We are thrilled to report that Mercury Fund portfolio company TrendKite has been acquired by Cision (NYSE: CISN) for $225 million. The acquisition enables Cision, the global leader in PR software, to integrate TrendKite’s best-in-class PR analytics and artificial intelligence platform into a single cloud offering. The merger also provides Cision with one of the best SaaS teams in Austin, Texas. Congratulations to CEO Erik Huddleston, and founders Matt Allison and AJ Bruno. Mercury led TrendKite’s Series A round of financing and we’ve worked hard to be a supportive partner and investor since.
Over the past four years, Erik and his team built one of the leading companies in the Austin startup ecosystem. Mercury met Matt and AJ when they were first launching their startup at DreamIt Labs. A few years later we were reconnected by Morgan Flager of Silverton Partners who led their seed round, and our good friend Erik Huddleston who was considering becoming TrendKite’s CEO. Mercury believed Erik and the founders’ vision of building the first programmatic PR platform was a compelling venture opportunity, even in the over-invested world of MarTech.
Backing Erik was a no-brainer for Mercury – we had known Erik for 10 years as he strengthened his SaaS business-building expertise across a half dozen tech companies. Over their first few years, TrendKite experienced meteoric growth. The Company’s ability to recruit a great executive team in conjunction with Erik’s tireless focus on advanced SaaS business metrics and AJ’s ability to attract, train, and inspire a great sales organization made them one of the fastest growing startups in Austin.
Over the past three years, the Company built a broad investment syndicate including Noro-Moseley, Battery Ventures, Adams Street, and Harmony Partners, with each group adding unique value along the way. Unlike many startups with large boards and numerous venture investors, the TrendKite execs were able to build and manage a highly functioning board, crucial to a positive outcome.
Mercury gives a special thank-you to the TrendKite management team for being so generous with their time over the years. Like many venture funds, Mercury encourages our portfolio companies to learn from one another. To emphasize this effort, we launched a conference with other like-minded Mid-American VCs – the SaaS CXO Summit– to push startup business building knowledge forward. The TrendKite management team has graciously provided insight into their key learnings and best practices and have consistently been some of the Summit’s top-rated speakers. We hope the team continues to pay it forward with other entrepreneurs and startup business leaders as they learn even more after their acquisition by Cision.
Even during uncertain economic times, both buyer and seller were able to close this strategic transaction relatively quickly. Mercury hopes this will be a harbinger for additional strategic deals to come over the next few years, not just in Austin but throughout the Midcontinent, as more public companies continue to see the value of innovative and well-managed SaaS companies built in Middle America.
We are proud of the team at TrendKite and can’t wait to see how they continue to shape the future of public relations.