21 March 2018 – As we enter 2018, the marketing technology sector is thriving. According to the latest market data, in January 2018 alone, there were 81 transactions, out of which 43 reported almost $3.7 billion in value. In addition, as much as 36 acquisitions took place during the first month of 2018.
In the meantime, we have talked to MailUp Group’s CEO, Nazzareno Gorni.
During our talk, we have looked through the past performance of MailUp Group’s brands. We also had the chance to hear about some of the key changes that took place within some of the MailUp Group’s firms. Finally, Nazzareno has also provided us with a quick overview of his grand plans for 2018.
How did MailUp Group start the year? Were there any significant events or news that took place during the first two months of 2018?
Nazzareno: “As you know, we have five brands under the wing of MailUp Group. Starting with the MailUp business unit, during the first two months of 2018, we hired more people, worked on the organization of the whole entity and invested in the professional services business line.
As for the AcumbaMail, during these two months, one key change took place – we have amended the price list for the first time since the establishment of the company. It is worth to note that this change did not impact the conversion rate and there was no significant customer churning.
Moving on, Globase has experienced the major change in the management with Cinzia Tavernini taking over the position of the CEO. We have also invested in the relocation of the offices and reducing costs due to the relatively poor performance of this company in 2017. The key aim for Globase is getting close to the breakeven point in 2018.
Bee Plugin has continued to grow at the same pace just like in the last year – between 5-10 percent monthly growth. During the first two months of 2018, Bee also saw the first enterprise clients requests for BeePlugin. We also are in process of amending the offer to meet the requirements of enterprise clients.
Bee Pro has also kept on growing steadily, at around 10% per month. This is thanks to the new plans that have been launched at the end of the last year. It is starting to bring some revenues right now. The new package includes the Bee Freelance, Bee Team and Bee Agency options.
As for the Agile Telecom, we don’t have any major news. However, we have attended one of the main events in the mobile industry – Mobile World Congress Barcelona.
Talking about the group level, we are in a heavy sculpting progress. In fact, we are looking to acquire at least one company this year.”
How did 2017 go for the MailUp Group? Please walk me through some of the most important highlights of 2017.
Nazzareno: “2017 marks the first year we have introduced the MBO plan (Management by Objectives). This technique is following the best practices for the listed companies.
In 2017, we also entered the Technology Fast 500™ Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) ranking by Deloitte. In addition, we have heavily invested in the MailUp platform to be GDPR compliant. The compliance with these regulations is crucial for us since we are managing clients’ data on a daily basis.
Moreover, we have completed the capital increase in July; that time, we have raised EUR 6 million in accelerated book building, bringing our floating to 33%.
Finally, we have also nominated the new board of Directors back in April 2017, which was a huge shift in our organization since it was the first time we have organized the group in 5 different business units with 5 different key managers.”
Could you tell me more about MailUp Group’s gender diversity initiative?
Nazzareno: “In MailUp Group, we strongly believe that diversity is a value.
We have been investing in this direction starting from the IPO date. Presently, we have almost 50% of women working in our company, with one of them having a place on our board of directors.”
According to the latest news, MailUp Group is preparing for listing on Borsa Italiana’s Main Market. Which changes took place in the MailUp unit in regards to this development?
Nazzareno: “We are doing several things as of now. One of them is investing heavily in the management control system, which is the financial accounting system that enables us to gather all the data and build a consolidated balance sheet and profit and loss.”
What plans does MailUp Group have for this upcoming year?
Nazzareno: “We are in a very dynamic market due to the fast development of the social media, mobile and big data trends. There are always a lot of news and innovations in this field. In order to keep up with the industry, MailUp Group will need to grow accordingly.
We have raised several sources and started investing in innovation. Growth for us means mostly organic growth, but it also means external growth by acquisition. Therefore, the capital raised during the last year will support MailUp Group in its external growth path. We are aiming to acquire two kinds of companies:
– Mature, large companies, which built the financial data to consolidate our market positioning;
– Startups, very innovative small companies. We want to acquire them with minority stakes.
As of now, we have more than 18,000 active clients in the market, where we can do cross- selling. We have several services and knowledge provided by the Group organization (legal, accounting, IT…) for these startups that can help them to scale up faster.”
How do you see the present environment of the marketing technology segment?
Nazzareno: “This market is very fragmented – there are huge players, mostly from the US, such as Salesforce, Adobe, or Oracle. Those players are providing all kinds of services in the marketing technology field, which is very broad, too. There is everything from advertising to customer engagement to communications and much more.
There is also a myriad of startups that are starting their businesses from the scratch. I think, right now, there can be approximately 7,000 companies that are just starting their journey. A year ago, there were around 5,000 of such firms and two years ago there were 3,000 of them.
This implies that this market is very lively – it is fast and dynamic. One of the ways to grow in this field is with the help of so-called open innovation approach. We also believe that the companies in the marketing technology field are facing the impact of the complexity of the market. It is not easy to choose the specific niche and understand the essentials of each of the services that are present in this segment, so having a provider which is well established, publicly traded and trusted, becomes a key differentiator.”