go back five years ago or four years ago, and the big move to smartphones and apps, mobile display was becoming a lot more common. It was a natural evolution for the company to try to evolve into that area.”
As other companies have sought to move away from the SMS ad service, MBlox has been looking to build up its SMS technology through a series of acquisitions. Last summer, bought Zoove, the company behind the “StarStar dialing service,” which asks smartphone users to tap the asterisk on their device twice to receive a brand’s promotion or discount.
Around that same time, MBlox acquired rival app-to-person software company CardBoardFish to help enhance its offerings and create a mobile customer relationship management platform after raising a $43.5 million funding.