Former Krux and Salesforce execs raise $15M for their marketing data startup Habu

Fundings and Exits

Marketing startup Habu is emerging from stealth today and announcing that it has already raised $15 million in Series A funding.

The company comes out of super{set}, the startup studio created by Krux founders Tom Chavez and Vivek Vaidya. In fact, Chavez is Habu’s chairman, Vaidya serves as CTO and their former Krux colleague Matt Kilmartin (who eventually became chief customer officer for Salesforce’s consumer engagement platform after Salesforce acquired Krux) is the startup’s CEO.

Kilmartin told me that Habu was created to solve a “still elusive” marketing challenge — delivering “omni-channel orchestration for the entire customer journey.” In other words, he’s saying that chief marketing officers are still struggling to deliver personalized messages to potential customers across every channel and at every stage.

Kilmartin argued that’s because they’re challenged by new privacy regulations, plus the fact that many marketing tools struggle integrate data from the major digital ad platforms. And then there are the limitations ofthe  big marketing clouds (including Kilmartin’s old employer Salesforce) which he said are “stitching together all the stuff they bought — their goal is to have everyone go all-in on one of their stacks.”

So Habu isn’t trying to build yet another marketing platform. Instead, the company describes its core product as a “marketing data operating system” that can be used alongside the aforementioned clouds, bringing a company’s customer data together across platforms, then providing automated insights and recommendations on how to use that data to deliver personalized marketing. And it does this in away that complies with privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA.

“We’re trying not to be a platform,” Kilmartin said. “It’s a modular, interoperable suite of services.”

Habu’s software can pull in a marketer’s first-party customer data, as well as data from platforms like Google and Facebook. Kilmartin said that while these platforms remain a “blind spot” for many marketers, “They have APIs frameworks to be able to do this, it just requires a level of sophistication. And there just aren’t that many extra data scientists that these brands have sitting around.”

In addition to super{set}, Habu’s funding comes from Ride Ventures. And although Habu is only launching publicly today, it already counts L’Oreal and Meredith as customers.

“The future of marketing is real-time personalization,” said Frédéric Rozé, Executive Vice President L’Oréal USA, in a statement. “Habu is delivering that future by tackling one of the greatest challenges facing brands today: stitching together marketing and advertising data from multiple platforms to deliver a relevant consumer experience across all channels –– something that has eluded us for too long.”

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